An Italian lizard on a wall

One of the mind-blowing advantages of living in Paris for the year is being able to take a short flight or train ride to another country! My wife and I have been fortunate to do quite a bit of traveling this year but we hadn’t made it to Italy yet. With the year winding down and travel plans getting locked in for the rest of it, we realized we had to just get some tickets and go for a long weekend. So, I spent the last few days in Florence.

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This was my first time in Florence and apart from being excited to see the Duomo, eat delicious fresh pasta, and get lost wandering down ancient cobblestone streets, I wanted to get out into the hills and see an Italian Wall Lizard in its native habitat. I’ve spent quite a bit of time chasing Italian Wall Lizards in New England, but I really wanted to spot them in their homeland.

On our first full day in Florence, I set out on a walk to get us out of the city and into the hills and olive orchards not far away. Not long into this walk, I spotted this little lizard sitting high on a rock wall. Perfect! I snuck up and, despite leaving my lizard pole back in Paris, grabbed her. Hurrah!

IMG_0524.jpgYou might notice though, she looks a bit different than the ones I’ve been taking pictures of in Connecticut and Boston. That’s because she’s Podarcis muralis, the common wall lizard, not P. siculus, the so-called Italian wall lizard.  Argh! What was she doing there sitting on a wall in Italy?!

The common wall lizard is quite the cosmopolitan and can be found in many countries across southern Europe. While it hasn’t invaded quite as far and wide as siculus it still gets around pretty well in North America and elsewhere in Europe.

I’m pretty sure later in the day I spotted a true Italian Wall Lizard from a distance but I wasn’t able to get my hands on her. I guess I’ll just have to settle for this wall lizard from Italy, and go back for another shot at the one and only Italian Wall Lizard.


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