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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Victoria to see extra ships after cruise company cancels Asia tour in wake of COVID-19

Coronovirus fears cause Celebrity Cruises to head west early

Sooke school superintendent says student safety a paramount concern

“We always want to make sure our students and staff feel safe,”… Continue reading

Roll of EI recipients in Greater Victoria stagnates

Statistics Canada says 2,140 people received EI benefits in December 2019, just as in November

Oak Bay ups deer management budget to $96,100 for 2020

Provincial grant approved for deer contraception program

UPDATED: Indigenous youth occupy B.C. Legislature steps amidst court injunction

Police negotiating with people gathered in support of some of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

Trudeau revisits blackface embarrassment during Black History Month

Photos and a video of Trudeau wearing makeup to darken his skin surfaced during last fall’s election campaign

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Most Read