(Click on the illustration below to get up close and personal with this Californian's favorite lizard)
Edgewood docent I ask others, "Why do you think it's important to preserve nature, beyond beauty, mystery and all that other sensory, emotional stuff?". Of course the answers vary. I've been tempted to go off on my own ideas about increasing over bee-hive health with a diverse plant offering, versus the monoculture imposed by modern agricultural methods, but that's another blog posting all together.
Turns out that the Western Fence Lizards that have been scampering around under my feet like crazy lately (I think it might just be high-hormone mating season for Sceloporus occidentals) is Ma Nature's way of curing Lyme disease. Am I the last to learn this?
Apparently in California, where these lizards abound, the deer ticks that transmit Lyme disease bacteria loose their Lyme-oomph when they bite the lizards. This article from the CA Academy of Sciences explains it all. I've been told, but cannot find a reference on the web, that the result is, that only about 1-2% of deer tick bites where Western Fence Lizards roam produce Lyme disease in humans, versus the over 80% in other parts of the country. Don't quote me on that, however, since I can't find a source for you.
Wikipedia also has an article about this Lyme-disease link.