Western Fence Lizard

Sceloporus occidentalis
Western Fence Lizard

The Western Fence Lizard is also commonly known as a Blue-Belly because adults have bright, blue sides to their abdomen.  Overall coloration of these lizards varies from grays to black. They can also change their coloring from light to dark to fit their surroundings or to soak up more heat on cold mornings. 

At Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge they are the most commonly seen lizards, partly because they make use of man-made structures where they come into plain view.  They are often seen basking on fences or rocks or along the edge of parking areas and roadways.  On first sight, the Western Fence Lizard is very difficult to distinguish from the Sagebrush Lizard, another Refuge resident, which is less visible because it prefers to be out in the sagebrush.  Lizards are another important piece of the native ecosystem the Refuge was established to protect.


Facts About Western Fence Lizard

Size: up to about 6 inches including the tail

Diet: insects, spiders, and sometimes other small lizards

Habitat: widely ranging from coast to mountains but not in the desert

Range: Southern California, Nevada, and parts of Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Mexico