What kind of animal lives on wood but not necessarily in trees
We often find him both sides of the bridge that crosses the way called fifty
Sometimes he's light and sometimes he's dark
Sometimes we see him and other times he's bark
His name invokes a quick flying bird, but he has no wings to leave the ground
His belly has the saddest look, but not, its just the way it sounds
Do you know who he is now, or do you need another clue
"No daddy, I know the answer, he's…."
Calvin "Cheese Grits" Yerke
We often play this game to pass time in the car, especially on long trips. Sometimes its just descriptions about where the animal lives or what he eats, but the girls love it even more when you can muster up a riddle. I love animals and am glad to see the kids share in my passion for nature. This particular lizard has held my fascination since I was very young, and probably in part because there were none around the neighborhoods that I grew up in. This elevated him to exotic status in a young boy's mind, even though he was here long before my family arrived.
On the east side of Orlando I have seen the same type of spiny lizard but in a much darker phase. There are several variations within the genus sceloporus that cover a very wide range in the Americas. Maybe the pic below will help you figure out what we've always called them.