Lizards are usually thought of as desert creatures, while many live in various garden habitats. Some folks find them cute, others find them frightening.
By Jean Sudbury
Here are five reasons to like lizards and make us appreciate them, if nothing else, for the traits we inherited from them.
Humans and reptiles are closely related
We did not exactly inherit skin, teeth, bones, nor brain size from reptiles. We inherited the genes which make them possible. EDA is the gene which controls all these factors. It is believed that mutations to EDA in ancient reptiles helped the Human species inherit its current blueprint.
Three bones in our middle ear help amplify sound. Two of those bones originated as part of a reptile’s jaw, which started receding back in the ancient creature’s head. The Hadrocrodium, a small mouse-like creature who descended from reptiles 200 million years ago, was one of the first mammals to inherit the modern 3 boned middle ear.
Wiping out Lyme disease
It has been found that a substance found in the blood of the Western Fence lizard kills Lyme disease bacteria found in the gut of juvenile ticks who have fed on the lizards. Biting a Western Fence lizard helps to purify the blood of a disease- carrying tick.
Curious, clever and communicative
In a California garden, 60 different types of lizards scurry about from one favorite hiding spot to another. Sometimes they stretch out on a stone, soaking up heat or coolness, depending upon the angle of the sunlight. Quite often they do their own version of push ups, or pumping iron.This seems to be a strong mode of communication for them. Lizards like to feast on small insects and worms.They plan their attacks carefully, positioning themselves just right to grab a quick meal. Lizard scat is also a good soil nutrient. Although they like to munch on greenery, they do very little cosmetic damage, if any, to plants in a garden.
Most not poisonous
Most lizard are not poisonous. The two known poisonous ones are the Gila monsters, found in southwest desert areas, and The Mexican Bearded Lizard. The last death reported by a Gila monster bite was in 1939. The Mexican Bearded Lizard’s bite is painful, but no human fatalities associated with this species have been reported.
Lizards seem to like to keep to themselves and would rather not interact closely with humans. They eat small insects, they teach us to be strong, quick and flexible. And for some of us, they help put a smile on our faces while observing them.
Perhaps lizards are as curious about us as we are about them!
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