Sand lizards returned to Farnham Heath

Male sand lizard Sand lizards disappeared from Farnham Heath after a tree planting programme following World War II

Related Stories

Dozens of sand lizards - one of Britain's rarest reptiles - are to be released on heathland in Surrey as part of a three-year conservation project.

A group of 40, bred in captivity, will be set free on a reserve on Farnham Heath, where the animals once lived.

The Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC) group plans to release more every autumn on the site owned by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

Native populations can now only be found in Surrey, Merseyside and Dorset.

The lizard was once commonly found on dunes and heathland, but became endangered after the gradual destruction of their habitats.

Britain's rarest lizard

  • A threatened species strictly protected by UK law
  • Male's sides sometimes turn almost completely bright green during breeding
  • Britain's only egg-laying lizard
  • Young emerge in late summer

They are believed to have been lost from the Farnham Heath site when it was planted with a commercial conifer crop after World War II.

The ARC, under licence from government conservation authority Natural England, has a captive breeding population originally drawn from sites in south-west Surrey.

Britain's rarest native lizard is protected by strict laws making it an offence to kill, injure, capture or disturb them.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Surrey



Min. Night 9 °C


  • Bad resultsBlame game

    The best excuses to use when exam results don't make the grade

  • Police respond to a shooting in Santa MonicaTrigger decision

    What really happens before a police officer fires his gun?

  • Child injured by what activists say were two air strikes in the north-eastern Damascus suburb of Douma (3 August 2014)'No-one cares'

    Hope fades for Syrians one year after chemical attack

  • Lady AlbaGoing Gaga Watch

    Social media's use ahead of the independence referendum

  • Pro Israel activists hold a banner reading 'Against Anti-Semitism and hate of Israel' at a demonstration as part of Quds Day in Berlin, Germany, 25 July 2014'Rising tide'

    Do statistics support claims that anti-Semitism is increasing?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.