Greater London

Nearest TownPlace namePublic access
KidbrookeBirdbrook Nature ReserveYes (fringes)
Introduction date:Person responsible:Extirpation date:
1972Charles SnellExtant

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.


Believed to be extant, photographs of lizards and habitat are required.

The Law:

This accidental release of animals predates any legislation which would consider this to be a criminal act. Charles's actions were entirely lawful.

National Maritime Museum Depot

Habitat at the National Maritime Museum Depot
(Kidbrooke 2007).

National Maritime Museum Depot

Depot, showing new housing Estate in the background.
(Kidbrooke 2007).

Birdbrook reserve

Habitat at Birdbrook nature reserve
(Kidbrooke 2007).

Birdbrook reserve

Birdbrook reserve.
(Kidbrooke 2007).

Kidbrooke distribution map

The distribution of Wall lizards at Kidbrooke.
© Crown copyright.