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Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The Lizard That Was Once Entirely Extinct

Hierro Giant Lizard's were once believed to be entirely extinct but rediscovered in the mid 1970’s. This giant lizard has at present only a small population of about 300 to 400 individuals (including re-introduced populations) living on the island of El Hierro in the Canary Islands (Spain). Unfortunately, it is classified as Europe’s most endangered reptile. The Hierro Giant Lizard's major threat is predation by feral cats, and possibly also by dogs and rats.

The Hierro Giant Lizard is omnivorous and feeds almost exclusively on only two types of plants, Kleinia neriifolia and Lavandula abrotanoides. It also feeds on insects. It is a large, stocky lizard with a broad head and pronounced jowl. Its underside is generally brown, but has an orange to red coloration towards the middle. Adults are dark grey to brown in color with two rows of pale orange patches running along the sides. As the Hierro Giant Lizard grows older it tends to turn black with some grey. They are round about 60 cm long, although most of that is tail - males are known to grow larger than females.


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