Lizard Love

Western Fence Lizards (Sceloporus occidentalis)

The concrete V-channel that runs through the Red-winged Blackbird nursery on the northwest side has several uses. It’s the Home Depot for blackbird females seeking nest-building materials. It’s the diamond lane expressway for the Black-tailed Jackrabbits that live in the meadows on either side. And it’s a secluded basking spot where cold-blooded creatures like Western Fence Lizards can pick up warmth from the sun-baked stone. Did I mention it’s supposed to provide drainage and that it’s an access route for wildlife photographers?

I’ve seen these useful lizards here several times, but always singly. This time, as I was watching one, a second one arrived. I’m guessing from its slightly smaller size that the new arrival was a female. The two seemed to be in synch, doing pushups together for a few moments. But then the male got inquisitive and spun around to sniff the female in her private parts, with obvious intent. She wasn’t having any, at least not at that moment. When he tried to mount her, she quickly darted forward. But not away; she held up a few feet further on, waiting. He followed, she moved a bit more. And then, dear reader, they vanished under the weedy foliage and I can only speculate what happened next. According to Wikipedia, members of the species mate in the spring and the female lays three clutches of an average 8 eggs each over the summer. They hatch in August.

Western Fence Lizards (Sceloporus occidentalis)

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