I was trying to identify the lizard from my post a few days ago, and came across California’s laws regarding the catching of lizards. It falls under fishing regulations, and seemed fun, so I gave it a shot! I drove out to a nearby park that allowed collecting, and learned how to operate a lizard noose. Check out this video to see me in action!A lizard noose is very simple. It’s a long, thin stick with a small noose tied to the end. This noose is lowered over the lizard, and is tightened by pulling back the stick. The lizards aren’t strangled by the noose, but they are immobilized so that you can pick them up without damaging them.
That’s a major risk in catching lizards, and a lesson I learned when I was very young. If you accidentally grab a lizard’s tail, most species will drop their tail. While it grows back, it’s very stressful for the lizard and will never return as large as it was before. Hence the noose, making it easier to handle the animal safely. All the lizards were returned safely, if a bit confused, where I caught them.
These are Western Fence Lizards, specifically the Great Basin subspecies, Sceloporus occidentalis longipes. Locally, it’s called the “bluebelly.”
The males (all of the ones I caught, possibly because they are larger) have two blue patches on their bellies and a blue patch on their throats. They also have yellow patches around their legs, as can be seen in this awkward picture.
I was rewarded for this humiliation…
They are small, so it doesn’t really hurt when they bite. It is, however, nearly impossible to remove them without hurting them once they latch on. You just have to wait for them to let go.
On their backs, these lizards have blue-green iridescent speckles. They are very pretty animals if you can get a close look at them.
~The Homesteading Hippy