Sand Lizard

Lacerta agilis

  1. Wildlife
  2. Reptiles
  3. Sand Lizard


Sand Lizards are one of the UK's rarest reptiles. They favour sandy heathland habitats and sand dunes and can be spotted basking on bare patches of sand. They also lay their eggs in the sand. Sand Lizards are confined to a few sites as destruction of their habitat has reduced their range.

How to identify

Females are a sandy-brown colour with rows of dark blotches along the back, but males have green flanks which are at their brightest during the breeding season, making them easy to spot.

Where to find it

Restricted to a few isolated areas with sandy heaths such as Dorset, Hampshire and Surrey, and lives on sand dunes in Lancashire. It has been reintroduced into other areas in the South East and Wales.


When to find it

  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October

How can people help

Sand Lizards are extremely rare in Britain; they are mainly restricted to sandy heaths - a habitat suffering serious decline and under threat from human activity. Careful habitat management carried out by The Wildlife Trusts on local nature reserves where this creature lives helps it to survive; clearing scrub to allow heaths to flourish is vital if we are to protect our Sand Lizards. The Wildlife Trusts have also been involved with conservation projects to reintroduce the Sand Lizard to its former range. By volunteering for your local Trust you can help our work for this species and you'll make new friends and learn new skills along the way.

Species information

Common name
Sand Lizard
Latin name
Lacerta agilis
Length: 20cm Weight: 12g Average Lifespan: up to 20 years
Conservation status
Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010, and classified as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.