Up to 1974, there was the thought that the lizard was extinguished until a shepherd discovered specimens in La Fuga de la Gorreta.

lagarto gigante

Through a reintroduction plan there have been some of these released in a controlled environment in the same places where they were thought to exist. By means of a guided visit one can get to know the responsible team for this Plan, and see the specimens that live in the centre.  In this Centre of Reproduction and Breeding in Captivity begins the life of the giant lizard of El Hierro. Here they are born, they grow up and later they are freed in its natural habitat. Located on the base of the Risco de Tibataje, in the Valley of El Golfo. In the centre there is a plan of recovery of this specie for its later reintroduction in those places where fossils have been found.  

In May of 1995 the new recovery centre was inaugurated in La Frontera. It is known as “the Lagartario” and is located Fuga de Gorreta. It is constituted, amongst other dependencies, by laboratories and several terrariums. In addition to being crucial for the successful reproduction of the specie, it is a very recommended place to visit since they carry out a great educative and environmental work that is of incalculable value for its conservation. 

The Giant Lizard of El Hierro is quite robust, of blackish brown colour, displaying two lateral series of lemon yellow colours that intensify in the reproductive period. The adults do not surpass the 60 centimetres of length overall, sometimes reaching the 400 grams of weight. It is probable that in the natural habitat, some samples can reach a greater length (up to 75 centimetres), although this is still is not confirmed. The males have bigger heads than the females, the base of the tail much thicker and reaching bigger statures. The Bimbaches, old natives of the island of El Hierro, were unequivocal witnesses of the existence of the great lizards that were developed fundamentally in volcanic parts of the island.

They may have even used it at some point as food source. The first news about the Giant Lizard of El Hierro, probably comes from the old chronicles of Rey Juba II, that date from II century B.C.; collections by Plinio in its Natural History, where it is spoken of an island, Capraria, full of great lizards, although it is not for certain it is this particular island.  

It is not only for being one of the most important centres of El Hierro that the visit to the Lagartario is obligatory, but because doing so would help the conservation of what is considered the most threatened specie of Europe.

Ctra.Gral. Las Puntas s/n. Frontera.

Information and reservations: 922 555 056.

Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday 10.00 till 14.00 and 16.00 till 18.00.

Sundays: 11.00 till 14.00