Posts Tagged ‘nature lover’

logan lizard

And what a lover he is. I mean really. How precious is this? It is not just because I am his gam′e, well maybe it is and every grandma feels the same way but all I know is I am in love. My grand babies call me gammy. One day when Logan was just learning to read and write words he wrote me a little note and addressed it To GAME. He sounded it out and that’s what gammy sounded-out looks like. Of course it is. I’m GAME. I didn’t ever want to lose this spelling so I said,  “Let’s just add a little apostrophe after the M and that makes it GAM’E forever. Now Kaia girl, Logan’s sister, always asks me what my favorite color is so she can write notes in blue crayon To GAM’E  with an apostrophe after the M. They all go on my refrigerator, of course. Kaia’s 4. Logan’s  6 3/4 and I am in love. And that is not what this blog is about but I just had to share this little piece of heaven with you all. Back to the picture of Logan holding a baby lizard.

Logan was out in the garden doing his usual recon work and came across this baby fence lizard. Dad took a picture and sent it to me.  Well, I had all kinds of questions. How old was it? Do lizards have live births or hatch from eggs? How long is gestation? How many ‘litters” do they have each year? And of course one thing ALWAYS leads to another so that is how we ended up on Lyme disease. You will understand how we got there. But first, lets start at the beginning. This is what we found out about the lizard and in particular the blue belly western fence lizard and to be exact Sceloporus occidentalis.

Habitat: Rocks and fences

Food: Insects, spiders, centipedes, and snails.

Favorite food:

To assure species success the female will have two to three clutches per breeding season. She will expend more energy in the present season in case of her death before the next. Her first clutch will have the largest egg size and the final the smallest. To compensate for the difference in egg size the female will expend more energy on the care of the last clutch than the first, to maximize offspring survival (Angilletta,2001). Once the eggs are laid they can range in size from six to fourteen millimeters, she buries them under shallow moderately moist soil (Angilletta,2001). If consistent with similar species of reptiles the female will bury and care for the eggs without assistance from the male. The eggs usually hatch after two months in late April to June or July. Clutch sizes can range from three to seventeen and appear to increase with higher latitudes; larger females typically have more offspring (Schwenkmeyer,2001). After a couple of months the infants emerge at around twenty six millimeters in snout-vent length. Most of their growth will occur during their first year of life.  Life expectancy is 4 years if they die of natural causes.  High mortality rate due to predators and most only live to one year.  If they lose their tail in a get away it can take from 3 months and up to 2 years for the tail to grow back.  A new tail does not have the same markings as the original.  The pattern is muted but still does the job of releasing in an emergency.


Plateau lizards (commonly called fence lizards) are quick little lizards that are usually found sunning themselves on logs or rocks. They will run up a tree to escape predators, and the color of their scales helps camouflage them. Fence lizards, as all reptiles, are cold-blooded, which means that they have no internal heat regulator as mammals do. Therefore, they will find warm places to sit in the sun, such as fence posts, trees, logs, and rocks. This helps keep their body temperature warm.

underside of Male

underside of Male

You will often see fence lizards in these places. When you catch a fence lizard, turn it over and look at its belly. If it has two metallic blue stripes, it is probably a male.


If it has blue spots, it may be a female.  Eeks,  Where did that spider come from?

underside of Female

underside of Female


Fence lizards do bite if they feel irritated. However, their bite is usually no more than a pinch. If you do catch a fence lizard, be nice to it. Do not make it bite your ear or do other stupid things with it. It is always a good idea to let it go where you found it when you’re done holding it. They are territorial.  Both the male and female establish their own territory with the male taking a little larger area than the female.
Source: www.benjaminbruce.com/herpetarium/fieldguide.pdf

western fence lizard

Full grown fence lizard

It is thought that the presence of western fence lizards diminishes the danger of transmission of Lyme disease by ticks. The incidence of Lyme disease is lower in areas where the lizards occur, and it has been found that when ticks carrying Lyme disease feed on these lizards (which they commonly do, especially around their ears), the bacteria that cause the disease are killed.Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_fence_lizard

A must read on Lyme disease for every parent http://www.lymedisease.org/. This site was started by a woman who was misdiagnosed for over 10 years.  It has been an unbelievably difficult time and her health was unnecessarily comprised because she was not properly diagnosed with Lyme disease. “The ticks that carry Lyme disease have been found in all but two counties in California. Infected ticks have been found in 42 of 58 counties. Studies have not been conducted in all areas.” There is a map of California showing the affected areas. This site is a labor of love by a group that is devoted and dedicated to the prevention of Lyme disease,preventing misdiagnoses, and proper treatment.  There is information here that every school and doctor’s office should have on hand. It is astounding how misinformed and simply uninformed our medical community is on this subject.  It is a must read.  You will want to make copies and get the word out.


Nymph the size of a poppy seed

This picture is from the Lyme disease site.


It is a amazing isn’t it where a simple little question can lead you?  I don’t know who said, “There really are no stupid questions only stupid answers.”  Kids always ask the best questions.  Logan asked me the other day, Gam’e what did you look like before you were old?  I can’t remember what I said but I am sure it was something stupid.

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