James P Deans | Another Day at Flanders Moss

Another Day at Flanders Moss

June 02, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Flanders Moss 27 May 2017-0172Flanders Moss 27 May 2017-0172

Viviparous lizard (common lizard) Zootoca vivipara. 

The first day I was at Flanders Moss it was very hot and the lizards didn't make much of an appearance. Being cold blooded they sit in the sun to warm up and then they become more active. The second day was a bit cooler, but still sunny, and as a result the lizards were more visible.

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The Viviparous lizard is an amazing creature. It lives from the higher ground of Northern Spain & Italy where it lives in the mountains (up to 3000 metres up) all the way to inside the Arctic Circle. From the Western extremities of Spain & Ireland it is found all the way East to Sakhalin island (that's a name that brings my work to mind - there's lots of oil & gas there) which is just north of Japan. They live further North than any other reptile. 

Flanders Moss 27 May 2017-0165Flanders Moss 27 May 2017-0165 They tend to sit in the sun on the sides of the boardwalk. Flanders Moss 27 May 2017-0153Flanders Moss 27 May 2017-0153

They come in a range of colours - and sizes - although most of the lizards we saw were smaller than other Viviparous lizards we've seen. Their bodies (excluding tails) are about 5 inches maximum. This one's tail is a different colour to the rest of it. Don't know if that means it's grown a new one.

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They do not have a regular pose - they seem quite happy in just about any position, whether straight, curled or wavy. 

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Or bent over the edge! 

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One thing is for sure - they move at lightening speed as soon as they feel threatened. You just do not see them go. 

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Viviparous lizards are unusual in one aspect at least. The word viviparous (vivi - live; parous - bearing offspring, hence parent) means giving birth to live young, which Viviparous lizards do in their northern ranges. In their southern ranges the lizards are oviparous - i.e. they lay eggs. I'm not sure how many species may breed in two different ways. 

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Their mating technique doesn't seem all that good to a human. A male will take a female in his jaws. If she isn't interested then she will bite him. Lovely! Romantic? 

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In the north hibernation can commence as early as September and it lasts until February - but in the south they don't hibernate at all. One creature - many habits! 

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At Flanders Moss the lizards are living in marshland, but they will live in just about any habitat. I've seen them inhabiting an old brickworks which was fairly desert like (well it did rain as this was in Armadale, but it was well drained and very sandy) as well as heather covered hillside in the south of Scotland. Apparently they will nest in dunes, forests, gardens, and other habitats too. 

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I love the colour of this one. Next time I need to work on depth of field! 

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Of the many lizards photographed on Saturday - this one stayed stillest the longest. 

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I don't know much about their colour schemes, I just know I really find them fascinating. I'll need to spend some time with Google and find out more.

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Some of the lizards photographed have the same colour of tail as their body, others are different - such as this one. 

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A very small sundew plant - this was probably less than 1 inch across. 

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Some grass growing by a small pool in the marsh. I liked its' form and the light / dark contrast. 


Proverbs 30: 28 Lizards – they are easy to catch, but they are found even in kings’ palaces.

True – I’ve caught one that was in our bedroom in a luxury hotel in Spain.

James 3:7-10 People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!


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