August 6, 2021
It's time for the Friday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!
Behold this adorable eastern fence lizard (Sceloporus undulatus)! Given its tiny size, this little guy must have hatched from its egg pretty recently. Including the tail, these lizards can grow to be as much as 7.5 inches long!
The eastern fence lizard is one of the most easily-identifiable lizards in Virginia, and they're also fairly common state-wide. While we have multiple species of skinks (the lizards that have bright blue tails as juveniles and are generally dark in coloration), some of which look extremely similar, there's nothing else in Virginia that really resembles the fence lizard. These lizards can be found in most of the southern half of the U.S.
While they may appear drab, male eastern fence lizards develop brilliant greenish-blue scales on their throats and bellies during the summer. To court females and deter rival males, male fence lizards will do "push-ups" to show off their blue scales (sort of like the annoying guy at the gym).
Eastern fence lizards are mostly found in sparsely wooded areas with plenty of sunlight, and are often seen basking on woodpiles and fence posts. They also seek shelter inside buildings when the weather gets too hot (I found this little guy trying to get into my garage). While this lizard is just a baby, they mature pretty quickly, and it should be able to reproduce next year!
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (www.cbtcares.com).
NATURE PHOTO IDENTIFICATIONS
If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!