El Hierro Giant Lizard

True Wild Life | El Hierro Giant Lizard | The El Hierro Giant Lizard is a species that can be found on the island of El Hierro, one of the Canary Islands (Spain). The species was once present throughout much of the island and on the small offshore Roque Chico de Salmor, but is now confined to a small areas of cliff with sparse vegetation. It is currently restricted to the southern end of the Risco de Tibataje, in la Fuga de Gorreta, located between Guinea and the so-called Paso del Pino.

El Hierro giant lizard is a thickset reptile with a broad head. Adults are dark grey to brown in colour, with two rows of pale orange patches running along its sides. Its belly is mostly brown, but has an orange to red colouration towards the middle. Older El Hierro Giant Lizards are mainly black with some grey. Males are larger than females. El Hierro Giant Lizard is a very large lacertid that can grow beyond 20 cm in length, and lives only on the Hierro Island of Spain's Canary Islands. It used to exist in a broader area but now only exists in a certain part of Hierro Island. Their number is down to a mere 300 to 400, including those returned to wilderness by humans.

The El Hierro giant lizard is omnivorous. It eats plants and insects. Mating begins in May and the 5 to 13 eggs are laid from June until the end of August. Their eggs hatch after 61 days. Many reptiles become active after raising their body temperature by sunbathing. The body of the El Hierro Giant Lizard can be as hot as 40 degrees Celsius after sunbathing.

The number of El Hierro Giant Lizards has dropped because of a scarcity in food plants and an increase in attacks by seagulls and other animals. Although the extent of human-induced changes to the ecosystem is unknown, with so few El Hierro Giant Lizards in existence, any further human-induced changes to their environment could cause them to go extinct in a flash. To avoid this tragic scenario, Spain has enlisted the entire country to help protect the El Hierro Giant Lizard.