One thing I love about my mountain house is my backyard is full of interesting critters. I think this is a western fence lizard crawling on Dad's hot tub gazebo.
I jumped up and tried to grab it, but it ran into this rabbit brush bush.
Then it ran under Dad's gazebo to the inside and got away. Darn. Since I'm still working on my MzD, I thought I'd better study up on western fence lizards. Here at thirteen cool facts about western fence lizards.
1. This is the Great Basin Fence Lizard, scientific name Sceloporus occidentalis longipes.
2. Western fence lizards are about 8-10 cm long excluding their tail, and about 15 cm long with the tail included.
3. They are brown to black in color (the brown may be sandy or greenish).
4. Adult males have iridescent blue lateral patches on their flanks, and their entire bodies may be flecked with blue. The blue color is much less noticeable in females and juveniles.
5. The blue stomach of the male is used in a territorial display. They are commonly called blue-bellies and the males are often seen displaying to attract females or drive off male intruders; it bobs its head and flattens its sides, showing off the blue patches.
6. The western fence lizard eats insects and spiders.
7. They are commonly seen sunning themselves on paths and rocks. I find them easily in bushes in the rocks. They are easy prey to birds and snakes (and princess meezers).
8. It is thought that the presence of western fence lizards diminishes the danger of transmission of Lyme disease by ticks.
9. They mate in early spring and produce a single clutch of 3-14 eggs, laid May to July, which hatch in July to September. That means the next time I go up, there should be baby lizards to chase!
10. They are found from Idaho south through Nevada and west to the Pacific coast.
11. They occur in rocky and mixed forest areas from sea level to above 9,000' (2,700 m).
12. They adapt to a wide variety of conditions but not to desert and frequents stone fences, fence posts, old buildings (and bushes!!!).
13. They are diurnal (out during the day) and easily encountered and may be observed even in midwinter on mild days.
And I must say, they are a blast to chase! I've had a few in my paws, but they slither away so fast!