Have you ever called a lizard adorable? I recently saw a long-nose leopard lizard and it’s the first adjective that came to mind.
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things.1 Chronicles 29:11
Even the Name Long-Nose Leopard Lizard Sounds Adorable
“Look at that,” I exclaimed as I pointed to the side of the trail. “A lizard!”
The other ladies gave it wide berth, but I crouched and started snapping photos. I didn’t grow up loving herps (the collective name for reptiles and amphibians). But I have a daughter who adores them, so I’ve come to appreciate them, too.
I’d never seen a stripy-spotted lizard like this one before, though. So I spent several minutes trying to capture great shots of it. Photographing lizards isn’t easy because they often dart out of sight before you can raise your camera. They have a well-developed sense of preservation.
For some reason, this lizard allowed me to circle respectfully around it, shooting from several angles. When it finally scurried into the bushes, I smiled in satisfaction. A cool sighting on the last part of my hike over an amazing weekend exploring slot canyons and sandstone formations in southern Utah and northern Arizona.
When I reached cell service, I uploaded the photo to my Seek app and discovered the name of my cooperative friend. I’d found a Long-Nose Leopard Lizard (Gambelia wislizenii).
He looked like a leopard, although his nose didn’t seem long. I later found out his California cousin has a shorter snout.
Long-Nose Leopard Lizards can reach up to 15 inches in length, although their bodies (from the tip of the nose to their vent) usually only reach 3.25-5.75 inches long. Their tails can be twice as long as their bodies.
Their unique leopard/tiger coloring helps camouflage them from predators and prey as they lay in wait under sparse desert plants and shrubs. Birds, kit foxes, coyotes, and snakes prey on Long-Nose Leopard Lizards. As diurnal (daytime) hunters, they catch their food by stalking and ambushing their prey.
Long-Nose Leopard Lizards can jump up to two feet (including straight up). I can’t even jump two feet straight up! When they can’t find insects, small mammals, or other reptiles to eat, they’ll eat leaves, fruits, and berries.
The female Long-Nose Leopard Lizard changes during the breeding season. Small reddish-orange splotches appear on her sides. She’ll dig a burrow and lay 5-7 eggs in it sometime during June or July, and the hatchlings emerge in August.
If something frightens a Long-Nose Leopard Lizard, it will scurry under brush and freeze. If it can’t find shelter, it will freeze in place. During the cold months, lizards undergo a different type of freezing. They hibernate in their burrows.
But Even More, I Adore the Creator
Although I adore creation, I adore the Creator more. Researching fun facts about the Long-Nose Leopard Lizard (or any other creature) helps me understand the creativity and power of the One who created it.
I’ve met firm believers in the theory of evolution who talk about the design of an organism. How can anything have a design without a Designer? And while I have breath within me, I’ll use it to celebrate, worship, and adore the loving Creator who gave spots to the leopard and the lizard.
Father God, I praise and worship you because you alone are worthy of praise. Let me never forget you created me (and everything else) with a purpose.