Japanese Grass Lizard

Two weeks ago we went for a hike in the Minoh National Park. We were near the #8 trail head, which is a nice picnic area. As we were heading back towards our car, Oliver noticed this Japanese Grass Lizard (Takydromus tachydromoides) moving across the ground. I eventually caught it so we can photograph it. We never would have noticed the bright yellow color on its belly.

It is one of only three lizards found on the Japan islands. In Japanese it is known as kanahebi, and hebi means snake, although it is not a snake. They feed on insects and arthropods with pillbugs (roly-polys) being one of its favorite meals. This specimen was quite easy to catch and I made sure to grab it by the body, not the tail which it can drop to escape. I released it after the photo.

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