The sand lizard (Lacerta agilis) is a lacertid lizard distributed across most of Europe and eastwards to Mongolia. It does not occur in the Iberian peninsula or European Turkey. Its distribution is often patchy.
The sand lizard has a light underbelly and a dorsal stripe: males tend to be darker in colour and turn partly or wholly bright green during the mating season. Sand lizards can reach up to 25 cm (10 in) in length.
It has several subspecies, the westernmost of which is Lacerta agilis agilis. In this and the other main western subspecies (L. a. argus), the dorsal stripe is thin and interrupted, or not present at all. This applies particularly to the latter subspecies, which also includes a plain red or brown-backed phase without any dorsal markings. In these two subspecies, only the flanks of the males turn green in the mating season, but in the eastern subspecies (predominantly L. a. exigua), males can be wholly green, even outside the breeding season.
It is regarded as threatened and is strictly protected under UK law – as it is throughout most of Europe (it is a European Protected Species). This is in contrast to L. a. exigua, whose Russian name translates as the "common lizard". The UK Herpetological Conservation Trust is the lead partner in the UK Species Action Plan (SAP) for the sand lizard.
The female sand lizard lays eggs in loose sand in a sunny location, leaving them to be incubated by the warmth of the ground.
- Hesketh Golf Links, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (UK protected land), a UK habitat where sand lizards exist
- List of reptiles of Italy
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