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 the Corner family – the family living in one of the outside corners of the house, with the original “Mr C” long since survived by Master C, and probably Young Master C by now! We also frequently get mobbed for egg, tuna, or coleslaw by embassies from the hundreds if not thousands more who live in the garden walls, 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 one year into its five year Recovery Plan for the Giant Tenerife Lizard – Gallotia intermedia. And there are even bigger lizards in El Hierro and, largest of all, the giant Gran Canarian lizard. I feel privileged to live surrounded by them and have learned quite a bit about these friendly, curious, adventurous and nosey little creatures whose social life is still a mystery in many respects, so the species recovery and maintenance programmes are very valuable for more than one reason! So if you see any lizards today, perhaps a bit of cucumber or tomato, or a tiny piece of fruit, or some egg if you’re feeling generous, will be much appreciated … and highly appropriate on World Lizard Day!