Not that you are going to see sand lizards in the wilds of County Durham to be honest, but it is always good to know what to look for, so that you can confirm what it is you are looking at.
The UK has two distinct forms of sand lizard, the Southern heath and Western coast colour morphs. The Southerners are more closely akin to their European counterparts with the males having heavily mottled green flanks, like the one pictured below;
The Western coast race have a more uniform green flank without the heavy occeli or eye-like markings. Female sand lizards are brown all over but again their sides are a paler brown than their back.
Reports come in now and again of sand lizards in Northumberland or from other parts of the country where they don’t naturally occur. This misidentification stems from some male common lizards having greenish backs where most common lizards are varying shades of brown. The major difference is that the sand lizards have their colour on the flanks not the back. It is opposite in common lizards.
Even this greenish-coloured common lizard still has brown sides rather then a brown back and green sides. Adult sand lizards are also much bigger than adult common lizards.
Is this all making sense?
Why not come along to one of our upcoming reptile survey training events and learn more about how to survey for our region’s spectacular reptiles.