Wall lizard project - Birdbrook colony

Birdbrook
(London)

 

Closest Town:

MOTTINGHAM (1.5 km)

 

Introduction date:

1972

Site Name:

Birdbrook

 

Source of introduction:

Bought from the pet trade (Well Hall pet stores)

Site Access:

Private

 

Colony Status:

Extant

Relative population estimate:

76

 

Extirpation date:

N/a

 
History:

An initial introduction of around half a dozen escapees from an outdoor vivarium in 1972 initiated this colony. A second wave of escapees, numbering in excess of a dozen animals, around 1977, reinforced the first group. All animals were of the green-backed form and bought from the local Well Hall pet shop.

This colony thrived on disused MoD land adjacent to the Rochester Way main trunk road. At its peak, the colony may have exceeded one thousand individuals. Unfortunately, this MoD land was developed into a housing estate, resulting in the death of many lizards, and displaced the survivors to the fringes of their original distribution. The new housing estate also introduced greater numbers of pet cats, which presumably increased predation on these hard-pressed animals.

Against all odds, the colony still exists and numbers perhaps a hundred individuals. The current distribution comprises the old MoD depot at Kidbrooke, now used as the National Maritime Museum reserve depot, and the small Birdbrook nature reserve.

Birdbrook is a very small reserve, comprising of meduim-height scrub, four ponds, bramble thickets and a few courses of brickwork from a demolished house. The reserve is managed by the London Wildlife Trust, and is extremely secure - no public access unless by prior appointment.

 
Ecological impact:

Not assessed

 
Habitat:

Partially burried and overgrown military foundations. Some grass covered rubble banks, backed by delapidated and fenced off storage buildings. Site backs onto a row of residential gardens, with a railway line in close proximity, which appears to be unused by the animals.

 
Morphology:

Green-backed form, probably of Italian origin. Not known to have mixed with various UK captive stock from other colonies.

Morph at Birdbrook
Morph at Birdbrook
Morph at Birdbrook
Morph at Birdbrook
 
Location: