Today I would like to show you all the photos I took of a juvenile Ocelated Lizard , that crawled out from under the hedge only a few cm away from my foot. I felt a movement rather than heard a noise, looked down, and there it was, a beautiful yellowish lizard. All the other ocellated lizards I have seen previously have been green, so I was delighted to have an opportunity to photograph a yellowish one.
It was on the move, hunting for food, such as spiders, beetles, mainly large insects, berries, and on occasion bird eggs. For an Ocellated Lizard, the largest European Lizard, it looked small and quite skinny.
During the winter, it ceases it's activity, hibernating for varying periods of time, depending on climatic conditions. This was possibly it's first hunting trip after a long sleep. It was a lovely sunny day, and food was it's main objective. It was not in the least perturbed by my presents.
These images were taken in early March, just before the breeding season, which is mid-March, when the days get warmer, and sunny, and goes on until mid -July, when the females lay their eggs underground. Juveniles become sexually active by their third year of life
It is difficult to know if it was a male or female, for unless you see them together you would not be able to tell as both look alike, but the male is larger, and has a bigger head.
Adults average 40-60 cm in length, but can sometimes reach an impressive 90 cm. Generally two thirds of it's length is taken up by it's thick tail. I liked the striking ocelli spotted pattern on this juvenile, and the ocelli profusion gives name to the species
The Ocellated Lizard, or Portuguese Largarta, is a protected Species in Portugal. A lone unsociable lizard, but always a pleasure to see.