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Monday, May 7, 2012

Finally...a reptile!

While preparing a garden bed in Sebastopol this past weekend, Eric happened upon an interesting resident.


Northern Alligator Lizard (Elgaria coerulea)


This is one of two species of lizards that have been documented on Bodega Head.

Note the olive, brown, and black coloration and the triangular-shaped head.


The eyes are brown (rather than yellow as in the Southern Alligator Lizard).


Northern Alligator Lizards occur as far north as British Columbia, farther north than any other species of lizard on the West Coast.  

They live in forested habitats, but on Bodega Head I probably see them most often around shrubs in the dunes, and sometimes in the grassland...especially in nice sunny spots.

The prey of Northern Alligator Lizards includes insects, spiders, ticks, centipedes, millipedes, slugs, snails, and worms.  They give birth to live young (between 2-15, often 6-7) in the summer and fall.


1 comment:

Claudia said...

Oooooo. Look at his/her stumpy tail. The original tail was 2-3 times that long. This regenerated tail should get a little longer but will never reach the length of the glorious original.

So many cool things about alligator lizards. One of the lowest preferred body temperatures among our North American lizards. And, the fact that has always fascinated me - that the two alligator lizards are so similar in appearance, but the northern alligator lizard is live-bearing and southern is egg-laying.