Saturday, February 09, 2008

Lizard Life


How've ya been, lady? Have ya seen ladybugs lately?

Unseasonably warm, sunny days during the winter months revive lizards that live with us. When the western sun bakes the brick on the front of the house, they yawn, stretch, and venture out from beneath their bedding for a tanning session. I was delighted to see him yesterday!

A Ground Skink made an appearance in the garage a few weeks ago. It couldn't have been more than two and a half inches long.

I spent most of my life as a city girl up north and never saw lizards in the wild until I visited my daughter at the University of NC at Wilmington eight years ago. Since then, and moving to Charlotte a couple of years ago, I can’t keep my eyes off them.

Skinks and Eastern Fence Lizards spend their days on the south and west side of the house. Oodles of them. Harmless little reptiles that gobble up the bugs. If one of them mistakenly sped up my pants leg, I might feel differently about them.

Here are a few photos I’ve taken since last spring. It’s a pleasure to photograph lizards because they pose for minutes at a time for easy photo shoots, unlike the birds and dogs. My IDs might be incorrect but I’m giving it a try. (Click to enlarge the photos. See the gleam in their eyes.)

Eastern Fence Lizard, male. The most common type here.


Five-lined Skink. Small and plentiful. Love that bright blue tail.


A male Eastern Fence Lizard, raising himself to show his blue metallic underside. He's very cooperative for the camera.


I remember taking this photo. Flat on my driveway, nose-to-nose with him. Was he smiling at me? I had just given him a drink of water. It was probably 103 degrees in July.


Might be a Southeastern Five-lined Skink, one of the largest lizards here at about eight inches in length.

She's rough looking! The female Eastern Fence lizard, grey in color as opposed to the brown male.


She's looks marvelous here. It's one of my favorite photos.


Here's a sweet memory of warm breezes by the pond. Ahhh. Spring. It’s coming.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

I love this post Mary. I just love lizards and rarely get to see them. One of the skinks with the blue tail is what lived around the house where I used to live. I think it was all black tho.

One of my best vacations was when we went to TX and it was so hot that the lizards that lived there were out and about. There were some awesome looking lizards there. I couldn't get very good pictures becasue they were running around so much and very wary.

Alyssa said...

Mary, you are so lucky to have such interesting creatures right out your back door!! They don't seem frightened of you at all. Those are amazing pictures. I love that little glint in her eye!!

Can't wait for spring - we had another snowstorm and now below zero temps!! Ugh - it's starting to drive me crazy...

nina at Nature Remains. said...

Mary--you DO like reptiles!
And lizards are something we rarely see here, except in the city parks, where they love to bask on the stone walls.

So glad you shared these! :-)
(I like the eyes on that female--she almost looks chameleon-like)

Carol Michel said...

No reptiles where I live. I do see toads now and then. Love the toads. Love the picture of the dragonfly. Yep, soon it will be spring, then summer.

(I filled my bird feeders today)

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

JeanMac said...

Do they ever try to get in the house? maybe I'll opt for snow!

Susan Gets Native said...

Whoa. That is some awesome photography.
I would LOVE to get lizards around here. But for all I know, they might be here and I just never see them. I kinda doubt it, though. I poke my nose into every nook and cranny in the yard.
Lucky Mary!
BTW: My camera is with me, and I haven't decided who to maim yet.

beckie said...

Mary, What great pics. When we are in Florida(not for a while now!) I can sit and watch them for hours. Of course most of the ones I saw were only about 2" long. I loved the dragonfly. They are such a special gift from God.

kate said...

I rarely ever see lizards here - although my first experience was at girl guide camp. We had lizards in our sleeping bags - I thought they were the cutest things, but most of the girls at camp were totally freaked out. It became my job to rid our tents each night of lizards. I almost talked my parents into letting me bring one home. No way though.

Your post brought back that memory. Funny how I hadn't thought of this for years and years. I especially like the lizard with the blue metallic tummy. What a sweetie.

The Quacks of Life said...

you may like to know that David Attenborough has a new serie about Lizards and the like "Life in cold blood".

Spring definitely coming. was gorgeous yesterday bright blue skies and positively balmy for early Feb!

Marvin said...

Love the lizard photos, Mary. It looks as if you and I have about the same selection of lizards. I've never had much luck getting the skinks to hold still long enough to photograph. Good work!

Beth said...

I love the lizards! What a great post. Until I was 35 I lived in the south and didn't think twice about lizards--they were just part of the landscape--now that I have been 13 years in northern Maine, I realize what wonderful little creatures they were. I haven't seen one in years--thanks!

Q said...

Dear Mary,
Your Lizards are darling! Wonderful photos, up close and personal. My favorite is the Skink vertical on the brick. I can see immediately how big he is!
It looks warm at your house. Spring is on its way for you.
I am only dreaming of dragonflies and butterflies.
Cold here, 11 degrees when I got up this morning.

Larry said...

Great collection of lizard photos!Some of them remind me of people I know.

Jayne said...

I have lots of the blue tailed skinks here too... love them!

NatureWoman said...

Thanks for sharing your lizards Mary! Spring is coming, yay!!

Cheryl said...

How totally jealous am I, I love lizards and yours are so colourful. We do get lizards here occasionally, but only in really hot summers. Dragonflies and damselflies we get in abundance.
Lovely blog Mary

TR Ryan said...

Oh Oh Oh Mary these photos are a marvel. That first one is prize-winning - look at all the detail of the eye - amazing.

You are lucky to see lizards. We don't see so many around here for the simple reason that most everyone uses ant poisons and ant traps - and all the other lawn and garden poisons that are a leading cause of lizard disappearance.

When I was growing up you could catch a "Horny Toad" (horned lizard) at any post-winter outing. Now they are gone, gone gone from here -- largely due to ant poisons and pesticides.

I am hoping with the ever-increasing popularity of organic gardening the lizard population will rebound.

Anonymous said...

Mary - WOW those are all such amazing photos and I just love all the detail in each little lizard! Also, wonderful seeing the dragonfly with great reminders that spring will be here soon!

Anonymous said...

Me again! Hey just saw a commercial on tv (for water) that I think had all your lizards dancing together! You might want to watch out for them!

RuthieJ said...

Cool lizard photos, Mare! I don't think we have lizards like that here in Minnesota (at least I've never seen one). We used to find salamanders when we were little kids, but I haven't seen any of them for years either.

Anonymous said...

Oh Mary, that shot of the Eastern Fence Lizard is gorgeous - he looks like he's got a rhinestone vest. Did you tell him he's famous now? That must have put that smile on his face.

Sherry said...

Interesting post, Mary. We have all those types of lizards here too, with the blue-tailed skinks being the most common in my yard. Your photos are amazing!

Nora said...

Woooo it is like a chat room here at Mary's View, lots of chatter and comments...leaping lizards Mary, those a great shots...we don't have lizards here ...anyway how do you get them to pose and talk to you??? My nature subjects don't have any sense of humor when they talk to me!!! (they run)

Donna said...

Great pictures Mary, but all those reptiles freak me out! I'm glad we don't have them at our house. Love the dragonfly.

Susan said...

I like the lizards, too. Toss them a mealworm - they love them!

Kerri Farley said...

Oh Mary....your lizards are absolutely gorgeous! Nice dragonfly too! All my life I have been scared of bugs and bees and lizards....that is up until last summer. Now I am on the "lookout" for anything I can find like this....I even took some spider pics last year...which is quite a feat...I am STILL VERY SCARED of Spiders!