Why do lizards fall on people

Green lizard

Characteristics

What do green lizards look like?

Green lizards belong to the group of reptiles and are the largest lizards in Central Europe.

They are up to 40 centimeters long, but the tail alone measures about 26 centimeters.

They are colored yellow-green to blue-green, the belly is light yellowish to greenish.

On the back they sometimes have small dark spots, which in the females are arranged in dark rows along light yellow or pale green lines.

At the mating season, the males are particularly striking because of their beauty:

Then her throat glows emerald or turquoise green.

Young green lizards are initially brownish in color; when they are around two years old they wear what is known as their youth dress with large dark spots.

Only gradually do they take on the typical green-blue color of the adult animals.

Where do green lizards live?

Green lizards live from southern Europe to Asia Minor. In Central Europe they are only found in the south and west, in the other areas of Central Europe only in a few, isolated places where the climate is a little warmer. These include the Middle Rhine, the Kaiserstuhl in the very south-west of Germany and the Danube near Passau.

Green lizards love warm habitats, the bottom of which is densely covered with plants - they particularly like places with brambles.

There they find protection from enemies, the humidity is high and it is warm enough. This is important because your body temperature depends on the temperature of the environment.

Green lizards often live on embankments, on dry meadows, on the edge of vineyards and in old orchards.

What species are green lizards related to?

Green lizards are sometimes confused with the green colored males of the closely related sand lizards.

It has only been proven since 1991 that the green lizards, which live from northern Spain via France to Italy, are a separate species: they have been called the western green lizard (Lacerta bilineata) ever since.

They are a bit larger than the normal green lizards, are more intensely colored and have dark spots on the top of their bodies.

A third species lives in the western Mediterranean: the giant green lizard (Lacerta trilineata).

And in western Spain and Portugal there is an emerald lizard up to 35 centimeters long, which was named after its discoverer - a Mr. Schreiber: Schreiber's emerald lizard (Lacerta schreiberi).

How old do green lizards get?

Green lizards kept in captivity live no more than ten years old.

behavior

How do green lizards live?

Green lizards are rarely seen: firstly, they are very rare here, and secondly, they are very shy and flee immediately when they hear that enemies or people are approaching.

Green lizards live in territories that they defend against conspecifics.

They behave like little primeval dragons: With their front bodies raised and their heads down, the two opponents approach each other with jerky steps and hit the side with their tails.

But they not only threaten each other and try to intimidate the opponent, but bite each other in the back of the head so hard that they seriously injure each other.

Eventually the weaker animal takes flight.

Sometimes an inferior animal shows the stronger lizard that it surrenders voluntarily: To do this, it steps from one front leg to the other on the spot. This behavior is called "pedaling".

The stronger lizard then stops biting knowing that the other is giving up.

When green lizards are grabbed by the tails of enemies such as martens or birds of prey, they can still often survive: They shed their tail.

And because the tail can move for up to 20 minutes, the attacker is usually distracted by the lizard, remains with the tail end and the lizard can flee.

This is possible because the caudal vertebrae naturally have fractures.

If the lizard contracts its muscles briefly and vigorously at these points, the tail is thrown off at the break point and later grows back again.

However, this regrown tail then has no real vertebrae made of bones, but only a cartilage rod as a support.

Friends and enemies of the green lizards

Small predators such as martens or weasels as well as birds of prey are the greatest enemies of the green lizards.

They are not directly threatened by humans, but their habitats are in danger.

Agricultural pesticides can also be toxic to lizards.

How do green lizards breed?

The mating season of the green lizards begins at the end of April and lasts into May. It is a bit rough: the male bites into the flank of the female and then pushes his body opening - the so-called cloaca - under that of the female.

It clings to the base of the tail of the female with one hind leg.

About four weeks later, between May and June, the female lays around eleven white, soft-shelled eggs at night in small, self-dug caves - in places that are not covered by plants. This is important because the sun shines on such places during the day so that they are nice and warm and the eggs can develop well in the ground.

How long it takes for the young lizards to hatch depends on the temperature:

In warmer regions it only takes about 50 days, in cooler regions up to 90 days, until the lizard offspring hatch from the eggs.

The little green lizards are independent as soon as they hatch and get by without the help of their parents.

maintenance

What do green lizards eat?

Green lizards mainly eat insects, spiders, worms and snails, but also young lizards, small rodents and even young snakes.

Sometimes they also snack on fruit.