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Helping Wild Backyard Lizards?

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Posted by: lakotasilver at Wed Aug 1 17:36:40 2018  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by lakotasilver ]  
   

Hi there,


I have noticed an increase in lizard presence/activity in my backyard lately. I live in Southern California, so most are San Diego alligator lizards and Great Basin Fence Lizards (predominantly the fence lizards, though). I know these two species well; I had an alligator lizard as a pet briefly when I was a kid in the 80s (caught that guy myself, didn't understand at the time it's bad mojo to make wild critters into pets, ended up releasing it a few weeks later).


I have seen a ton of hatchlings/juveniles in my backyard lately, and have even caught and released several found in my home and garage (I also had green anoles and an iguana as a kid; I love herps and know how to handle them as minimally as possible).


Last night I encountered a tiny, emaciated fence lizard stuck in the track of my sliding glass door (discovered it because my cat was extremely interested in the area and kept going back to sniff the track). I fished it out, put it into a box with plenty of hiding spots, and offered water and meat baby food. I tried warming it up a bit with a heating lamp. It licked up a little of the baby food, but ended up dying during the night.


I think the unusual heat lately is causing unusual behavior and, ultimately, death in hatchling/juvenile lizards in my area - my boyfriend reported that he had found a dead baby lizard in his house over the weekend; it too had looked shriveled and emaciated. We don't usually find lizards inside our houses - it's possible they're seeking a cooler refuge lately.


Is there anything I can do to help out the lizards in my backyard/immediate area? I don't know if So Cal lizards will drink still water (or if their primary moisture source is their prey). I am more than willing to leave shallow water sources in my backyard and change them daily, but I don't know if alligator and fence lizards are attracted to still water. I have plenty of vegetation and "hiding spots" - I do a lot of backyard "mini-farming" and gardening, and there are an abundance of insects around as well.


Also, is meat baby food an acceptable "emergency" food, or is it harmful to herps? I found an overheated, dehydrated adult alligator lizard a couple of weeks ago and offered it meat baby food, which it ate, and it seemed to revitalize it somewhat (enough so that I felt comfortable releasing it into a shady bush). I know it's not an acceptable, nutritionally-appropriate long-term food, but is it okay in a pinch? (I have an elderly, sick cat, so I have a lot of meat baby food around as she enjoys eating it - the only ingredients are meat and water, no chemicals or by-products or even preservatives.)


Any assistance is appreciated. Thank you.


   

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