I was lucky enough to spot an unusual animal in my back yard this evening, here's a photo...
I live in the UK (Midlands region) and this evening the temperature was about 12 Celcius, dry weather, very mild breeze. It was dark when I was walking across my patio with my flashlight and I realised that it was possibly a lizard. Closer careful inspection paid off.
My garden is far from any streams or ponds, and is situated on top of a hill with excellent drainage.
He/she sat there entirely immobile as I went inside to grab my phone to get photographic evidence. I set my flashlight to low power so as not to dazzle the beast and took this picture. I did not pester it further, I looked out of the window a few minutes later and it had scuttled off.
From nose to tail it was 100 to 120 millimetres (about 4.5") long and seemed to have four digits on each foot. Its eyes were reflective to the light from my flashlight and phone.
I'd like to know what species this is and if possible, whether it's a male or female. I'd also like to know if there is anything I can do to encourage such animals to make a home in my garden.
(This is the same picture that has been made a little lighter, in case that helps with the identification. No other modifications have been made.)