Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A Halloween lizard

with 17 comments


I’ll occasionally punctuate the posts about our great New Mexico/ West Texas trip with some more-recent goings-on back in Austin. And what could be more appropriate for Halloween than a dead lizard? Mind you, I didn’t think it was dead when I first spotted it in our driveway on the morning of October 25th; I figured the cool temperature had rendered it inert while it waited for more warmth. I went back into the house, put a macro lens and ring flash on my camera, and went back out to the driveway. When I looked more closely at what I take to be a Texas spiny lizard (Sceloporus olivaceus), I noticed tiny movements in the eye socket. Then I realized I was seeing ants, and the lizard was dead. If you’re up for a close look at that, click the thumbnail below. Ghastliness is in the eye of the beholder—and in this case the eye of the photograph’s subject.

Happy Halloween.



© 2022 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 31, 2022 at 4:35 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , , ,

17 Responses

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  1. Happy Halloween!


    October 31, 2022 at 5:12 AM

    • Merci. Maybe I’ll treat myself to some photographic tricks, and maybe you’ll do the same.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 31, 2022 at 6:32 AM

  2. Wow


    October 31, 2022 at 6:53 AM

  3. Finding a dead lizard is a rarity. A live lizard would be less cooperative.

    Peter Klopp

    October 31, 2022 at 11:27 AM

  4. Ants do get up to a variety of tricks; I suspect these were more than a little pleased to find such a treat. You photo reminded me of one of my favorite Jimmy Buffett songs; after all, you were off to see your lizard just like these visitors to the Galapagos, even if you didn’t have to travel so far.


    October 31, 2022 at 8:57 PM

    • Who’d’ve thought there’d be a song about going off to see a lizard? But then who’d’ve expected a dead lizard in the driveway? It lay there for several days, but when I looked today it wasn’t there any more. What carried off its remains, I don’t know. Whether I’ll some day get carried off to see the Galapagos also remains unknown.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 31, 2022 at 9:41 PM

      • Somehow it only now struck me that the title is a take-off on “We’re off to see the wizard.” I guess my fixation on lizards blocked the connection, and a night’s sleep re-opened the way to the other association.

        Steve Schwartzman

        November 1, 2022 at 7:30 AM

  5. I’ve had similar experiences, thinking I’ve found a neat critter who is an amiable poser only to find it to be a former critter. Must have been a good looker when animated.

    Steve Gingold

    November 1, 2022 at 4:53 PM

    • I’ve wondered if death made those green scales brighter than they were in life, because the pictures I found online don’t show quite that much green. Still, if I’ve got the identification right, the species name olivaceus indicates olive green.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 1, 2022 at 5:05 PM

  6. Oh my gosh that’s creepy: ants crawling on the eyes

    Alessandra Chaves

    November 1, 2022 at 5:43 PM

  7. I’ll admit, I’m sad to see this. I’m always sad to find a dead animal. But I also accept it as a part of nature and like you, I would have photographed it. I had that happen once with a watersnake which I’d at first thought was alive but while photographing I realized it was dead. The back of this lizard has a very jeweled look.

    Todd Henson

    November 4, 2022 at 7:45 AM

  8. Great Halloween post – and the present ones with the petroglyphs are really nice too. I chuckled when I read the part about the movement in the eyes – oh yes, such a part of life. Sometimes I’ll pick up an insect or lizard or even a bird that had recently died – always eager to study it with an Audubon-like fascination. Almost always the ants claimed it first, but I ignore the ants and enjoy the opportunity for study.

    Playamart - Zeebra Designs

    November 5, 2022 at 3:02 PM

    • Ants sure have a way of finding things, don’t they? I guess it’s due to scouts constantly out on the prowl. From your comment, it seems you find dead animals more often than I do, perhaps because you live in a “wilder” place. How often do you draw or paint any of the dead ones you find? I realize people might not want to see that (which is why I hid mine behind a tiny thumbnail).

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 5, 2022 at 8:03 PM

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