European Lizard Firmly Established on Vancouver Island

Common wall lizards, native to Europe, now thrive abundantly on southern Vancouver Island after a few were let loose at west Sannich in 1970. The introduced reptiles moved into habitat occupied by native northern alligator lizards. It remains to be seen whether the two species can continue to coexist.

Adult wall lizards linger in open areas near rocks and other large objects that serve as cover. Juveniles venture away from cover into sparse grass and other light vegetation.

Removing the exotic lizards from BC seems improbable since they rapidly reproduce and many reside on private land. Wall lizards do suffer predation here, as evidenced by the many adults missing portions of their tails.

The life history of the Island's wall lizards mirrors that of native and introduced populations elsewhere in the northern hemisphere. Wall lizards mature in their second summer, with bodies reaching up to 70 mm long. Females lay 3 to 8 eggs in June and July, sometimes in large communal nests.


G. Michael Allan, Christopher J. Prelypchan and Patrick T. Gregory. 2006. Population profile of an introduced species, the common wall lizard (Podarcis muralis), on Vancouver Island, Canada. Canadian Journal of Zoology. 84(1): 51-57.

Back to Top
Science Articles