Friday, May 30, 2014

Lizard Quest: Round 2

If you've ever read this blog you may know that I like lizards. If you really love me and actually read this blog, you might remember how I tried to find them in my native homeland of seemingly lizard-less New York state last summer. I never finished the "thrilling conclusion" to that subpar story" to find introduced Italian wall lizards, but long journey to a cemetery in Queens short: I found them. Here is photographic proof:

Wow! Look at that Podarcis sicula in its "natural" habitat.

That's all for this charming lizard for now, but you haven't seen the last of him. I'll make a trip back to the graveyard soon to see if he is still there.

It is cool to see a lizard from Rome all the way out here, but what about the lizards that naturally occur in New York? It turns out there are three native species of lizards here, two of which are within relatively close proximity to me. I planned on committing to a prolonged and arduous expedition that would span the entire summer to find these reptilian gems, but I ended up finding both of them yesterday. So instead of an extensive account here are some pictures that I wished turned out just a little bit sharper. I guess I'll have to go back. Oh the horror!

No touching!

First up, we have the eastern fence lizard, or more commonly known as Sceloporus undulatus. It's a widespread lizard found throughout most of the United States, but there are five disjunct populations at its most northernmost range in New York where it is threatened. This means I cannot collect every last one and start my own lizard zoo. Darn.

How babby is formed.

I only managed to find four of them, including two large gravid females ripe with eggs and a single cute juvenile that was probably one of last year's babies.

Babby lizard
So cute! 

While my appetite was satiated with a single species of lizard, I managed to find a bunch of male five-lined skinks as well. Males develop reddish heads during the breeding season because they are so angry and fight each other, and apparently ladies might find the color red attractive. But not a single lady skink was in sight. I would guess that the females are all being good mothers, but I'll save my breath and let this popular nature man explain it to you more eloquently.

So skinky!
Plestiodon fasciatus, because I know people read this blog mainly for scientific names. 

Before leaving I was outwitted by a juvenile skink with its pretty blue tail, but I have no picture to show you, so who knows if it really happened. I also encountered a milk snake, but alas no pictures. Looks like I'll have to go back.

We have to go back

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