Friday

Hey, It's World Lizard Day!

I couldn't begin to tell you where I learned it, but the male Texas spiny lizard sports iridescent blue scales along the sides of its belly. It's a fact I offer up like a consolation prize when people mistake the long-toed reptiles for the more famous Texas horned lizard. "So sorry, that's not our state reptile," I'll explain, "but you can tell that one's a female because a male would have blue stripes!" 

What can I say? I like lizards. And given that August 14 is World Lizard Day, it's a safe bet that I'm not the only one.

© Nora D. | #inthewildhood


There are 4,600 species of lizard in the world, and over 50 of those are present in the Lone Star State. Some, like the horned lizard and reticulate collared lizard, are considered threatened species. Others are so ubiquitous we barely notice them — three subspecies of prairie lizard, for example, are present in all but a handful of counties.

© Cynthia J. | #inthewildhood

In some cases an invasive species settles in and calls Texas home. The Mediterranean gecko seems ever-present on summer nights, pouncing on flying insects buzzing around porch lights. It presents little competition to native gecko species, however. Conversely, the invasive brown anole crowds out the green anole in areas where they are both found. But, given that the green anole can be any shade from bright green to dark brown, it can all get a little confusing! 


 
© Adrian M. | #inthewildhood

And speaking about confusion, skinks are lizards too. They may seem somehow amphibian with their gracile bodies and glossy skin, but they are neither salamander nor newt. Oh, and the longest native lizard you can find in Texas? It's the slender glass lizard. You may not recognize it as such, though, as it has no legs.

Lizards are fascinating to observe and, given their wide distribution, it's likely you can find one just by stepping outside your front door. But remember, THIS is what our state reptile looks like!





To learn more about native Texas wildlife, subscribe to Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine.  For a limited time enjoy three months of digital access to 600+ articles and our expanded 2020 Summer issue - all for only $1.99!

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