San Diego Alligator Lizardd

San Diego Alligator Lizard (Elgaria multicarinata webbii)

Went out to toss some recycling in the bin and came across this guy guarding the door to the side yard.

It’s a southern alligator lizard. Specifically a San Diego alligator lizard (Elgaria multicarinata webbii), a species common to the area, but rarely seen just hanging out in the middle of the floor. They’re pretty shy, so when you run across them it’s usually under some wood or a leaf pile.

They’re scarier looking than the ubiquitous “blue belly” fence lizards, but they’re not dangerous. They do, however, bite (not hard) and get quite large for your usual western lizard, sometimes over a foot long.

The long, skinny body and tail makes them easily mistaken for a snake if you happen to get surprised by one in the yard (always a great way to get a a shot of adrenaline).

This guy was more like 6 inches long and not all that committed to barring me from the door. Once I got close enough, he turned tail and bolted. I’m pretty sure he’s now hiding behind my table saw.

San Diego Alligator Lizard

Southern alligator lizard heading for the door