Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lizard Gizzard.

Wow, I had no idea there were any lizards in New York State, but today while hiking I saw a flash of electric blue in the leaf litter, and then a little lizard scurried out of sight! He was a gorgeous creature. He was too quick for us to get a shot, so I'm borrowing the above image from Wikipedia.

I was pretty sure this little thing was called a blue-tailed skink--that rang a bell from my childhood interest in lizards. So when we got home, I did a little research, and learned that the blue-tailed skink is not the name of the species, but rather of the juvenile form of the Five Tailed Skink, Eumeces fasciatus. When this fellow grows up, he'll be about 8 inches long, will have less distinct stripes, and the male will have a reddish-coral head. That shocking blue tail will fade to a silvery grey color.

These skinks eat insects, spiders and slugs, and like to hide in the rocks and leaves on the forest floor. Both juvenile and adult Five Lined Skinks will lose their tails if they are grabbed by predators, and the tail will thrash around on the ground to divert the other animal's attention. They will also bite if provoked, but are really pretty harmless. They are one of four lizards that live in New York State, and the only lizard that lives up in New England! They are considered threatened in some states, but not in New York. And they are extremely cute.

Also, one of the reasons we were out today was because I was shooting a new video in between thunderstorms (at one point we had to hide under a huge boulder to escape a downpour). Eric posted a shot of my performance on his blog. More about this later.

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