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Lybster lizards with a tail to tell


By David G Scott

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A LYBSTER man came across some unexpected inhabitants of the area while doing voluntary work on a historic site near the harbour area on Saturday.

Andrew Gunn found two reptiles which appear to be common lizards but uncommonly active for this time of year.

"I was undertaking some ditch cleaning near the Brethren Well above Lybster harbour," Mr Gunn said.

The two lizards were photographed near the Brethren Well at Lybster harbour. The one on the left may have shed its tail in the past as new growth can be seen. Pictures: Andrew Gunn
The two lizards were photographed near the Brethren Well at Lybster harbour. The one on the left may have shed its tail in the past as new growth can be seen. Pictures: Andrew Gunn

"On moving a large stone that had washed onto the path, I encountered a couple of reptiles which I first thought were small adders."

Mr Gunn then thought they were "some type of newt" but when he posted the image on social media the consensus was that the two creatures were in fact common lizards.

Living up to its name, the common lizard is the UK's most common and widespread reptile and is usually seen from March to October.

The reptiles are a protected species in the UK. If threatened by a predator, the lizard will shed its still-moving tail in order to distract its attacker and make a quick getaway.

This leaves a scar behind, but it can regrow its tail, although it is usually shorter than the original.

A detail of the picture shows one lizard sporting new tail growth showing it had used evasive tactics to escape from a predator.
A detail of the picture shows one lizard sporting new tail growth showing it had used evasive tactics to escape from a predator.

In the photograph, the lizard on the left shows new tail growth implying it has used an evasive body swerve at some point in the recent past.

During the winter common lizards will hibernate but Mr Gunn thinks an unseasonal spell of sunshine might have led to them coming out to forage.

After taking the snap he quickly replaced the rock to protect their habitat.


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