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I saw this little chap last Wednesday (11/10/2012) on a visit to the Roman Amphitheatre at Saintes.  He was sunbathing on the lower stones which form the terraced seating that surround the arena area.

I suspected he was different from the normal run of the mill lizards which are Wall Lizards that we get around the house in our garden. However he was just a bit bigger than they get and was somewhat spotted.  I managed to get a couple of photos of him before he disappeared between a crevice in the rocks.


I looked him up on a very good web site called Herpfrance but still could not be sure exactly what he might be. He did not exactly fit the bill for any of the possible candidates.  However when I had a closer look at the photos I had taken and zoomed in on them I could clearly see the beginnings of blue spots along the sides and thus could identify him as a young Occelated Lizard.

Zoomed in view.

I had previously seen these mini monsters in Brossac where my parents-in- law used to have a property and these were sometimes seen and often heard as they scuttled about under their hedge. The photo below is of a full-grown lizard and is one from the Herpfrance website.

These are potentially quite big lizards which will grow up to 90cm long – this includes the tail, but it is still quite big. They  feed mainly on big insects, grasshoppers, and mantids, but will also take small lizards and birds and have even been known to take baby rabbits.  Normally they will scuttle off when approached but if cornered they might bury their heads in the vegetation like an ostrich or they might face up to the threat and open their mouths wide in an aggressive pose!   Pity the one I saw was just a baby as I would have loved to see him trying to warn me off.