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Species Description

Eastern Fence Lizard

Sceloporus undulatus


Classification

Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata Suborder: Lacertilia
Family: Phrynosomatidae

Description

A gray or brown colored lizard with irregular black crossbands on the back. The belly and throat are grayish white, except that adult males have bright blue, black-bordered throat and belly patches. Adults range in size from 10 - 18.4 cm (3.9 - 7.2 in) in total length, the head and body maximum (excluding tail) is 86 mm (3.4 in). The scales are strongly keeled, each scale having a prominent spine.

Life Cycle

Breeding occurs during the warm months of April to August. Females may produce from two to three clutches of eggs per year. From 5 - 15 eggs are laid in cavities, from 5 - 15 cm (2 - 5.9 in) deep, excavated by the female in loose soil or sand and old sawdust piles from lumber operations. The eggs hatch in 60 - 80 days.

Natural History

The Fence Lizard is most active in the spring and fall months, but it can be found basking in patches of sunlight on warm winter days. This lizard prefers dry, open forests of pine or hardwoods. It can also be found on rocky outcrops, piles of rock or wood, and in and around abandoned buildings, as long as there is plenty of sunlight and suitable places to bask. The Fence Lizard eats many kinds of insects, spiders, and other invertebrates. Predators of Fence Lizards include Broadhead Skinks, several kinds of snakes, birds, and other small carnivores. The adult male Fence Lizard will defend his territory from other males by engaging an intruder in a series of head bobbing and push-up displays, and will resort to actual combat if all else fails.

Range

Eastern Fence Lizard Region Map The Fence Lizard has a very wide geographic distribution, from Pennsylvania west to Utah and south into north-central Mexico, including all of the southeastern United States. It can be found throughout the state of Georgia.

Conservation Status

Similar Species

Northern Fence Lizard, Sceloporus undulatus hyacinthinus Southern Fence Lizard, Sceloporus undulatus undulatus