Northern Fence Lizardphotos by Jeff Humphries
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|Species Description: This
lizard can attain a total length up to 7 inches (17.8 cm). They are
gray, brown, or tan with a series of dar, wavy crossbands on the back.
Adult males have bright blue patches on their sides and bellies during
the breeding season (see picture above). They are very fast and difficult
to catch. It takes patience and lightning-fast reflexes to catch
one -- or a large rubber band.
Habitat: Fence lizards are usually found on dry, steep, forested hillsides. They are also found around farms and oftentimes bask on the sides of buildings, rock piles, and fences. If you listen carefully you will probably hear fence lizards scurrying around on the trunks of trees or through the dry leaf litter.
Breeding Activity: These lizards mate in late March or early April, just after hibernation. Males defend their territories during the breeding season, performing a show of head-bobbing and push-ups to intimidate other males. Egg laying takes place in May and June in a nest in the soil or within a decayed log. About 6 eggs are laid per clutch and the incubation period is about 45 days. Older females may deposit more than one clutch per season.
Range: Fence lizards are very common in West Virginia, probably occuring in every county. A favorite activity of Marshall University students is to observe fence lizard activity while enjoying a Spicy Chicken Filet at the Huntington Wendy's.
Status: Not listed. Common in the state.