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

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 above, 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.

More about the Common Lizard

We’ve put together a range of resources for you to learn more about these wonderful lizards: what they look like; tips on where you might see them; the adaptations they have to survive in cold weather. There are activity sheets, an educational video and lots more….

'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. Filled with facts about the common lizard, you can read the story here 

Common Lizard Factsheet

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. Click to open the PDF and download.

Tips on how to see Common Lizards

Some useful tips on where to look for lizards and what to do if you see one. Click to open these PDFs and download.

Common Lizard Educational Video

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)​

Common Lizard Fun Stuff!

Get your pencil case ready! You can download lots of fun lizard stuff here and don’t forget to share your creations with us  - @ecomuseumslive #IveraghLizards​. Click to open the PDF and download.

Things to know before you go!

LIVE supports responsible ecotourism and we’ve put together some advice for when you are out and about.

Spring on Iveragh
Even more information!

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.

Still hungry for more? Check out some great information on the common lizard in Ireland at:​

Common Lizard Gallery

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!


Email them to