Friday, October 17, 2008

Lizard Season

No, we don't eat them, but I can't help it, I still enjoy catching lizards and we are just entering the prime lizard catching season here at Camp Ramshackle. Lizard activity is highest during the hot months of July, August and September, but the lizards are much too fast to catch then. It's this time of year, when the nights and mornings are a little cooler, that, before they warm all the way up, an old guy like me can catch a blue-belly or two and feel a quiet sense of awe in holding something wild. Awe and at the same time comfort in the fact that I am not doing any damage in my indulgence (at least not much damage, providing I don't accidentally pluck off a tail.)

Pictured above is what we called a blue-belly when I was a kid but have identified as a fence lizard through our field guides and online. These range from tan (pictured) to charcoal gray. From my observations, the colors variance appears to break along gender lines in our yard -- males are darker and have more pronounced blue patches on their bellies. This one looks like a pregnant female to me.

Young fence lizards are all over our yard right now but this one is a rarely seen baby Alligator Lizard. We wrote about an adult skink I caught a while back - it was actually an Alligator Lizard. They have sharp teeth and bite! Here are two more I caught while engaged in what appeared to be mortal combat. I thought until recently that these alligator lizards were a type of skink but I was wrong.

We do have skinks here too, although I don't have a picture of one yet. I have also learned that what, when we were kids, we used to call a blue tailed skink is actually a juvenile Western Skink. It has an electric blue tail that fades as it grows older. I have seen them and caught them but have yet to photograph one. Maybe this will be the season.


  1. I am enjoying your blog very much. Curious to see what the skink looks like. Over at we have a few pictures of wildlife we've seen around our place in East Pasadena, including a fierce looking alligator lizard. Keep up the good work!

  2. i cot 15 western fences alot were babies

  3. a lot of love on your first pic :) i grown up with Swifts, blue belly Lizard,they only close there eyes when relaxed. I always wounder when you let them go,why dont just run right away its like there checking you out,i find when you get the same one 2 times with in the year they look at you and just walk in to your hand almost like they know you are not going to heat them. i wish i had video of this.


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