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The tree lizard

Rich Z

Staff member
Yeah, I know, just a fence lizard. But this guy has been hanging out on a particular tree along our driveway for quite a long time, and Connie and I have been talking to him whenever we pass him by. He doesn't move, and doesn't act in the least bit nervous at our nearby presence. But he does keep an eye on us. Perhaps he enjoys our talking to him as much as we enjoy seeing him there. It takes all our willpower to NOT try to pet him on the head and perhaps frighten him away.

Well lately it has been getting chilly out, especially over night, and a few times I had to run over to the garage for something after dark and noticed that this lizard was pretty much in the same area on that tree even late at night. During a rather cool overnight heavy rain, he was STILL hanging out on that tree. Poor thing looked like a drowned rat hanging there on that tree. Right about the time that I thought he might be stuck to some sap on the tree, he did move, but not by very much. Just enough to let me know he wasn't stuck there.




Anyway, for this past Thursday night, the weather forecast was calling for overnight temps to be right around freezing. Actually got down to 27.5 degrees. It was getting late and that lizard was STILL in his favorite spot with his head tucked into the slight depressing made by a crevasse in the bark. Connie and I were worried about him with the cold temps coming, so I just gently picked him off of the tree to carry him to a more protected area. We cover Connie's pineapple plants on cold nights, so we figured this would be perfect for a place to overnight him. He didn't struggle even one bit, and just sort of looked at me like "what are you doing?" He snuggled down against my warm hand as we walked him over to the pineapple patch. I gently put my hand to the ground between the pineapple leaves (spikes!) and had to kind of shoo him off of my hand underneath one of the plants. We then covered over the plants with some sheets and a tarp, and hoped for the best.

So this morning we uncovered the plants once the sun was shining on the tarp, and didn't see a sign of the lizard. We checked again about a half hour later, and he was standing right where I had released him sort of looking up at me. I guess maybe he burrowed underneath the leaves on the ground. So I again just picked him up without any struggle from him and then walked him back over to his favorite tree, where he took to basking in the sunlight most of the day.

Tonight we figured we would have to do the same thing, so towards dusk we went to get him, but he was nowhere to be seen. Supposed to get cold again tonight. Matter of fact it is 32.7 degrees outside right now. I sure do hope he got the hint and burrowed in somewhere to keep warm over the cold night. Guess we will worry about him till we see him again basking on that tree.

We really do like the fence lizard population we have around here, and we tend to worry about any of them when we don't see them for a while. We even built a rockpile out of some old asphalt chunks laying around, and have seen several fence lizards hanging out on cool but sunny days as the dark asphalt warms up from the sun. Sometimes they will share the basking spots with the green anoles that abound here.

Anyway, just a day in the life of old retired folks here in north Florida, enjoying nature of the pleasant variety.
I am happy to report that this lizard was back sunning on his favorite tree today. It got down to 30 degrees last night and he weathered it just fine.