Lizards in the sand

20th March 2012 by Helen

See how little this lizard is

We knew we were staying in our camp on the sands of a coastal desert in Peru for several days.  So we dug a pit just outside our camp where we could put our used tea bags and waste food scraps and then bury them before we left.

But in the meantime we hoped something else might happen.  And it did!

The bad bit was that the food scraps attracted flies. That is why we dug the hole downwind and away from the camp (downwind just means the wind doesn’t blow towards us).

The good bit was that the flies attracted some of the tiny sand lizards that live here in the desert.  The lizards feed on small insects such as flies.  They are the same colour as the sand and hard to see unless they are close up.  If you go near them they run away – very fast.

So we needed them to come near to our camp instead of us going out to look for them.  And over the next few days lots of them did.

They run very fast over short distances.  Running on their toes they run with their heads and tails in the air, making them look like little boats moving across the sand.  Then they stop and often lay flat on the sand for a few moments, before looking up and peering around them.  They like to sit near the top of tiny hills in the sand where they can see more of the ground around them.

Even though we can’t see them very well from a distance, there is a big bird, a member of the eagle family, that also lives in the desert.  This eagle has very good eyesight.  Sometimes we would see one flying overhead and suddenly swoop down to pluck something from the ground.  We guessed it must be some small desert lizard and that’s how we knew they were here.

Science Question

Our Amazing Adventure Map

Look at our adventure map to see where we camped and where we dug the pit.  We show you which way the wind blows.

How did we know the way the wind blows so we could dig our pit for the right side of the camp?

Watch the video to check your answers.




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