Saturday, August 03, 2013

A Lizard in the House!

Today, a lizard found me again - this time in the house!

hatchling western fence lizard
This hatchling western fence lizard was in the doorway to my office. Though he is only about two inches long, he looks pretty plump. I'm not sure if he has been eating spiders in the corner of my office or if he just wandered in this morning.

We carefully scooped him up and relocated him to the back yard. In Southern California we don't have any lizards that are dangerous. In fact, this little guy is highly beneficial as an insect predator. We want him around, though not in the house.

What's really amazing is how clearly you can see this little guy's "third eye" or parietal eye. It is the small yellowish dot in the center of the back of its head. This slight depression has light sensitive cells that help lizards protect themselves (it alerts them to shadows passing overhead), its provides seasonal information with the amount of daily sunlight and it is important for stimulating hormones and timing reproduction.

A lizard in the house can be surprising, but it is great to have them as part of our healthy ecosystem. 

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