What our animals are up to this month… June 2020

June most likely sees the final time of the season for mating
behaviour in two of our native lizards – the common
lizard and the slow-worm. These
behaviours will start being exhibited in late April. Both of these species’ males will fight as
rivals if they encounter each other in breeding territories. Females will mate with multiple males over
the course of the breeding season and, if observed, both species engage with a
powerful bite and grasp that could be mistaken for fighting behaviour.

Mating behaviour in slow-worm is rarely observed with activity occurring underground or amongst thick vegetation for this reptile species which spends much time away from prying eyes!  Females are known to breed every second year with breeding condition reached at a length of 28cm.  The amount of mating in a season is dependent on the temperature across spring and early summer – with higher temperatures leading to increased mating activity.  Males and females become entwined during breeding for a period of up to ten hours.

Common lizard mate on warm sunny days with males chasing receptive females.  Studies show a male’s bigger body size is preferred in female’s mate selection strategies.  Females are less selective with their first mate, after which they go ‘up the ladder’ with their selections, choosing males in better body condition.

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