While we miss having the students in the garden, the quiet has allowed the critters to take over the gardens! We have baby birds, insects and even a lizard! We have put nest boxes in some of our gardens and the birds have moved in.
House wrens are about 4-1/2”-5-1/4” or 11-13 cm. They are small, very busy birds with a thin bill. The female lays 6-7 eggs that are white with reddish brown spots. The female incubates the eggs for about 12-15 days. The young leave the nest after 12-18 days. The female usually lays two clutches a year.
They feed mostly on all kinds of insects. Caterpillars provide the most nutritious food for the babies. The wrens are mostly cavity nesters. The male begins building several nests and the female picks one nest which she finishes. The nest has a foundation of twigs, with a soft cup of plant fibers, grass, weeds, hair and feathers.
Do we have an alligator living in the Theuerkauf Garden? No! We have a Southern Alligator Lizard (Elgaria multicarnita)! We’ve seen this little critter living in the plant matter. Alligator Lizards are native to the Pacific Coast of North America. They live in all kinds of habitats such as grasslands, chaparral, forests and even our urban gardens.
These reptiles have some interesting ways to defend themselves. They can pack quite a bit with their strong jaws. They can poop on you which has been described “as smelling like a dead fish that’s been left out in the sun for several days”. They can even detach their tails, which wiggle so the lizards can scurry away!
The females lay two clutches of eggs, usually in May and June. The eggs hatch during late Summer and early Fall. The Mama Lizard will stay with her eggs to guard them until they hatch.
These lizards can live from 10-15 years. They eat things like small arthropods, slugs, other lizards and even bird eggs. We’re very happy to have this lizard living in our garden.