The European green lizard (Lacerta viridis ) is a large lizard distributed across European midlatitudes from Slovenia and eastern Austria to as far east as the Black Sea coasts of Ukraine and Turkey. It is often seen sunning on rocks or lawns, or sheltering amongst bushes.
The European green lizard is a large lizard native to southeastern Europe. The male has a larger head and a uniform green coloring punctuated with small spots that are more pronounced upon its back. The throat is bluish in the adult male and to a lesser extent in the female. The female is more slender than the male and has a more uniform coloration, often displaying between two and four light bands bordered by black spots.
European green lizards are found from southern Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czechia, Slovakia, eastern Italy, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, and Greece to southern Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, and western Turkey. They typically live in dense bushy vegetation in open woodland, hedgerows, field margins, embankments, and bramble thickets. In the northern part of their range, green lizards may be found on bushy heathland, and in the southern part they prefer damp locations.
European green lizards are active from March to early October. They are solitary and live on the ground or in low, dense vegetation and like to bask in the sun, early and late in the day. They often hide under rocks, in rodent burrows, or hollows. European green lizards are very fast and alert; they are also able to dig holes up to 1 m in length. When escaping from the danger they may climb bushes and trees and even jump from one branch to another. These lizards sometimes shed their tail (autotomy) to evade the grasp of a predator, regrowing it later.
European green lizards breed between May and early June. The female lays 6 to 20 eggs which usually hatch in 2-4 months. Newly hatched young are pale brown in color and measure 3 to 4 cm (1.2 to 1.6 in) in length. They become mature the following year by which time they will have doubled in size.
At present, there are no major threats to this adaptable spices. However, in Turkey, it may be impacted by the use of pesticides and in northern parts of its range it can suffer from habitat loss and predation by cats.
According to IUCN, the European green lizard is locally common throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List but its numbers today are decreasing.