Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Coastal BC Animals: Western Alligator Lizard

Western Alligator Lizard

I don't often see lizards around Powell Lake, but on a warm summer day we discovered one along the sandy shore of Chippewa Bay.

Our friend John loves critters, large and small. Looks like the feeling is mutual.

The Reptiles of British Columbia website says there are four varieties of lizard in BC. I had a hard time deciding, but I'm pretty sure this one is a Northwestern Alligator Lizard. The other option was a Western Skink, but this one didn't have a blue tail or white stripes.

Northwestern Alligator Lizards often flee, bite, or lose their tails if threatened. This one was quite docile and even let us pick it up for a posed shot. It then proceeded to climb John's arm to perch on his warm shoulder. Once back on the ground, it posed for a few more shots before heading off into the rocks.


The lizard's diet includes insects and spiders. We have plenty of those. They also thrive in cool, wet climates. We have plenty of those too. Because of their wide choices of habitat, you will find them in forests, grasslands, banks of streams and lakes, and even ocean beaches.


Alligator Lizards hibernate underground in the winter and remain nearby all year long. Females use live birth for 4-6 young in the late summer every other year. It takes that long to recover from the live birth process. Their primary predators are snakes, birds of prey, and even house cats for city cousins.

Summer is basking time, so if you are walking on a sandy beach keep your eyes on the ground. You might find a photogenic Northwester Alligator Lizard posing just for you. -- Margy

16 comments:

  1. What a great post, and I love the photos! I love lizards! :)

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  2. Fascinating, although I'm not too fond of any reptiles.

    Leslie
    abcw team

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  3. I love it! They're small like an Anol.

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    1. I've never heard of an Anole. I looked it up, thanks for the hint. - Margy

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  4. Very cool! Wonderful fun! And watch out for those woodrats!

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    1. They've disappeared for now. Probably won't see another one until late Spring, thank goodness. - Margy

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  5. What a wondrous find, and so friendly too. Blessings!

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    1. When I was a kid I used to love to keep a lizard for a pet for a week. When my dad would take me horseback riding along the riverbed, I would find them in the sand. The next week I would take them back to return to nature. - Margy

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  6. That was a fascinating discovery.

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  7. Something I haven't encountered before and I can't say I'm sorry as I'm not very fond of reptiles and am scared of snakes, so I guess you think I'm a wimp!! I do love the outdoor life though, and do admire you and your husband for all you do and have achieved, Do you ever swim in the lake or is it too cold?
    best regards,
    Di,
    ABCW team.

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    1. We swim in the lake from late June through September. May and October are okay for quick dips for a lake bath. November through April the water is bone chilling and dangerous if you stay in too long. - Maryg

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  8. Hello, I love to spot the lizards. Great find and photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Sunday, enjoy your weekend!

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  9. Cute critter, much better than a full-size alligator!

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  10. cute LITTLE creature

    ROG, ABCW

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  11. Thanks everyone for visiting my critter this week. - Margy

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