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North Merseyside Biodiversity Action Plan
Common Lizard Zootoca vivipara
1 Current status
1.1 National & international
Common Lizard is widely distributed but local throughout England, Scotland and Wales, and also present in Northern Ireland. The species occurs in a wide variety of habitats, up to at least 1000m, where there is a varied structure to the ground surface and vegetation, providing both shelter from
predators and open ground for basking. Usually found on south-facing slopes and banks or the sunny edges of woods and hedgerows, and often associated with manmade features like boundary banks, tumuli or wood piles. Common Lizard was originally included on the NM BAP in 2001 as a locally important species but was not, at that time, on the UK BAP priority list. However, Common Lizard (as well as Slow-worm and other herpetiles) was added to UK priority list as a result of the 2007 review.
Some surveying and anecdotal evidence suggests that Common Lizard is well established on the Sefton Coast. Members of the North Merseyside Amphibian & Reptiles Group invariably see them on suitable days and in some places, e.g. Hightown, they can be seen in double figures. They appear to thrive in suitable areas on the coast such as fixed dunes with cover, e.g. that provided by log piles, bramble etc. However, away from the coast nobody is sure of their status and there is a need to gather more information on the distribution and abundance of this species.
The populations on the Sefton Coast are believed to be relatively stable, but those elsewhere are probably declining and extremely vulnerable.