This Western Fence Lizard and I surprised one another. It didn’t expect me and I didn’t expect it. We had a brief moment of getting to know one another, sort of like speed dating, before it decided this relationship wouldn’t work, and it dove into a nearby squirrel hole. But just to show it wasn’t mad it leaned on the rim of the hole and looked up at me with what may have been a smile — very hard to tell herp facial expressions. This one is probably a female, if the pale coloring of its throat and upper chest is any indication; males usually have bright blue undersides.
I’ve previously written about this lizard’s medical importance in neutralizing the Lyme disease vector that ticks carry. You can look that up here. This lizard is one of only three reptiles found in the park so far; the others are the Gopher Snake and the California Slender Salamander. If you find another, please send it in.