By Request, Fence Lizard

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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!

3 comments on “By Request, Fence Lizard

  1. What amazes me about baby animals is how perfectly formed they are. Tiny little creatures, but their bodies are intricate wonders of nature, perfect in every detail, even when tiny.

    A couple of months ago, I was working in the yard and saw a tiny horned lizard. It was smaller than a penny, and a perfectly formed creature that looked like a triceratops. The details of this tiny creature were amazing, much finer than anything I could ever so much as draw a picture of.

    According to what I’ve read, having a creature grow is a real challenge. In the case of reptiles, their proportions are constant, but in the case of other creatures, they aren’t. Each phase of development is, in essence, an entirely different design. Living creatures have to balance, if the head os too big for the rest of the body it won’t be a viable creature at that stage of development.

    So, at some point in time our Creator had to no only design the various animals, but also had to program into them growth that worked and allowed them to be viable. I know from experience that even the simplest computer programs can have hidden bugs, but God can program life itself and do so flawlessly; so we end up with a tiny lizard that is perfect in every detail, or a baby kangaroo which will change over the course of its growth, but will always be a beautiful creature at every stage.

    1. Human babies have large heads but they grow less than the rest of the body to reach proper proportion. A new-born’s brain is 25% formed whereas the rest of the body is only 5% of adult body’s mass. It seems our creator knew what He was doing!

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