• East view from Crissy Field overlook with old Coast Guard station on left and city on right

    Presidio of San Francisco


Western Fence Lizard

Western Fence Lizard
A Western Fence Lizard basks in dune scrub near Baker Beach.
Will Elder, NPS

Natural History: This is the most common reptile in California. It is primarily diurnal, seeking out basking and perching sites. It feeds on terrestrial invertebrates. The males defend territories in the spring, and the young hatch between July and September. On occasion, hibernating individuals aggregate in groups.

General Distribution: In the Presidio, this reptile is most commonly found in annual and serpentine grassland areas, forests, streams, coastal scrub areas, and developed areas.

Frequency: This lizard is fairly uncommon in the Presidio.

Identifying Characteristics: This lizard is characterized by a black, gray, or brown body with a blotched pattern. It has blue on the sides of its belly, and the males have a blue throat. The rear of its limbs are a yellowish-orange.

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Did You Know?

Franciscan monk

In 1776, Father Pedro Font wrote, "The port of San Francisco...is a marvel of nature, and might well be called a harbor of harbors...And I think if it could be well settled like Europe there would not be anything more beautiful in all the world."