Timon lepidus

Family : Lacertidae


Timon lepidus, Lacertidae

Difficult to find in the Iberian peninsula, in south of France or in north-western Italy, a lizard more beautiful than the Timon lepidus, known also till few years ago, as Lacerta lepida. The vulgar name of Ocellated lizard has not changed, as the first thing that catches the eye, besides the remarkable size of 45-85 cm which renders it the biggest lizard in Europe, is the splendid livery, with dark pattern on the back embellished by numerous ocelli that become light blue on the sides, especially in the males during the reproductive period. It is at home in the Mediterranean maquis and in the garrigue, but also in agricultural areas like olive groves and vineyards. Active by day, mainly terrestrial, it easily climbs rocks and trees to warm up calmly under the morning sun, to escape an importunate or to chase a prey. It nourishes of every sort of insects, especially coleopterans, but also of small vertebrates and nestlings, not forgetting when it’s warm and is thirsty, juicy fruits and buds. The males are territorial and pugnacious. The females, slightly smaller, hide up to 22 eggs under stones, trunks or leaves of the litter. This showy lizard, still unlawfully seized as terrarium reptilian, is now unluckily appearing in the “red list” of the endangered species © Giuseppe Mazza


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