Langford lizard sighting excites Victoria museum curator

Curator of vertebrate zoology/knowledge explains the spread of the Wall lizard in the region

Rick Stiebel/News Staff

Leaping lizards need not apply.

Considering it takes the Wall lizard 10 years to spread one kilometre from its point of origin, a sighting in the Crystal View area of Langford is exciting news for an expert in the field.

Gavin Hanke, curator, vertebrate zoology/knowledge at the Royal BC Museum, was intrigued enough to reach out to a Langford resident who took a photo of a Wall lizard that ran in the Goldstream Gazette to determine the location of the sighting.

Although there have been sightings south of Langford Lake and in the Goldstream area, there have been “very few” observations in Langford, Hanke noted. “It’s great to get a new dot on the map in an area like that,” he added enthusiastically.

READ ALSO: Catching reptiles and amphibians puts species at risk, Saanich nature sanctuary warns

The Wall lizard was first “accidentally or on purpose” introduced in the Saanich Peninsula in 1967, then intentionally introduced in 1986 on the West Shore through a release in a garden on Triangle Mountain in Colwood, Hanke explained. Common Wall lizards moved from Central Saanich to two separate gardens in Summerland failed to establish.

While lizards are common in almost every garden in the Moss Rocks area of Fairfield, it hasn’t been determined if that’s the case elsewhere, Hanke said.

“It would be great if we could encourage people to report lizard sightings, especially with photos so we can really get going on figuring how evenly spread these lizards are where they occur,” he said. Photographs are especially helpful in identifying if it is a Common Wall lizard or a Northern Alligator lizard, a species native to B.C. “Public help, even kids as citizen scientists can really help with determining species’ ranges, not just wall lizards but anything. Weeds, birds, toads, fish, mammals, mosses, lichen, you name it.”

READ ALSO: Burmese python too big for B.C. put on one-way flight to Toronto

Hanke, who has been with the Royal BC Museum for 15 years, has completed a paper on the Common Wall lizard that will be published this winter in the Northwestern Naturalist scientific journal.

“I started out keeping reptiles as pets in kindergarten,” he said. “It’s a dream job. I get to catch snakes, lizards and fish and call it work. It’s pretty awesome.”

If you have a photo or sighting you want to share, post it at iNaturalist.ca or contact ghanke@royalbcmuseum.bc.ca.

rick.stiebel@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Just Posted

Lone wolf eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

PHOTOS: Hundreds gather in downtown Victoria for Extinction Rebellion climate protest

The rally is the kickoff to the Global Climate Strike Week of Action

Hundreds of foreign species continue to wash along B.C. coast following Japanese tsunami

The Royal BC Museum is home to thousands of samples collected along the west coast of North America

Church bells to ring for 11 minutes in support of Global Climate Strike

Each minute to signify years left to drastically reduce greenhouse gas pollution

Crown alleges resentment of ex-wife drove Oak Bay father to kill his daughters

Patrick Weir alleged in his closing arguments that Andrew Berry is responsible for the deaths of his daughters

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Walmart to quit selling e-cigarettes amid vaping backlash

U.S.’s largest retailer points to ‘growing’ complications in federal, state and local regulations

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, as well as New World Tea and Coffee House

Trudeau seeks meeting with Singh to apologize for blackface, brownface photos

‘I will be apologizing to him personally as a racialized Canadian,’ Trudeau said Friday

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should the province step in to upgrade the road to Bamfield?

The death of two University of Victoria students on a bus bound… Continue reading

Most Read