Monday, February 15, 2010

legless lizard sighting!

Made this Facebook note on November 12, 2009: "Found a legless lizard in the garden a couple of days ago. It was only about 3" long. We've spotted many of them during our 30+ years here, so I finally did some googling and learned that they eat snails, spiders, and insect eggs. Last summer I found a shed skin that was about 8" long. Generally I'm not fond of reptiles but these are cute and helpful. Hurray for mulching and a mild climate!"

Three months and three days later, another legless lizard (Anniella pulchra) -- maybe 4" long -- appeared in the POOR SOIL area where I'd been removing the dread SAF (Sprenger Asparagus Fern) only a couple of weeks ago. This area was devoid of earthworms when the SAF was being pulled out, but after two weeks of wet-cardboard and dead-leaf treatment it's already starting to turn around.

My project du jour was to add compost under the cardboard I'd spread hastily before our last rainy weekend, then to top it off with more dead leaves. When I peeped under the edge of a soggy Idaho potato box and saw the legless lizard, he seemed to be munching on a slug. After showing this tiny tableau to Steve (a great fan of legless lizards), I threw on a generous dollop of compost and let him (the LL!) get back to his feast.

Tomorrow Steve will sweep up more leaves, and they'll surely include many little treats for our reptilian friend and his burgeoning family. 

P.S. The legless lizards I'm talking about are the CALIFORNIA variety, which are SMALL. They have vestigial legs that wiggle when they walk. Or, maybe, the walking wiggles the legs?Here are two videos where you can barely see the tiny legs (probably less than 1/16" long):

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POSToccupations by Frances Talbott-White is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License