A new kind of lizard

For the first time in Mykolaiv zoo in the aquaterrarium collection appeared a new kind of lizard.

In the beginning of October, as a result of the exchange the zoo received a young pair of ocellated lizard (Lacerta lepida (Timon lepidus)). Animals were exchanged for born in the department Hermann's tortoises. At the moment, the specialists of the department are watching the habits of these animals, their food preferences. In the near future lizards will appear at the zoo exhibit.

Ocellated lizard (Lacerta lepida (Timon lepidus)) belongs to the family of true lizards. It is the second largest lizard in Europe and is inferior only to the Pallas's glass lizard. Its total length is 75 cm or more, with males being significantly larger than females. Young lizards are olive-brown in color with numerous white and bluish spots, most of which are surrounded by a black border. However, the main decoration, large round spots of blue, is located in 2-4 longitudinal rows on the sides of the body. They live about 5-7 years.

This species lives on the territories of countries such as Spain and Portugal, the Mediterranean and Atlantic islands, and in small numbers in southeastern France and northwestern Italy. It inhabits open, arid territories, pine and oak forest areas, olive plantations, vineyards and dry fields. Bushes, stones and rabbit holes are often used as shelters.

This noticeable, large and popular lizard is depicted on the coat of arms of Sardual, Portugal.

The diet is based on insects, worms and spiders. By occasion reptile can eat rodents, scorpions, or other lizards’ species. It climbs well on trees and does not mind to eat bird eggs, and in the summer ripe fruits.

Ocellated lizard is included in Annex II of the Berne Convention, which deals with the protection of flora and fauna in nature. Studies have shown that it is difficult to maintain a population through lizard breeding in captivity, but information on this matter may help in the future. Because the species is large enough, it may in the future become a "flag" for the conservation of the Mediterranean fauna in some places.