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Dublin: 5°C Tuesday 25 January 2022

These lizards are roaming free in the Irish countryside

Bet you didn’t know that.

BELIEVE IT OR not, Ireland is home to two species of land-dwelling reptiles.

The viviparous lizard and the slow worm are elusive creatures, and sightings are rare.

Now the Irish Wildlife Trust is asking members of the public to get involved and become ‘citizen scientists’ to help learn a bit more about them.

It is hoped that by doing this, exactly where these creatures are should become a bit clearer.

So what are people looking for exactly? 

The slow worm probably looks nothing like any other worm you’ve ever seen in your life.

Slow Worm_MikeBrown A slow worm Source: Mike Brown

Snake-like in appearance, the animal is actually a legless lizard.

It is normally known to slide through the undergrowth and feeds on slugs and insects.

The reptile was introduced to Ireland in the 1970s and is believed to mostly be found in the Burren.

The viviparous lizard (or ‘common’ lizard) is our other reptile and native to Ireland.

Adult Lizard Curled The viviparous lizard Source: Mike Brown

It is usually found in boglands, grasslands and coastal sites.

It also feeds on small insects and slugs and has adapted to the cooler climate by giving birth to live young.

What can the public do?

The Irish Wildlife Trust has said that by introducing citizen scientists they will be able to monitor any decline in Ireland’s reptiles and take action before it is too late.

Anyone is able to volunteer to take part in the project, and those that put themselves forward will be asked to attend a workshop.

“Much of Ireland’s wildlife remains under recorded and under protected. Through projects like this the people of Ireland can help us learn vital information about our wildlife helping us safeguard their populations” said survey coordinator Kieran Flood.

Workshops for those who wish to take part will be taking place across the country next month and anyone interested can find out more on the Irish Wildlife Trust website. 

Read: A volcano could be about to make these lizards extinct

Also: So it turns out that kittens are really, really scared of lizards

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