Finding and watching Reptiles and Amphibians in Spain

Reptiles and Amphibians

Including the Balearic and Canary islands, there are around 90 species of reptiles and amphibians in Spain.

Thirteen of these are snakes with only 3 of those being vipers. Snakes can be difficult to observe as generally they are very shy and disappear into the undergrowth at the first sounds of a human approaching.

Distribution of these reptiles and amphibians can be across the entire peninsular or restricted to a realatively small geographic location. For example, the Viperine snake (Natrix maura) spans the whole of Iberia, whilst other reptiles are restricted in their area such as the Spanish Algyroides (Algyroides marchi) which is only found in the Sierra Cazorla.

The greatest numbers of endemic lizards are those isolated on the Canary Islands.

Finding and watching Reptiles and Amphibians in Spain

During the summer months, nocturnal lizards like geckos will delight people with their wall clinging abilities whilst hunting for moths attracted to lights. During the daytime look quietly at emerged rocks and logs along river sides to see sunbathing Mediterranean Pond Terrapins (Mauremys leprosa). They are sensitive to the slightest movement and will quickly dive if they feel threatened.

Sadly, the Chameleon has lost a lot of its coastal habitat in the south of Spain due to the unlimited building boom. It is a fascinating reptile sadly unable to live inland away from the expanding concrete and suffers also from predation by domestic cats. This coastal housing growth also has a very destructive effect on breeding grounds of sea turtles and tortoise.

Below is a list of Reptiles and amphibians of Spain. (English name, Scientific name, Spanish name.) If the link is live (green text) then click to read more about the animal.


Horseshoe whip snake – Coluber hippocrepis – Culebra de herradura
Southern smooth snake – Coronella girondica – Culebra lisa meridional
False smooth snake – Macroprotodon brevis– Culebra de cogulla
Montpellier snake – Malpolon monspessulanus – Culebra bastarda
Viperine snake – Natrix maura – Culebra viperina
Grass snake – Natrix natrix – Culebra de collar
Ladder snake – Rhinechis scalaris – Culebra de escalera
Lataste’s viper – Vipera latastei – Vibora hocicuda


Turkish gecko – Hemidactylus turcicus – Salamanquesa rosada
Moorish gecko – Tarentola mauritanica – Salamanquesa común
Andalucian wall lizard – Podarcis vaucheri – Lagartija andaluza
Large psammodromus – Psammodromus algirus – Lagartija colilarga
Spanish psammodromus – Psammodromus hispanicus – Lagartija cenicienta


Bedriagas skink – Chalcides bedriagai – Eslizón Ibérico
Western three-toed skink – Chalcides striatus – Eslizón tridáctilo

Worm lizard

Iberian worm lizard – Blanus marie – Culebrilla ciega

Salamanders and Newts

Fire salamander – Salamandra salamandra – Salamandra común
Southern marbled newt – Triturus pygmaeus – Tritón pigmeo


Iberian painted frog – Discoglossus galganoi – Sapillo pintojo ibérico
Stripeless treefrog – Hyla meridionalis – Ranita meridional
Iberian parsley frog – Pelodytes ibericus– Sapillo moteado iberico
Iberian water frog – Pelophylax perezi – Rana común


Common toad – Bufo bufo – Sapo común
Natterjack toad – Bufo calamita – Sapo corredor


European pond terrapin – Emys orbicularis – Galápago europeo
Mediterranean pond terrapin – Mauremys leprosa – Galápago leproso

Invasive species

Red eared and yellow eared terrapin / Slider

The Grazalema Guide

The best way to see all our web projects in one place is over at the Grazalema Guide.

The Grazalema Guide – Tourist Information Portal for the Sierra de Grazalema, Wildside Holidays, The town of Ronda and the Caminito del Rey.

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