This lizard is endemic to North America including the USA and Mexico. It has a very wide range that sweeps from New York down south to Florida, west to Utah and Arizona, then north to South Dakota and central Indiana, and south to the Gulf Coast. And in Mexico, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, and Zacatecas).
They are commonly found in wood and rock piles, where they can perch to survey or run under for shelter. They are popular near fence posts which is one of the reasons it’s also called fence lizard. They are arboreal as well and are excellent climbers. Females lay their eggs in multiple clutches in soil or underground. Breeding occurs through the spring into summer. The lizards prey primarily on insects and spiders.
The prairie lizard has a tan or gray pigmentation and rows of dark-colored, jagged crossbars on the back. The scales have a rough texture because they overlap and are keeled. This lizard has a limited ability to change color and are usually darker in cooler weather and lighter in warmer weather. Males display bright turquoise patches on the belly and the throat. Juveniles and females have similar coloration, but juveniles are often darker.
Learn more with Schechter Natural History's Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians