The Eastern Fence Lizard, Sceloporus undulatus, occupies a large range in the eastern part of the United States, including much of Florida. They are masters of camouflage. If you are paying attention while sauntering around the woods, you will see these lizards basking on the trunks of trees, most notably pine and oak. This one is sitting on the side of turkey oak. They will remain motionless in hopes of going unseen. Only when they are approached closely will they flee.
The mature males have an amazing, bright blue belly, unlike the female’s white belly. Females lay 3-16 eggs in late spring and babies hatch in late summer.
They grow to about 7 inches and feed on small insects. They occupy a variety of habitats over their range but in Florida, they are most often seen in pine forests and scrub habitat.
Here, this mature male shows off his beautiful, metallic blue belly as he suns himself on a cool fall morning.
This guy, relying on his camouflage, allowed me to get quite close to him without so much as him flinching. He lives in a pine, upland forest with a wiregrass understory that sees an occasional fire. In fact, he is perched on the charred remains of a pine tree. The presence of fire is critical for the health of this type of ecosystem as well as the species that depend upon it, such as this fence lizard.
Keep your eyes open for these amazing residents!