One of the best purchases we have ever made for our homeschool was the book The Encyclopedia of North American Animals, by Bryan Richard. We get this book out weekly to identify some varmint we find near the house. The kids are happy to sit and look at the book for many minutes at a time! (If I read it to them, they will listen for up to an hour!)
I grew up in central Illinois, and never saw any lizards. When we moved to Missouri last summer, I was surprised to see a variety of lizards. The hard thing is differentiating these colorful little critters. We have a Red Bud tree behind our house that has several big holes in it that these lizards live in.
This morning I got this picture of what I think is a Six-Lined Racerunner. He is about 6 inches long (including the tail).
I am pretty sure that in this same Red Bud tree there is a family of Broad Headed Skinks. These two species look nothing alike, as the skink is larger and fatter, with no stripes. But, Mr Skink is too shy to have his picture taken! The supposed skink is fat and about 9 inches long (including tail). As I looked in my book this morning, I see there is a striped skink called a Southeastern Five-Lined Skink, which looks similar to my picture above. But, the map in my handy book says that the Southeastern Skink should not be in mid- MO. (But, I know that these maps are often imperfect)
These are the fun homeschooling lessons we have in our home on a regular basis! I love being a homeschool mom! You can go out and chase lizards and call it a school project!
Other info about our lizard(s):
-The babies are shiny blue, cute little fast things! The kittens climb the red Bud tree and bring back specimen for us to examine closely. Both the skink and the racerunner have blue juveniles.
-All the lizards spend most of the days on the tree trunk catching insects. HOWEVER, the birds that nest in that tree sadly find their eggs missing, and/or their nestlings eaten (we think the big skink is responsible for lessening our bird population)