Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Greater Earless Lizard

This weekend, the Texas Mountain Trail, along with three chapters of Texas Master Naturalists (from El Paso, from Midland/Odessa and from the Davis Mtns/Big Bend) worked in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, learning from rangers, hiking the trails and developing a volunteer cadre to help the park during peak visitation times.  Plans are afoot to invite more Texas Master Naturalists to lead interpretive hikes on the park's trails.

When heading back from our hike to Pratt Cabin on the McKittrick Canyon trail, we encountered this Greater Earless Lizard.  We noticed him first because of his color and his quick movement along the trail.   Then he'd stop running away from us, stop, and wait, perched on top of a large rock next to the trail.  And then he'd do pushups!  The movement is thought to signal territory and send a message, "get out of my space."

He repeated this sequence several times and we crept forward, trying to get photographs to share with all of you. We saw him along the trail near the end of our hike, in the rocky arid pathway not too far from the Visitors Center.  

To learn more, here's a great page on the Greater Earless Lizard from Desert USA:  http://www.desertusa.com/animals/greater-earless-lizard.html 

Why do lizards do pushups?  Here's an article by livescience.com:  http://www.livescience.com/32192-why-do-lizards-do-push-ups.html

Head on out to the Guadalupe Mountains' McKittrick Canyon...perhaps you'll see a Greater Earless Lizard yourself!

McKittrick Canyon trail is one of the places marked on the Far West Texas Wildlife Trail, a project of our Texas Mountain Trail along with Texas Parks and Wildlife and our neighboring Texas Pecos Trail.

And the hike is one of our Texas Mountain Trail Heritage Hikes in the Peak Fitness Challenge!

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