The Littlest Lizard

Top Photo: Ground skink with regenerated tail. Ground skinks are the smallest lizard found on the museum’s grounds. In fact, they’re the smallest lizard found anywhere in the state (about 3” – 6” of mostly tail). The tail is as long as, or longer than, the body. They have short legs. They tend to wriggle snake-like, more than run, when fleeing. Perhaps more often heard slithering off through the dried leaf liter than seen, they were, until this past year,Read more

Anoles in Trees

Top Photo: Green anoles engaged in mating. The sharp eye of Ranger Dakota spotted the two lizards on the trunk of a small cherry tree outside the door leading from the main museum building to Gateway Park near the bells, drums, metal tubes, wooden sound boards and other music and noise making devices that make up Sound Garden. What he saw were two green anoles (Anolis carolinensis) engaged in mating. I’ve been familiar with green anoles since childhood, though IRead more

The Color of the Name

Top Photo: A green anole shows off its dewlap on fence in Butterfly House Garden. Certain animals are named for their color, or at least the color of a prominent feature of their feathers, scales, or fur. Here’s several local birds and a lizard which meet the criterion. It’s obvious why the green anole is called what it’s called, it’s green. But check out the pink dewlap this lizard sometimes displays as a territorial warning to other male anoles orRead more

What You Might See

Top Photo: Mystery bird in red maple. If you identified the bird in the top photo, you did well. It’s a blue-headed vireo. It was formerly know as solitary vireo, a name which I prefer over blue-headed. It’s not a rare migrant here in the Piedmont, but I haven’t seen one at the museum in several years so I thought it noteworthy. Occasionally they’re seen in the area during December, January, or even February. Fatsia Japonica is in bloom onRead more

Anole

Above: Green anole on rock wall next to rosemary shrub. There’s a fair chance I’ll see a green anole on any given warm winter day. The small lizard will most likely be basking in the sun on a rock wall in the Butterfly House’s garden next to the Cafe, close by a rosemary shrub for easy escape should a predator come by. We’ve been experiencing many warm winter days of late. Temps have even gotten into the 70’s on someRead more

Hunting in Winter

Can you see the bird in the above photo? It’s a red-shouldered hawk. As mentioned in the previous post, Herps (reptiles and amphibians), there’s been lizard, snake, and frog activity lately. This red shoulder is hunting those creatures. It’s also keeping an eye out for any incautious bird, shrew or rodent. Looking high and low, left and right, the hawk keeps a sharp eye on it’s environment for the slightest movement, ready to pounce. After many minutes (at least anRead more