A Tale Of Two New Lizards

It’s getting crowded under the Volvo…

Last weekend I saw two lizards soaking up photons from the hot driveway, one of which is (I believe) the legendary Doctor Lizardo, and the other a darker, almost jet black lizard with a missing tail, who I was thinking of calling “Stumpy.” Then earlier this week I saw a third lizard out there, a smaller, light tan colored youngster, along with “Stumpy.”

Today was again a busy day for lizardkind on the hot, hot driveway.

I was going out to get the trash cans when I spotted this guy.

I was quite surprised that he didn’t bolt immediately as I retrieved the rolling trash barrels. My path from the street to the back yard gate goes within a couple of feet of him, and when they’re empty and being dragged across the bumps in the lawn and up onto the driveway, they make a LOT of noise.

Be he was cool – then he sat right there while I went back into the house and got my camera. Perhaps he’s been chatting with Doctor Lizardo who is also not an instant bolter.

His tan color is definitely lighter and more brown than almost all of the other lizards in the yard.

His look reminds me of a soldier in a desert camouflage uniform, so I might call him “Khaki.”

On closer examination of the pictures, I can see some bluish stripes of scales along his back. He also has a black patch behind each of his front legs.

Just before sunset, I was confused by this guy. He was out away from the car, not moving, not running away. My first thought was that he was dead, but then I saw the head moving.

I again went back into the house, got the camera, and found him still there when I came back out. Very odd. And he looked…awkward.

In looking back at the pictures from earlier in the week, it all became clear. He’s not just missing part of his tail – he’s missing his feet and part of his legs on his left side. I didn’t see it earlier, but in the pictures from last weekend, so is the second lizard there.

This is “Stumpy.”

His coloration appears much lighter and more brown in this lighting, where in the sun he appeared quite dark and more black. (Do these lizards have the ability to make short-term changes to their coloration? I didn’t think so, but now I wonder.)

He’s not missing just his tail, but also much of his left-side limbs. That’s got to be a serious survival disadvantage.

Yet, if it’s the same lizard I think it is, he’s the guy that’s been out several times over the winter and dashing to hiding through a crack under the garage door when I get too close. I noticed the tail problem but never the missing feet, so I can’t say if the foot issue is recent or I just never noticed it.

He never moved a muscle except to swing his head around to watch me, even though I was starting to get pretty close. In fact, I got so close that I couldn’t focus the telephoto lens. I was down on my knees about three feet away and stumbled when I tried to scoot back a foot or so. The he turned and took off under the car and down the driveway that I lost sight of him immediately.

I hadn’t at that time noticed his feet, but his almost completely motionless state made me think that he was hurt, right up until he took off like a bat out of Hell. Then when I saw the pictures, I was even more amazed that he could move like that with that physical issue.

I won’t call him “Stumpy.” I’ll call him “Warrior,” because he is!

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