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Lizards

With more than 4000 species worldwide lizards are the largest group of living reptiles. With its warm Mediterranean climate Lebanon is the home to a great diversity of species. Being cold blooded, they thrive best at the lower altitudes but several species are specialized to the cooler mountain conditions.

On hikes in the country and even in the town look out for them sunning themselves on rocks in the early mornings and late afternoons. In the heat of the summer they will be in the shade – they keep their body temperatures remarkably constant by positioning themselves in their environment – the masters of making the most out of their surroundings.

Here are a number of species to look out for:

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Agama
Laudakia stellio
Size: A large robust Lizard up to 35 cm long.
Where found: Widespread in Lebanon up to 1500m. Stone walls, rocky areas and ruins.
Diet: mostly insects
Additional notes: A very common and easy to identify species with its flat triangular head and spiky appearance.
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Mediterranean Chameleon
Chamaeleo chamaeleon
Size: 24 to 30 cm long
Where found: strongly favors trees
Diet: catches insect prey with its long sticky tongue
Additional notes: A unique lizard with its grasping feet, prehensile tail and bulbous eyes that can rotate independently. Can change color to match its surroundings. If it is black it is distressed or angry!
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Levant Fan-footed Gecko
Ptyodactylus puiseuxi
Size: body length up to 8 cm long
Where found: rocky cliffs, groups of bigger stones and ruins
Diet: small arthropods
Additional notes: Geckos have the amazing ability of climbing vertical surfaces, even walking on ceilings.
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Kotschy’s Gecko
Cyrtopodion kotschyi
Size: body length up to 10 cm long
Where found: stony places with little vegetation.
Diet: small arthropods
Additional notes: Mostly nocturnal and can change color depending on the light.
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Turkish Gecko
Hemidactylus turcicus
Size: body length up to 9 cm long
Where found: under leaves, in crevices in rocks, in houses
Diet: small arthropods
Additional notes: Mostly nocturnal and may be living in your house – if you are lucky!
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Kulzer’s Rock Lizard
Lacerta kulzeri
Size: body length 6 cm with a long tail
Where found: rocky areas often with dense vegetation
Diet: small arthropods
Additional notes: The males hold territories in the breeding season.
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Levant Green Lizard
Lacerta media
Size: A large green lizard total length more than 30 cm.
Where found: well vegetated slopes particularly woodland habitats
Diet: invertebrates including large beetles etc.
Additional notes: Climbs trees and bushes, hibernates in cold weather.
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Snake-eyed Lizard
Ophisops elegans
Size: A small lizard total length 15cm.
Where found: A ground dwelling species very widely distributed in mostly open habitats.
Diet: small arthropods
Additional notes: very common
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Ablepherus budaki
Size: a slim small lizard body length only up to 4 cm but with a long tail
Where found: in leaf litter and under stones etc.
Diet: small arthropods
Additional notes: This is a shy lizard and hard to find – it looks like it has no legs but it has tiny weak ones to help it push its snake like body through the loose soil.
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Banded Skink
Mabuya vittata
Size: total length 20 cm +
Where found: Bushy, scrubby and rocky places grassy areas and cultivated land.
Diet: mainly insects
 
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