The Lizard Project

In September and October 2009, EWOS became the new home for 163 Common Lizards and a Slow Worm.

On the advice of ecologists, these creatures were transferred from a new school development site in Iron Mill Lane, Crayford and all costs associated with the transfer to the Open Space, including the importation of the demarcation markers, were borne by the developer.

The lizard habitat is demarked with sections of tree trunks.
The lizard habitat is demarked with sections of tree trunks.

The area is bordered by large sections of tree trunks, moved from other sites in Bexley earlier in 2010, which are currently rotting into the soil, providing homes for insects that will allow the reptiles to thrive.

The initial placement was in the west of the Open Space between the allotments and the path from Glenmore Road; a further grassland area of uncut meadow with paths and fire breaks was then created on the slope down to the boardwalk to allow the lizards to spread out further. This area now contains log piles for hibernation, shelter, foraging and also artificial basking areas.

A lizard basking area contains large rocks and tree limb sections, sat on a sandy base
A lizard basking area contains large rocks and tree limb sections, sat on a sandy base

One of two basking areas which were created in the first half of 2011.

A basking area with rocks on a sandy base is situated in the middle of grass
A basking area with rocks on a sandy base is situated in the middle of grass

The second of the two basking areas.

The lizards are of course very shy creatures and are rarely seen. The most likely time to observe them is on a very warm Summer day, when there are few people around. Their progress is being managed and monitored by ecological experts over a five year period. If you do happen to spot one we would be very pleased to hear from you – please contact us!

<p”>

Close-up of a hastily-photographed lizard, sitting on wood, missing the tip of its tail
Close-up of a hastily-photographed lizard, sitting on wood, missing the tip of its tail

This is the first lizard seen by the volunteers in the first week of July 2012. This tiny reptile was very quick to disappear when disturbed even though it had part of its tail missing.

29 Apr 2016 002 (800x643)

Second sighting – young lizard in April 2016

Common lizards and slow worms are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981: it is an offence to kill, harm or injure them, or sell or trade them in any way.

The nature of the area devoted particularly to the lizards has changed dramatically since the inception of this project and, shown below, is the state of the grassland in this demarcated section of the open space during July 2017. The most notable change is in the height of the grassland and the cut tree trunks, indicating the southern limit of the reptile space, which have weathered and crumbled. This broken wood should encourage insects and we hope that stag beetles will find homes in the decayed timber. Compare this photo with the first one in this section of the website.