Lizards on La Palma

Female lizard grabbing watermelon, Tedote, La Palma
Female wall lizard grabbing watermelon, Tedote

The local lizards (Gallotia galloti palmae) are fond on watermelon on a hot day. Figures. Unlike most lizards, they eat quite a lot of plants, especially ripe fruit, to the point where they can become a nuisance in vinyards.

I recently discovered that we only have one species of small lizard here. What I thought were two species is one, with different colours for males and females. The one in the photo above is a female – brown and stripy. The males are greyish, with a blue throat (below.)

Male Palmeran wall lizard, grey with a blue throat, , Gallotia galloti palmae, Breña Baja
Male Palmeran wall lizard, Gallotia galloti palmae, Breña Baja

Apparently one colony on Teide of the subspecies on Tenerife (Gallotia galloti galloti) has become quite tame and will provide photo opportunities in exchange for ripe banana.

In December 2007 researchers found out that the giant Canarian lizard, Gallotia auaritae, isn’t extinct after all. There’s a small colony at a secret location somewhere. I’d love to see one, but that seems unlikely.

Posted by sheila

Sheila came to La Palma with a six month contract and has stayed 24 years so far. She used to work as a software engineer at the observatory, but now she's a writer and Starlight guide.

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