Texas Spiny Lizard

Order:  Squamata (scaled reptiles)
Suborder:  Lacertilia (=Sauria) (lizards)
Family:  Iguanidae (iguanid lizards)
Subfamily:  Phrynosomatinae (spiny and horned lizards)
Genus:  Sceloporus (fence and spiny lizards)
Also known as:  swift, fence lizard

Scientific Name:  Sceloporus olivaceus Smith, 1934

Habitat:  A variety of environments, from desert to woodland; often found in brush piles, along fences, and in/around human habitation.

Skelos="leg," porus="pore" (referring to femoral pores on the legs), olivaceus="olive green in color"

Length: This individual is 11 inches total length.
Food:  Insects and arachnids. Texas Spiny Lizard Range

This is a large, solitary, female lizard who lived on my roof in San Antonio under one of the eaves.  I often saw it in this location, though occasionally I saw it on the ground.  I have seen it out sunning itself in February in 45-degree Fahrenheit temperatures!  In May 2002, I pulled into my driveway to find the lizard digging a nest in my flower bed!  It laid its eggs successfully and I caught it later that night for close-up video and measurement.  The picture at right is a shot of the lizard after it had been working on the nest, and was taking a break on the brick exterior of our house.  You can see dirt/mud on its face and claws.

This is a picture of the lizard in its typical basking location on my roof.  In the fall of 2002 I discovered a male Texas spiny lizard on my house, and I've recently (spring 2003) seen both sharing the basking spot.  My friend also found a juvenile in my backyard, so the lizards are apparently thriving around the neighborhood.
Down the road a mile to the east there are numerous spiny lizards living in the trees and ground cover lining the network of farm roads.  Many of them get ran over as they bask in the road!