Phoebe, you asked for it, so here you go: a baby fence lizard. That’s somebody’s knuckle he’s resting on. They grow up to be about six inches long, but they’re already perfectly formed when hatched–albeit only an inch long or so.
I had some of these guys in an aquarium, and one day, out of the blue, Patty cried, “Look! She’s laying eggs!” The biggest female was indeed laying eggs, about two dozen of them. A quick phone call to the reptile house at the Staten Island Zoo gave me the information I needed to take care of the eggs–put ’em in a cookie tin full of sphagnum moss, don’t let it get too damp, and keep it in a quiet, dark place until they hatched. And by Jove, every last one of them hatched, giving me two dozen tiny lizards that looked exactly like adults.
These are among the very few lizards native to New Jersey, which meant I didn’t have to meet any exotic dietary requirements for them or worry too much about temperature variations in my apartment. It was also the only time I ever had any lizard eggs that actually hatched. My European wall lizards laid eggs, but I never knew about it until the eggs had all dried out from being buried in gravel. Someone shoulda told me!