The Usual Suspects

Posted: October 24, 2010 in family and friends, favorites, nature, texas
Tags: , , , , , ,

Common House Gecko – (Hemidactylus frentatus) Originally from Asia, these geckos spread globally by ships and then adapted to the climates of South America and the southern parts of N. America, 3 to 6 inches in length, nocturnally feeding around areas of easy prey; such as areas with an abundance of bugs due to lights on buildings and houses, translucent beige spotted bodies with striping on the tail help them camouflage to brick and siding, large circular pads on their feet help them to cling to walls and even ceilings… We have lots of these little cuties on our house. Over the spring and summer months we would watch a group (of up to four) feed on our bathroom window when the moths and flies would drone to the light at night. I’ve photographed many House Geckos, but I’ve only held two (not counting all the geckos I cared for at Planet Pet). The first was a small adolescent that had probably been in the house for days without a substantial source of food… I cornered him and took him outside. The second was an adult that I spotted outside on the brick just before a summer storm… I still can’t believe I caught him! All he had to do was climb out of reach… but he didn’t. He just kept circling the same column until I was able to gently grasp him in my hand and pluck him from the wall.  After a few pictures, I finally let him go and he did not hesitate to run out of my reach this time. As I watched him go, I felt like he had shared something special with me.  I love Geckos… they seem so gentle and soft, fragile almost.  Geckos will easily drop their tail if they are threatened… I learned my lesson with a Giant Day Gecko at the pet store.  I felt horrible.  Sometimes they recover and heal without any problems, and sometimes they don’t survive it.  The tail regenerates, but is never the same.
  
Texas Spiny Lizard –
(Sceloporus olivaceus) 7 to 11 inches in length, usually grey to beige in color with some black spotting or stripes, males usually have blue patches on the sides of their belly, long toes with sharp claws for climbing bark and rough terrain, sometimes mistaken for Horned Lizards because of their spiny appearance.

The Spinies I’ve seen on nature walks and in my garden are VERY fast. I’ve only caught a few because of their ability to climb out of range in a split second… and they tend to be shy, staying in brushy, safe areas. I will say that I run into these guys more after a rain. They seem to love basking in the sun with the added humidity. Their natural habitat is in areas with mesquite trees. When challenging each other for territory, the males will have push up contests… until one gives up and runs away. Predators of these little guys include: Roadrunners, snakes, raptors, coyotes and foxes.

The first lizard that Riley ever held was a Spiny… it ran up his arm, then his back, and onto his head.  My cousin found one laying a clutch of eggs in a hole dug out of her rocky garden ledge.  I was thrilled when I finally spotted this female in my garden!  She’s SO shy… she won’t let me anywhere near her.  Especially after I tried to catch her by my Star Jasmine one day. Ha!      

  

 
Green Anole – (Anolis carolinensis) 6 to 8 inches in length, found in warm humid climates in North and South America, long slender tails and toes, ability to camouflage in ranges of color from green to grayish brown… but healthy, non-threatened adults are usually bright green, males have a large pink flap of skin called a dewlap under their jaw that they aggressively display during courtship or territory disputes… raising their head up and down and sometimes appearing to shake it back and forth. I usually find these guys in houseplants, green vegetation, or more tropical areas. These are pretty easy to catch… aside from the booger that I chased around at my cousins for a half-hour.  Anoles seem to be the ballsiest of the three, and after the initial shock of being captured they will hang out for a while.
  

I’ve never been bitten by a wild lizard, only lizards bred in captivity… and then, only twice. Seems like I should move on to snakes, since I’ve caught all of the usual lizard suspects in our area. I still hope to eventually spot a true Horned Lizard in the wild. (Phrynosoma cornutum), also known as the Horny Toad. Fun fact: they squirt a stream of blood, mixed with a foul smelling secretion out of their eye… into the eyes and nose of their predators, to keep from being lunch. Pretty darn cool.

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Comments
  1. Jamie says:

    I have a green anole living in my front porch pot right now, so every time I have to water i make sure and russtle up the plant so he crawls out! We have a million and one geckos at our house and caught a baby one in Dylan’s room. I had a veiled cameleon as a pet oh about a decade ago and had to feed it crickets. Not sure if I could do that nowadays, but love me some little lizards 🙂

    Love the new blog look!

  2. Sara says:

    Thanks lady! How cool is it that you had a vieled chameleon!? My mom would never let me own reptiles (or Peter!) I used to LOVE feeding the chameleons… We would hold the crickets out to see how far they could flick their tongues. I do NOT miss “cupping” crickets… talk about STANK!

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