(Click on the photo to enlarge)
This is a fine example of the Prairie Racerunner lizard.
As their name suggests, this critter is common in the
middle of the USA, from South Dakota to Texas.
While I see them regularly, catching them is another story
because they can run at up to 18mph.
They are closely related to the Whiptails, which in South
Texas have populations that are entirely female. Reproduction
is asexual, although there are verified reports of 'mounting'
I once had a Texas Spotted Whiptail as a pet and it was a
cool little beast. Very active, with a forked tongue that
was constantly tasting the air for prey just like a snake
or a monitor lizard, it reminded me of a sub-miniature
In fact, over the years I have owned over 25 different
species of lizard and snake, although I currently have
none. The State Of Texas changed the laws regarding the
capture and sale of native species, so pet stores no
longer carry them and I would need a hunting license
to catch my own.
This is a shame, because out of all the exotic reptiles
from every continent** I have had, the local ones were
the most interesting to me.
Except maybe the Mongolian Sand Lacerta, which coincidentally
looks and acts a lot like our friend here.
(**No reptiles in Antartica)