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Common Lizard on the Iveragh Peninsula

Common Lizard

May 2021

If you were asked to name your favourite animal native to Ireland, what would you say? The mighty red deer or one of our bird species? It’s unlikely many, if any, say the common lizard. Maybe that’s down to their lack of fur or song, or maybe it’s that many people don’t realise that we even have native lizards. But we do. Just the one species. And what impressive critters they are!​

The Irish name for the common lizard is ‘Laghairt choiteann’. They are also sometimes referred to as ‘Earc luachra’ – meaning ‘lizard of the rushes’ - although this name is also used for the smooth newt. ‘Earc sléibhe’ – ‘lizard of the mountains’ - is another term for newt and this crossover with names is likely due to people not differentiating between the two animals in the past. ​

Did you know that they hibernate over winter and that they can be found as far north as the Arctic Circle? What’s the difference between a lizard and a newt? We hope you enjoy learning about all about our common lizards and have fun exploring the links on this page. With your new-found knowledge, you will be a lizard expert in no time and spotting them when out and about on Iveragh!


Don’t forget to tag us - @ecomuseumslive #IveraghLizards

Iveragh Lizards Lunchtime Talk 

In May 2021, LIVE launched the Iveragh Lizards Citizen Science project. We asked the public to submit their common lizard sightings and the response was wonderful. On Tuesday the 2nd of November, Linda Lyne hosted a lunchtime talk where she discussed the findings of the project so far.  

Submit your common lizard sighting!

Local knowledge is key to assessing the status of Ireland’s only native reptile, the common lizard. Whether it’s in your garden or on a hiking trail, all records are gratefully welcomed.

Via the submissions to the link below, we hope to build up a picture of just how ‘common’ the common lizard is on the Iveragh peninsula. By late Autumn, when the lizards go back into their winter hibernation, we will ideally have a map of where our lizards call home – created by the people that love Iveragh. I hope you decide to become involved and that this map can be used to help this charismatic and unique animal. By learning where the lizards can be found we can help ensure they have a future on Iveragh, one that you can help protect and preserve. 

The LIVE partnership is led by staff at the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University College Cork, Ireland, who will be responsible for collecting your personal data, which will be stored at University College Cork. Click here to view our privacy policy.

Common Lizard Resources
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My Common Lizard Story

LIVE Knowledge Gatherer Linda Lyne has written about how her first ever common lizard sighting as a child has inspired her to study the species. Read the story here 

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Spotting a Common Lizard

Some useful tips on where to look for lizards and what to do if you see one, and how to spot a Lizard from a Newt! 


Common Lizard Fact Sheet

Is it a lizard or a newt? When can I see them? Find the answers to these questions and more on our Common Lizard Factsheet. 


Common Lizard Activity Sheets

Get your pencil case ready! You can download lots of fun lizard stuff here and don’t forget to share your creations with us !

Common Lizard Activity Sheet
Common Lizard Educational Videos

This educational video is designed to help our younger generation learn about Ireland’s only native lizard species. With interesting facts on the common lizard and some fun activities, it is a great tool to use with the other resources on this page. (approx. 8 mins duration)​

Iveragh Lizard Citizen Science Project

An update on the citizen science project on Iveragh's common lizard with Knowledge Gatherer Linda Lyne, made especially for UCC Community Week, learn how our communities are helping us find out more about Ireland's only native lizard. 

If you would like to learn more about Linda's work you can view and download her Iveragh's Lizard s Final Report

Iveragh Lizards
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Still hungry for more?
Spring on Iveragh

We have put together seasonal information on what you might find on Iveragh during Autumn, Winter and Spring. Our Spring on Iveragh StoryMap includes information on our common lizards and their amphibian friends.

Even more information!

Check out some great information on the common lizard in Ireland at:​

Lizards are a protected species under the Wildlife Act

Please remember it is illegal to handle ​ common lizards without a license.​​ Only do so if a lizard is in danger, such as you are rescuing one from a cat or you find one indoors.​​ Never try to catch a lizard by its tail!​

Community Lizard Gallery

Send us you photos, drawings, and more about the common lizards, so we can add them to our gallery below!


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