Thursday, June 9, 2011
The Fence Lizards of Laurel Lane
They're back -- the tiny dinosaurs. And wouldn't you know, when I returned from my trip to Joshua Tree, even as I stepped though the front gate, there he was, Huey! sitting on his favorite rock (honest.) And he was, of course, thrilled to hear that he'd been named "Fence Lizard of the Year"(see post of 1/6/11.) He looked up at me with bright eyes and cocked his head as if to say, "Gee thanks; that's rad! And so, now -- gimme a meal worm!"
One way to tell the lizzies apart is by their tails. They tend to loose them, or parts of them, to predators, and the regrowth is different than their normal scaly skin: it's smooth and gray. Slinky is a muscular male who darts with force across the rocks. His tail is tipped with a one-inch regrowth. Sometimes, when he's competing with another male for territory, he turns a brilliant shade of blue. Lady Gaga has more highly defined patterns on her back than the others, and her fully regown tail often sticks up at an odd 45-degree angle.
Huey's tail is intact, and he's the only one who jumps off the rocks and waddles down the path to greet me. He often climbs up on my shoe. This is the second year I've been feeding the lizards meal worms, and I'm truly amazed that I'm able to recognize them, and that these same fence lizards have returned.