Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Basking in the Sun

Sceloporus occidentalis
Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve
Los Angeles County, California
March 20th, 2010

I found this little western fence lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis) basking in the sun during a recent outing to the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve. He was nice enough to sit and pose for a few pictures before scrambling out of sight into the undergrowth. These are one of my favorite native reptiles, and I love to watch them and capture them on film.

Not only are the western fence lizards beautiful to look at and fun to watch, they are beneficial to the ecosystem as well. In areas with a population of western fence lizards, the incidence of Lyme Disease is significantly lower than in areas without these little reptiles. Apparently the lizard's blood contains a protein which kills the spirochete bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi that causes Lyme Disease. 

The Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve is located just North of the 101 Freeway and West of the 405 Freeway. The  225 acre park is home to a wide variety of wildlife including California ground squirrels, cottontails, coyotes, California red-legged frogs, Pacific treefrogs, western fence lizards, side-blotched lizards, and over 200 visiting (migrating) and resident species of birds. There is a path that winds through the reserve with several viewing areas that overlook the lake. When visiting please stay on the path and leave your pets at home. The native scrub land is beautiful, but can also be fragile if not taken care of. 

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