July 17, 2010: I was astonished to almost step on a lizard on my front lawn last week. It scurried into the irises, so I ran into the house to get the camera. I managed to get an okay photo, but not a full body shot. It was thin and almost 12 inches in length. The color was yellowish with almost some pink, a really pretty lizard! When I showed the photo to one of the neighbor kids that knows a lot about lizards, he told me he had not seen one around here like it and thought it could be a “Skink.” Well, I mainly just see Northern alligator lizards in the backyard, but never one like this. After some research, I think it is probably female Southern Alligator Lizard (Elgaria multicarinata) due to the shape, yellow eyes, and long tail.
Update Nov. 16, 2010. Two weeks ago, we found another Alligator Lizard, but I am not sure if it is the same species or not. The tail was really long, but coloring and eyes were different. It was much smaller than the first one in the above picture, maybe 1/3 of the size. One of my daughter’s friends noticed it on the chicken coop sun bathing in the afternoon light. I am glad, that despite the fact Gracie, the cat, has been spotted with a lizard in her mouth years ago, lizards are still prevalent and thriving in our yard. I like to see the lizards because it means our yard is a healthy diverse place for wildlife.
More info on California Alligator Lizards can be found here.