Lacerta viridis

Jörg Holtermann

Freiburg, Germany

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Artist's Description

European green lizard
Östliche Smaradeidechse
Lacerta viridis

The green lizard is one of the largest lizards you can find in Europe (if you are lucky enough to do so – it took me more than 5 years to really see one long enough to take photos) – head and torso together reach about 12-14 cm, with the tail it becomes harder to say as most of the adults have lost parts of their tails over the years and only partially regenerated that damage, but overall lengths of up to 40 cm have been documented.

This green lizard shows the first signs of the blue chin/neck coloring that makes up the “mating frock” that comes out in spring after the first shedding after the winter rest.

They are very shy and hide quickly when they notice someone approaching, the best chances to see them is in spring during their morning sun-bath while they are still sluggish from the cool nights. They have a very sensitive vibration-sense so you have to step softly or they are gone before you can see them…

This green lizard was photographed in the Kaiserstuhl (Germany) which houses the most western population of the eastern variety of the green lizard. Only relatively new DNA examinations proved that the previous classification as western green lizard was wrong.

The green lizard is a very endangered species in some regions:

Red List of Germany: Category 1 (endangered with extinction)
EU’s Habitats Directive categorizes the green lizard as a species in need of “special protection”
same goes for the Bundesartenschutzverordnung (Federal Species Protection law)

As the green lizard spans a wide area with its habitat it is only listed as “least concern” on the IUNC Red List, but they also mention there that the population trend is declining…

Some of the dangers to them are the loss of living space to both farming and climate change [the second point mostly for the northern populations such as those found in Brandenburg, Germany] as they have very specific needs in terms of where they can live.
Another danger is the (illegal) capture by humans and predation by cats.


More informations (in German) here


Location: Kaiserstuhl, Germany

Artwork Comments

  • Brandy Bentz-Jackson
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