Common Wall Lizard Care Sheet
The common wall lizard, known by its Latin name Podarcis muralis, meaning ‘agile wall-goer’, inhabits various parts of Europe, for example Spain, France and Germany. They can grow to about 20 cm long including tail. These lizards have a range of variation in colour and patterns which sees specimens with grey or brown and on occasion hints of green. Others may have rows of white spots or black reticulations. Some individuals may even have hints of orange, pink or red on the stomach. They are a medium sized reptile, with males being slightly larger and more colourful. As suggested by their name, common wall lizards are particularly fond of rocky faces or crevices. They are often referred to as the ‘Houdini’ of the reptile world because of the species’ incredible ability of escaping enclosures, so be careful! This is probaly the reason to why they are doing so well in Britain, have being ‘accidentally’ introduced on many occasions.
Male commonwall lizard basking on a rock.
These lizards will feed on any commercially available insects, e.g. mealworms, crickets, wax worms, calci worms, morio worms, roaches and earthworms. It is important to gut-load the feeder insects with fruit, vegetables and dandelions as the nutrients from the food will go straight into the lizards. Dusting the feeder insects is also an important step to ensure your lizard maintains healthy levels of vitamins and calcium. We encourage people to establish natural colonies of insects and invertebrates into the enclosure which will ensure your lizards can get an unlimited supply of a varied diet, at no extra cost. Before the wall lizards goes into hibernation, it is advised to feed it wax worms or any other type of high-fat insects to help cope with the cooler temperatures in winter.
Common wall lizards will really appreciate a vivarium with plenty of space to explore, dig and bask. Therefore, we recommend a vivarium of size 1.5m x 0.5m for a pair or small group. The enclosure should also have 50-60cm of soil for the lizard to burrow down and brumate. A variety of plant species, logs and stones will help create a more natural, realistic environment for the lizard to enjoy. This also makes for great habitats for insects such as ants, spiders and woodlouse: it’s your own microbiome! Remember, the larger the enclosure, the happier the animal, so don’t hesitate to make a larger enclosure. At Celtic Reptile & Amphibian we house all of our animals outdoors in greenhouse enclosures or outdoor vivaria, as this allows vital exposure to the sun and thus, the absorption of UVB light. Wall lizards, as mentioned previously, are fond of rocky areas, even buildings. So, it is not a bad idea to add a rock pile or two! No external heating supply or UVB bulb is required when outdoors in the UK or Europe. This ensures the animals live the most naturalistic and healthy life possible which can be seen from the stunning colours of our animals! In terms of temperature and humidity, this lizard is rather hardy and so can withstand temperatures as low as 10 C and as high as 40 C , with a happy medium of around 25 C. This species loves to bask and so basking temperatures may need to be higher than the rest of the enclosure, however you can achieve this by ensuring your enclosure is on the south facing wall with no sunlight obstruction.
Habitat of the common wall lizard: a rocky area in La Vendee, France.
Mating occurs within the spring months, and consists of the male biting the base of the females tail and proceeding to intertwine tails. This kind of courtship and mating is not too dissimilar to other lacertids. After a successful mating, the female will become extremely fat, usually 4 -6 weeks later. The female will lay between 2-6 eggs in a section of the enclosure she deems ideal. This could be anywhere from in some sand to under vegetation. The eggs should be collected carefully and artificially incubated.