Reptiles

There are at least 45 species of land and freshwater reptiles in Spain (the number is under debate). click here for a Checklist of reptiles in Spain and the Canaries (65 species in total)

In comparsion with many other European countries the status of reptiles in Spain is relatively healthly. However, half of Spanish reptiles are to varying degrees threatened. Along with amphibians their numbers have declined mostly in arable and livestock farming areas through habitat loss, leading to numerous and well-documented local extinctions. In contrast, populations in mountainous and heavily forested areas are in better condition, often coincidently backed by some form of protection. Historical deforestation and the more recent use of pesticides since the 1960’s have eliminated reptiles and amphibians directly, and indirectly through loss of prey. Other factors include widespread drainage of wetlands, fall of groundwater levels, rerouting and damming of rivers, the removal of countless mini-water holes, and fire and general desertification. In the case of snakes their historical and continual persecution has undoubtedly decimated their number in many areas.

Several species of Spanish reptiles are considered endangered at a European level (Annex II Habitats Directive):

  • Spur-Thighed Tortoise threatened by fire (BBC)
  • Hermann’s tortoise
  • European pond terrapin
  • Stripe-necked terrapin (endemic)
  • Schreiber’s green lizard (endemic)
  • Pyrenean rock lizard (endemic)
  • Iberian rock lizard (endemic)
  • Ibiza wall lizard (endemic)

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Spanish reptile pages

Spanish amphibian pages

The Iberianature guide to Spain

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