Over winter, Thomson Ecology has been conducting ecological watching briefs for emergency rail work. The risk to public health from potential rail track collapse meant surveys and mitigation for reptiles could not be undertaken in the normal way.
During a particularly cold day whilst contractors were digging with hand tools in an area of scrub, our ecologist identified a small female common lizard (Zootoca vivipara), woken from hibernation, among the rootstock of a bramble. Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) common lizards are protected from killing, injury and sale. It was too cold to place the lizard back on site for hibernation; left in the current temperatures it would be unlikely to survive. The reptile was removed and taken into captivity to ensure its survival throughout the winter.
The lizard is now being looked after in a vivarium with suitable substrate, logs for basking, a source of water, a heat lamp to keep warm and mealworms for food. The vivarium is kept in a quiet part of the office to reduce stress to the lizard.
The lizard was named Amber in a naming prize draw, and the proceeds from the draw were donated to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Thomson Ecology’s chosen charity for 2016. During her stay, Amber is proving to be a popular addition around the office!
Amber will be released back on site as close to the capture location as possible when the weather has warmed up in spring. We will be able to pinpoint this location easily by using our mobile mapping devices.