Thursday, May 28, 2009

Love Those Lizards!

It's lizard time again. I hear them scamper about everywhere I walk. We have so many lizards on this land, and they're not particularly shy of me, though I wish they were considering I usually have two large dogs by my side.

We have a type of lizard that has pastel green stripes with pink shading near its tail. They live in the gardens around the house. They can usually be found near the ponds. There are two large ones that walk around the house in a complete circle, twice a day, searching for bugs. Their heads jerk from side to side as they stroll along. Sometimes I will stand very still with my shovel in my hand just waiting for them to pass. They don't seem to notice me, or perhaps they don't perceive me as a threat. They will walk within a few inches of my shoes, their heads moving from side to side seeking bugs. I wish I knew the name of these lizards because they really are cool.

We also have many Texas Spiny Lizards. In fact, I recently rescued a baby Texas Spiny that had fallen into the pond when it was getting a drink. There is an exceptionally large one that lives in the tree right above the garter snake's hole. The Texas Spiny Lizards generally prefer mesquite trees, and we have plenty of that around here. They also like to hide in dried leaves. I often hear them before I see them when I'm walking the dogs. They eat the types of bugs that eat my vegetables and flowers, so I like seeing these lizards around! They have a funny little dance they do when one male sees another male. I call it the push up dance. They bounce up and down on their front legs like they're doing push ups until one of the males backs down and walks away.

Last year, when I was planting in a garden, I accidentally dug up a nest of lizard eggs. I didn't break any eggs, but I was concerned that I had damaged them somehow. I carefully re-buried them beneath the shrub where I found them and kept a close eye on the area. Then one day when I was working in the area I noticed a broken shell. I moved the mulch aside and found some more. I didn't see any dig marks or other signs of predators in the area so I hoped the babies all survived. It was less than a day before I got my answer. For the next few weeks I found baby lizards all over the plants in that area.

There is a large grouping of hundred year plants, which is a type of agave, just outside our garage door. We always see lizards on these plants, mostly the small, green anoles, so when we water, my husband and I often send a spray across the tops of the plants. The lizards soon emerge, pausing at each drop for a quick drink. The anoles are fun to watch because, like chameleons, their skin changes color according to what they stand on. They also change color if their mood changes. There are green anoles and brown anoles, and they live together in an interesting way. If they are sharing a tree, then the brown anole stays closer to the ground and the green anole will stay higher up in the tree. The anoles that live in this particular section of plants are all green. They are all territorial, though. I just read an interesting article about their territories, too. They choose their territories the same way some people buy houses. They always make sure they have a high lookout; a sunny, basking area; a shaded area for when it gets too hot and a secret hiding place for protection from predators. It seems even lizards look for a room with a view!

No comments: