IUCN Red List Status: Least concern (population decreasing). However, across most of Europe, sand lizards are protected by law as a threatened species. In the UK, they have full legal protection, so it is an offence to kill, injure, capture, disturb or sell them, or to damage or destroy their habitats.
Distribution: One of the UK’s rarest reptiles. Found on sandy heathland in Dorset, Surrey and Hampshire, also on coastal sand dunes in Merseyside and the Isle of Coll in Scotland. Captive breeding programmes have led to reintroductions in North Wales, West Sussex, Devon and Cornwall.
There are ten recognised subspecies found in various locations across Europe from Spain to Scandinavia and as far eastwards as northwestern China and northwestern Mongolia.
Habitat: Sandy heathland and sand dunes.
Life-span: Up to 12 years.
Size: Adults up to 20cm long including tail. Weight: 15g.
Description: Stocky, with short legs. Coloured from brown to grey, with dark band down back. Usually two stripes down back, with eye-like markings (oceli) on sides. Flanks of males become bright green during mating season (late April/ May).
Food: Slugs, spiders, insects, fruit and flower heads.Read More: Sand lizard habits