Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Red Car Canyon: When You're Looking For 4-Leaf Clovers, Keep An Eye Out For This Guy!

Photo: Diane Edwardson, March 14, 2015.  A very large (about 15" long, nose to tip of tail) Alligator Lizard startled me in the canyon.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

The lizard ran while moving his body & tail back and forth like an awkward snake through the dry leaves.  Indeed, he was so long, from a distance, he would have looked like a snake speeding through the leaves. Except that snakes don't make that much noise moving through dry leaves. His snake imitation must serve him well, as he has achieved considerable size indeed.  

This guy is most likely a San Diego Alligator Lizard (Elgaria multicarinata webbii).  According to California Herps, they are longest subspecies of Southern Alligator Lizard; 15" - 16" long lizards (nose to tail) are not unusual.

Alligator Lizards will bite to defend themselves.  It's best to look, but not touch.  Happy Saint Patrick's Day!