Medical cautery units as a permanent and non-invasive method of marking lizards

Anna Ekner, Zofia Sajkowska, Krzysztof Dudek, Piotr Tryjanowski


The identification of previously captured individuals is essential for a wide variety of ecological and behavioural studies. A lot of different methods are used for marking lizards, however they have many drawbacks. In presented study we used heat-branding method, using pen-like medical cautery units, previously employed to successfully mark other lizard species and snakes. The technique is permanent, readable and harmless for lizards, as well quick and easy. In 2009 we marked 111 individuals of sand lizard, Lacerta agilis. Next year we caught 88 lizards, 17 of them were re-captured. Among these re-captured lizards, five were caught after 26.8 (± 16.3) days (means in the same year) and 12 after 308.8 (± 64.3) days (means in the next year). Recaptured individuals were still unambiguously recognisable.

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