NATIVE REPTILES OF THE BRITISH ISLES
 
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Some areas of heathland such as those to the west of Poole Harbour in Dorset are so suited to the needs of our native reptile species that all six are to be found there.

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The Common Lizard     Lacerta vivipara

The Sand Lizard     Lacerta agilis
The sand lizard was once widespread across mature dry heathland and coastal sand dunes. Now threatened, the species is restricted to natural populations in Dorset, Surrey and Merseyside. Together with the smooth snake, the sand lizard is the rarest of our reptiles. It is the only of the native species to lay eggs.

The Slow Worm    Anguis fragilis
Although it appears superficially to resemble a snake, the slow worm is, in fact, a lizard which has lost its legs to facilitate its burrowing habit.

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There are three snakes which are native to the British Isles. Of these, only the adder is venomous. The slow worm is, despite its appearance, a burrowing lizard which has lost its legs.

The Adder or Viper     Vipera berus
The only venomous snake native to the British Isles, the adder or viper bears a characteristic zig-zag marking on its back. The snake will flee if it feels threatened and will only bite if it feels cornered.

The Grass Snake    Natrix natrix

The Smooth Snake    Coronella austriaca
Together with the sand lizard, the smooth snake is the rarest of our reptiles.

See also the Slow Worm which looks superficially like a snake but is a leg-less Lizard.

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Leatherback Turtle
Sheer size allows these tropical, the largest of marine turtles, to survive in the cold waters off our coasts where other reptiles cannot survive. they are often caught up (and drowned) in fishing gear.

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All six reptiles are found on the following sites

DORSET
  Studland Peninsula
 

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Lizards
 Common Lizard
 Sand Lizard
 Slow Worm
Snakes
 Adder
 Grass Snake
 Smooth Snake
 Viper

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