The Okanagan has its own tiny form of alligator - InfoNews

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The Okanagan has its own tiny form of alligator

Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons
May 24, 2020 - 12:00 PM

It’s spring and all sorts of cold-blooded creatures are slithering to warm rocks, including a type of lizard with the face of an alligator.

The northern alligator lizard is most commonly found near rock faces, said Pete Wise, owner of Wise Wildlife Control Services, and he’s caught plenty in his lifetime.

“They’re quite an elusive species and they’re fast. They’re really runners,” he said.

They can be found just about anywhere in Kamloops and the Okanagan, but some areas are more common than others, he said.

“The most that I ever saw was in Summerland,” he said. “Of course you want to be careful when you’re down south running around there looking for lizards because there are rattlesnakes down there as well.”

The lizard is eaten by just about everything, he said, from snakes to hawks.

“A big one is about nine inches long,” he said. “I’ve only caught one this year so far, but they’re all over the place.”

If you want to catch one, he recommends sitting on a rock face and not moving.

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“The shape of head looks like a North American alligator, hence the name, he said, but the lizards aren’t actually alligators.

They eat bugs primarily, he said. “They like hot days, so they’ll be visible right until fall.”

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Other lizards, like the blue-tailed skink, and common skink, are also in the Okanagan, and can be found commonly near Oliver and Osoyoos, he said.

It’s also against the law to kill reptiles in B.C. with the exception of the invasive bullfrog, he said.

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This story was originally published May 17.

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