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

Veteran-owned brewing company takes over recently closed Axe and Barrel

V2V Black Hops Brewing plans to open by mid-March with up to eight beers on tap

Dragon’s Den auditions return to Victoria in search of business pitches

Auditions take place on March 5 at Parkside Hotel and Spa

Quadriplegic Saanich man seeks continuity of home care from Island Health

Island Health took over home care services in November

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

POLL: Do you support the proposed changes for ICBC?

Tuesday’s provincial budget predicted a shift from shortfall to surplus in wake… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 18

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

Galchenyuk nets shootout winner as Wild edge Canucks 4-3

Vancouver tied with Calgary for second spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

Dr. Tom Warshawski says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett says they can be in Smithers Thursday

Province shows no interest in proposed highway between Alberta and B.C.

Province says it will instead focus on expanding the Kicking Horse Canyon to four lanes

Most Read