What is this?

Several weeks ago as I was coming into the house through the back door, something flew across in front of me and landed on the brick fireplace chimney. It startled me and I jumped back. But when I saw what it was then I was really startled – what on earth is this? Shaped like a lizard with a snake-like pattern on its back – I had never seen anything like this, ever!

I was able to slip inside, get my phone, and slip outside again without this lizard-like creature moving. Unlike the common little green lizards that annoy the dogs, this one was about 6-inches long and absolutely beautiful! Rather than getting on the Internet and looking I took the lazy route and posted on social media. I received a fast response from a friend that identified it as a Texas Spiny Lizard.

A little research did reveal that this is probably a juvenile as the adults are 7.5 inches to 11 inches in length, no small lizard! They are shy and insectivorous, eating beetles and other insects which is very beneficial. They can be kept as pets, but require special ultraviolet lighting. I think I prefer to have this one to stay outside eating insects rather than just existing in a terrarium.

I haven’t seen it since, but I have been keeping saucers of water available in both the front and back yard to help all the small critters through the dryness and extreme heat. I haven’t seen any frogs this year, although they may have found another yard without dogs to call home! I also make sure the bird bath is kept full for the birds and the squirrels. These little ones need the water as much as humans do and I’m glad to see them visiting.

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