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European green lizard.jpg

The European green lizard (Lacerta viridis) is a large lizard distributed across European midlatitudes from Slovenia and eastern Austria to as far east as the Black Sea coasts of Ukraine and Turkey. It is often seen sunning on rocks or lawns, or sheltering amongst bushes. The lizard reaches up to 15 cm (5.9 in) from the tip of the muzzle to the cloaca. The tail can be up to twice the length of the body, total length is up to 40 cm (16 in). This lizard sometimes sheds its tail (autotomy) to evade the grasp of a predator, regrowing it later. The male has a larger head and a uniform green coloring punctuated with small spots that are more pronounced upon its back. The throat is bluish in the adult male and to a lesser extent in the female. The female is more slender than the male and has a more uniform coloration, often displaying between two and four light bands bordered by black spots. The European green lizard is native to southeastern Europe. Its range extends from southern Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czechia, Slovakia, eastern Italy, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania and Greece to southern Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria and western Turkey. It has been introduced into the state of Kansas in the United States. Various attempts were made to introduce green lizards into Britain since the late 19th century, and a colony identified as L. bilineata has survived at Bournemouth since the late 1990s. They have also been seen and photographed in Jersey, Channel Islands in the last 20 years. It is known from elevations up to 2,200 m (7,218 ft) above sea level and its typical habitat is dense bushy vegetation in open woodland, hedgerows, field margins, embankments and bramble thickets. In the northern part of its range it may be found on bushy heathland and in the southern part it prefers damp locations.