Unlocking the Secrets of the Eastern Fence Lizard

If you’ve ever happened upon an eastern fence lizard, you’ll remember it for its intriguing blend of greyish coloring or sometimes deep brown to ink black hue. Nestled in the southern United States extending as far north as New York, these chameleon-like creatures are known for their ability to blend seamlessly into their surroundings. With arboreal tendencies, they look for safety up in the trees, only occasionally venturing to the ground for a quick forage. This remarkable member of the spiny lizard family has always drawn interest for its surprising manner of eluding predators.

The Appearance of the Eastern Fence Lizard

Eastern fence lizard at the Shawnee National Forest
Daniel Schwen, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The eastern Fence lizard isn’t a large creature, measuring at about 7 inches in full length. Their unique rough, scaly skin differentiates them from other lizards. Let’s not forget the striking blue patches that grace the undersides of the males during breeding. These lizards show a special love for mountain homes, finding solace in rotting or fallen trees. With a diet that consists of spiders and various other smaller critters, they have all they need in their high-rise arboreal homes.

The Eastern Fence Lizard as a Pet Preference

Lizard at Douthat State Park camouflaging on wood
Jarek TuszyƄski, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Keeping an eastern fence lizard as a pet is not unheard of. However, it’s advisable to adopt a younger one as they can more easily adapt to you and your habitat. Taking in an older lizard with more exposure to the wild could introduce stress that could potentially harm or even kill it.

The Ideal Enclosure

Adult Western Fence Lizard
Connor Long, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A common misbelief suggests a glass aquarium is the best housing option for these fascinating reptiles. The reality, however, is diametrically opposite. A wire-meshed enclosure ensures proper air circulation, offering the lizard a choice to control their body temperature by moving closer or farther from the heat source. There are a few points to remember in setting up their cages:

  • A secure lid is necessary to prevent the lizard from escaping
  • The enclosure must be free from jagged or loose edges that could potentially hurt them

Feeding and Healthcare

A juvenile western fence lizard
BaleWhale, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Predominantly hunting live insects in the wild, the eastern fence lizard should be fed live insects from your local pet store a few times a week. However, a trip to the store every week can be quite taxing, and keeping a small insect enclosure can be an efficient alternative. Equally important is the lizard’s healthcare. Regular check-ups from a herpetological vet can ensure it stays clear of harmful parasites and viruses.

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