Eastern Fence Lizard

Eastern Fence Lizard

Prairie lizard, Fence swift, Gray lizard, Northern fence lizard, Pine lizard, Horn-billed lizard

Sceloporus undulatus
Population size
Life Span
4-5 yrs
15 g
10-19 cm

Eastern fence lizards are medium-sized reptiles found in the eastern United States. They are typically colored in shades of gray or brown, and have keeled scales, with a dark line running along the rear of the thigh. Females are usually gray and have a series of dark, wavy lines across their backs. The belly is white with black flecks, with some pale blue on the throat and belly. Males are usually brown, and during the summer, they have a more greenish-blue and black coloration on the sides of the belly and throat than females. The young look like females but are darker and duller.


Eastern fence lizards are found in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Southern Illinois, Southern Indiana, Tennessee, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, Delaware, northern Florida, southern Wyoming, southern New Jersey, and southeastern New York. These lizards prefer to live in grasslands, shrublands and along forest edges. They often hide in rock crevices or under rocks, wood piles, rotting logs or stumps.

Eastern Fence Lizard habitat map

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Eastern fence lizards are mainly arboreal (tree-dwelling) creatures; however, they can also be found on the ground. During the day they are usually seen basking on fences, rocks, logs, and tree trunks. They will also use these areas as a night shelter. Eastern fence lizards are solitary and territorial. In order to claim it's their territory, males will flash the blue scales on their underbelly; they may also do push-ups and head-bobs to chase other males away from their territories. When fence lizards sense any danger, they will escape up in the nearest tree and stop on the opposite side of the tree trunk to avoid being detected. If the pursuer still circles around the tree, the lizard will continue to move in a spiral motion up the tree trunk until it disappears out of sight.

Group name
Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Eastern fence lizards are carnivores (insectivores); their diet consists of ants, beetles, spiders, moths, grasshoppers, lady bugs and stink bugs.

Mating Habits

8-10 weeks
at birth
3-16 eggs

Eastern fence lizards are polygynous meaning that one males mates with more than one female in a single breeding season. Their breeding season occurs in spring and during this time males often do "push-ups" and flash their blue patches to attract mates. Females lay 3 to 16 eggs in late spring or early summer. Eggs are usually laid underground and the incubation period lasts around 8 to 10 weeks. Baby fence lizards are completely independent at birth and become reproductively mature at 1-2 years of age.


Population threats

There are no major threats facing this species at present.

Population number

According to IUCN, the Eastern fence lizard is locally common and widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.

Ecological niche

Eastern fence lizards feed only on various insects and thus control their populations. In turn, these lizards are important prey for birds and other larger predators including snakes, domestic cats and dogs, and larger lizards.


1. Eastern Fence Lizard on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_fence_lizard
2. Eastern Fence Lizard on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/64156/12749881

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