Elgaria multicarinata, Southern Alligator Lizard

This fellow girl wound himself herself in a circle trying to warm up on a cool morning.  Some additional googling leads me to believe this is a female.  Males have more triangular heads.
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She was right in the path of the car, so we slid a post card underneath her to carefully move her out of danger.  As she warmed up in the morning sunshine, she slowly unwound.  Look at the fierceness of her gaze!
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Elgarias will detach their tail as a distraction if they are threatened by a predator, and then grow a new but shorter replacement tail.  The detached tail will wiggle for several minutes, allowing the lizard to escape.  This girl was too cold to do anything except wait and hope.  What a beautiful "S" curve her back creates.
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Warmed up, unharmed, and apparently tired of being photographed, she scampered away.  
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Lizards are hearty eaters of bad bugs.  Lizards are good. 

Comments

  1. Beautiful! Number one wish for my garden is lizards. They're just not that common here, although I'm trying to create habitat.

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  2. Very cool - I hear those are found in far SW New Mexico. The first time I heard that name on "Ventura Highway", I thought, "musicians and their rhyming lyrics"! Now I know! I should show our neighborhood roadrunners those on my droid screen...they'll hitch a ride to So Cal in a heart beat for some meatier lizards.

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  3. What is its approximate length, it looks so long from the photo. And for me it looks scary. My nephew when still young found a green lizard with extra long branched fingers. He called me exitedly to see it, and our dog thought he was threatened by the lizard, so it bit the lizard to death. My nephew cannot stop the dog from killing it, so when i arrived he was crying incessantly pitying the dead lizard. I told him the lesson of the incident, next time he will not call me as frantic again, unless he is really in danger! Or unless we don't have a dog.

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  4. @Alan you might have frogs and salamanders in your higher-rainfall climate, they are good too, no?

    @Desert we have the occasional Road Runner nearby, sometimes seen lizard in beak...

    @Andrea they can be 30 cm long. My dogs are too slow to catch them. Sounds like yours is a lot quicker. Your poor nephew, it hope he got over that okay!

    @Greggo, thanks!

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  5. Fantastic photos. We don't really get many lizards in the UK, and those that we do tend to hide away from me. Lovely texture and colours to the skin, you really can see the individual tones rather than just a "brown"!

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  6. Alligator Lizards! I mistake them for snakes sometimes and jump right out of my skin. That's probably okay, because they have a good nip on them that can actually draw blood.

    The little girl next door is a master Alligator Lizard wrangler. She cocks her head and looks at you like you are a world-class idiot if you ask her if she is afraid of being bitten. You just stay away from the sharp end, of course!

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