Finding and watching Reptiles and Amphibians in Spain

Reptiles and Amphibians

Reptiles and Amphibians that you might see whilst on a walking or wildlife holiday in Spain

Spain is home to a diverse range of reptiles and amphibians, including several species of lizards, snakes, turtles, toads and frogs. Some of the more commonly found species include the European pond turtle, the Spanish pond turtle, the Iberian ribbed newt, the Iberian midwife toad, and the ladder snake. Including the Balearic and Canary islands, there are around 90 species of reptiles and amphibians in Spain.

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.

Some reptile and amphibian species in Spain are classed as threatened and endangered due to pressures on habitat and human persecution.

Distribution of these reptiles and amphibians can be across the entire Iberian 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. Also of great interest are the subspecies of Lilfords lizard on the balearic 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 for cover 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.

Worm lizard
Salamanders and Newts
  • Pygmy (marbled) newt – Triturus pygmaeus – Tritón pigmeo
  • Alpine NewtTriturus alpestris – Tritón alpino.
  • Bosca’s NewtTriturus boscai – Tritón ibérico.
  • Palmate NewtTriturus helveticus – Tritón palmeado.
  • Marbled NewtTriturus marmoratus – Tritón jaspeado.
  • Southern Marbled NewtTriturus pygmaeus – Tritón pigmeo.
  • Spanish Ribbed Newt Pleurodeles waltl – Gallipato.
  • Pyrenean Brook Newt Euproctus asper – Tritón pirenaico.

(Midwife toads are actually frogs!)

Marine turtles
Currently, there are 7 species of marine turtles in the world:

(These first 4 species are usually present in our Peninsular coasts and archipelagos.)

  • Kemp’s ridley turtle (Lepidochelys kempii)
  • Flatback turtle (Natator depressus)
  • Olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea)
Tortoise in Spain

Spain is home to two species of tortoises: the Spur-thighed tortoise, Testudo graeca, (La Tortuga Mora) and Hermann’s tortoise, Testudo hermanni (La tortuga mediterránea). The Spur-thighed tortoise has three separate populations in southwestern Spain (Parque Nacional de Doñana), southeastern Spain (provinces of Murcia and Almeria), and northwestern Mallorca. Hermann’s tortoise inhabits the northeastern corner of the country (Catalonia), the southern part of Mallorca, and most of Minorca. Read the full article about tortoises in Spain here:

Invasive species of reptiles and amphibians in the Iberian Peninsula

Ronda Today

Everything you need to know before you visit Ronda “The city of dreams” in Andalucia.

Visit Cádiz

Planning on visiting Cádiz? Tourist information. Monuments. Hotels. Activities. City guides:

The Caminito del Rey

Find tickets for the Caminito del Rey:

Wildside Holidays – Spain

Take a trip on the Wildside! Discover the wildlife and nature of Spain, its Natural and National Parks and find the top wildlife, activity and walking holiday companies.

Iberia Nature Forum

Struggling with identifying those bugs and beasties? Why not check out the Iberia nature Forum!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Take a trip on the Wildside! Discover the wildlife and nature of Spain, its Natural and National Parks and find the top wildlife, activity and walking holiday companies in Spain.