Photo: Tenerife Cabildo.
Today, apparently, is World Lizard Day. I myself live in the mountains in a dry stone wall cottage which is home to hundreds if not thousands of the famous Tenerife Wall Lizard, Gallotia galloti, of which there are various sub-species. They share our lives, and we have seen generations, now, of various of their family groups, and received embassies from the inhabitants of the garden wall or the rockery or the house walls themselves for egg, tuna, or coleslaw, and we leave an outside tap on very slow drip so they’ve always got access to clean fresh water.
These wall lizards are not tiny but they’re small compared to the giant species we also have in the islands, with Tenerife itself now two years into its five year Recovery Plan for the Giant Tenerife Lizard – Gallotia Intermedia. And El Hierro has even bigger lizards while Gran Canaria has the largest of all, the giant Gran Canarian lizard. I love living surrounded by them, sharing the very walls of my house with them, and have learned quite a bit about these friendly, curious, and adventurous little creatures whose social life is still a mystery in many respects. That’s just one reason that the species recovery and maintenance programmes are so valuable! So if you see any lizards today, a bit of cucumber or tomato, or a tiny piece of fruit, or some egg or fish if you’re feeling particularly generous, will be greatly appreciated … and very appropriate on World Lizard Day!