Columnists > Glimpses of Eden

12 June 2014 | by Jonathan Tulloch

Glimpses of Eden

THE BEAUTY OF  the common lizard takes your breath away. There it was basking in the sun on the quiet roadside. A sleek length of dark, parallel markings on a green body. An orangey flush of underparts. And a head with a reddish tinge. Its toes had the wide spread and intelligence of an artist’s fingers just about to pick up a brush. No wonder St Patrick, while driving out all the other reptiles from the Emerald Isle, let the common lizard stay; the only reptile species in Ireland, they’re one of six in the UK. Soaking up the warmth, it didn’t seem to notice us. Although heat dependent, if the weather grows too hot, common lizards will grow torpid, return to their burrows and wait for cooler air. This process, a summer form of hibernation, is known as aestivation. U


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