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Home » Santa Clarita News » Environment » SCV Outdoor Report » SCV Outdoor Report: Leaping Lizards, Part 2 Of 2

SCV Outdoor Report: Leaping Lizards, Part 2 Of 2

By Wendy Langhans

Last wkhts_scvoutdoorreporteek we responded to a listener’s question, “what kinds of lizards live here“? This week we’ll take a closer look at his second question, “how do I get more into my yard”?

I wish that “lizards would stay outside where they belong”. That’s what my friend posted last week on her Facebook status. Because we’re friends, there’s was only one thing I to do – I sent her a photograph of a lizard.



Lizards often can be found sunning themselves on rocks.

My friend has a point, though. Lizards are a part of the “web of life”. From our human perspective, they are beneficial when they eat the insects that damage our gardens. But with those benefits also come risks – for example – the snakes that come to our gardens to eat the lizards. If we wish to attract lizards to our back yards, we need to landscape in a way that takes into account these benefits and risks.



Lizards are a source of food for snakes.

Close to home, the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society has a section in their monthly newsletter, “Phainopepla”, which focuses on how to create wildlife-friendly gardens.

Also, the National Wildlife federation has a Certified Wildlife Habitat program, which provides guidelines turning your yard into a wildlife-friendly habitat. Here are a few points to consider:

Provide food. California Native plants are a good choice. To find sources of California native plants, check out this website. You may want to select plants based on where you live in our valley, because you want to attract the lizards that live nearby.

The Conservation and Open Space portion of our One Valley One Vision Report (pg 24) has a list of vegetation types, which I’ve roughly sorted into a chart.


Vegetation Type

Valley Floor

Coastal Sage Scrub and Grassland

Stream channels and washes



Oak Woodland, Hard and Soft Chaparral

Mountains (Santa Susana, San Gabriel and Sierra Pelona ranges)

Hardwood and Conifer Woodland

East of Agua Dulce, towards the Mojave Desert

Desert Scrub and Juniper


Provide water. This is less important for lizards, especially for those species that live in the desert regions. But providing a small bird-bath will attract other wildlife that will serve as a food source for the lizards.

Provide cover. Lizards need places to hide from predators and find shade. According to Alan Pollock from the San Fernando Valley Chapter of Audubon Society, “My impression is that lizards will appear in most landscapes sooner or later if you have trees for the tree dwellers and brush piles and/or rock piles for the ground dwellers. Other lizard homes are created if, when you build walls of rock or broken concrete, you “dry stack” instead of cementing: the crevices provide homes to all kinds of creepy crawly critters.”

Provide a place to raise young. Lizards reproduce by laying eggs. They often deposit their eggs in loose talus or burrows. So provide your yard with areas of loose gravel or rocks.

Practice green gardening practices. According to Pollock, ” Letting the leaf litter collect in planting beds not only provide homes and insect food for lizards, it also serves as nature’s mulch, keeping the soil moist and inhibiting weed growth.” And use green gardening techniques for controlling weeds and insects – avoid the use of toxic herbicides and pesticides.

Missed Part I? Read it here.


Upcoming Outdoor Events:

Saturday, July 25th, and every Wednesday, 8:00 AM. Trail Maintenance Volunteers at Towsley Canyon.

Come join our trail maintenance volunteers for camaraderie and a heart-thumping workout. For more information contact Steve Ioerger at 661-291-1565.

Saturday, July 25, 9:00-Noon. Squirrels to Snakes: Discovering Southern California’s Wildlife. Ranch house at William S. Hart Museum. Explore our local plants and animals through a live animal presentation, crafts and activities, and guided hike! Activities geared for 3-10 year olds, but all ages welcome. Adults must accompany child. For more information, call 661-254-4584 or visit


You can listen to stories like this every Friday morning at 7:10 a.m. on “The Hike Report”, brought to you by your hometown radio station KHTS (AM1220) and by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.

For the complete MRCA hike and activity schedule and for trail maps, click here or go to


SCV Outdoor Report: Leaping Lizards, Part 2 Of 2

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