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Northern Fence Lizard

From Ohio History Central

The fence lizard (Sceloporus undulatus hyacinthinus) belongs to the group of spiny lizards. Lizards have rough, dry scaly skin and claws. It is not, however, the only lizard in Ohio. There are also three species of skinks in the state. Lizards are very close to snakes except they have four legs, external ear openings and moveable eyelids.

The males have a dark blue band, with a black border, on their throat and each side of their stomach. Females have a more distinctive color pattern on their back than males. Adults reach a body length of 3.5 to 7.5 inches. Fence lizards breed between April and September, with females laying 3 to 13 eggs during this period.

Found more in southern and east central Ohio, the typical fence lizard habitat is dry, wooded hillsides.

They are very swift. When alarmed, the lizard will run up the side of a tree and remain still. If a pursuer continues, it will try to always stay on the opposite side of the tree trunk.

The fence lizard is diurnal and beneficial to humans because of the insects they eat, especially beetles. They also eat spiders, centipedes and snails.

See Also