Distribution: Iberia (excluding the northern Atlantic coastal stretch.) Algeria, France, Gibraltar, Italy, Morocco, Portugal and Tunisia
The Large Psammodromus – Psammodromus algirus – Lagartija Colilarga can have a body length of up to 9cm with a slender tail that is two or three times longer. Its back is a soft brown with two pale yellow or off white stripes running down each flank. The back legs up to the beginning of the tail are a soft orange colour, all of this helps them to blend well with fallen leaves and soil shades under bushes which is where they are normally seen. This can be in forests, woods or more open scrubland but generally not far from shrubs that they can hunt through and use as shelter. They are very agile and can even be seen climbing nimbly through gorse bushes, often only giving away their position as they rustle through leaves. This species is very adaptable and can inhabit areas from sea level up to 2600m in altitude in the warmer southern areas of their distribution range.
This is the most numerous species of lizard in Iberia. Their diet consists mainly of arthropods – beetles, spiders, grasshoppers and ants, they will also eat small lizards and fruit or seeds. If the temperature exceeds 15 degrees then they can be active throughout the year only hibernating in areas where the temperature drops lower than this. They are generally diurnal but may also be out on summer nights.
The males can have blue spots along their sides just above the forelimbs and can also show red / yellow colouring on their faces during the breeding season. Breeding begins in the spring and there may be two or rarely three clutches consisting of between 2 to 11 eggs. The incubation time can vary from one to six weeks with the young appearing from August through to October. The young are 2.5 to 3cm in body length and have the same colouration and patterns as the adults. This species may live up to 7 years.
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Notable in the Western Three-toed Skink is the elongated serpent like body, often reaching lengths around 30 cm in total (12 inches). An intact tail can be longer than the head-body in length. Colouration is yellowish to brown or more often grey, with a metallic sheen.
They have 9 or more narrow, dark longitudinal stripes. The limbs are very short and have only 3 digits. It is very agile and fast as it moves across the surface. Females normally exceed males in length.
On the hottest days they restrict their movement to early in the morning or late evening remaining hidden during the main heat of the day and so regulating their body temperature. They prefer damp meadows and cool hillsides including seasonally flooded areas, abandoned fields, hedges and land with abundant herbaceous vegetation.
The Western Three-toed Skink feeds mainly on insects – crickets, grasshoppers, caterpillars and spiders and worms etc.
Between March and June the breeding season begins. Between two and three months after mating, females give birth to 1 – 12 fully formed young. They are ovoviviparous (able to incubate the eggs inside the female)
Conservation Status: LC. Least Concern – The IUCN has listed the western three-toed skink as being of “Least Concern” because of its wide range and the fact that it is very common in some parts of its range. It is nevertheless threatened by changes in agricultural practices resulting in degradation of its habitat. In some areas it is persecuted because it is mistakenly thought to be venomous.
Distribution: Portugal, Spain, the Mediterranean coast of France, NW Italy.
Bedriaga’s skink, a small reptile with four visible limbs, although very short (almost atrophied) with 5 digits to each. To move quickly, it holds its limbs against its body and moves like a snake. It is covered with smooth, shiny scales of variable tones: from copper to greyish brown or olive green, dotted with small black spots with pale centres and faintly marked stripes. Adults can reach up to 14 cm (5½ inches) in total length.
Most active during the day and twilight. They hide under rocks, decaying wood in undergrowth and underground as they can excavate loose soil easily. They live in scrubland, woodland clearings and stony areas.
The Bedriaga’s skink feeds mainly on small invertebrates, isopods and arachnids.
The mating period occurs between the months of March and June. They are ovoviviparous (able to incubate the eggs inside the female). They only give birth once a year. About 78 days after fertilization, during July or August, the females have 1 – 6 live young.
Conservation Status: T Threatened
Distribution: An Endemic Species. Distributed throughout the Iberian Peninsula, except the extreme north. Prefers a Mediterranean climate.