Kestrel's Musings

Rambles and explorations from this perspective.

California Whiptail and Then Some

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Being present, being mindful, and saying what is so has added a sense of connection and confidence to my life. All I want to say about this at the moment is, I realize that I have not been here for almost a year, and a California Whiptail brought me back. Two whiptails actually. Yesterday I was soaking in a summer morning on my tiny porch sipping coffee and checking emails when I heard the tell tale scratching among the leaves. Last week it was a Greater Brown Skink so I stopped to look. This time there were two California Whiptails (Aspidoscelis tigris munda) slinking around in the leaves, on the walkway, and onto my porch. The one captured on video here was the smaller of the two, the larger one being about 2-3 times the size of this one.

Looking at these dynamically marked creatures alone is enough to get my naturalist juices flowing, but it got even better. At one point both were on the porch, the larger one scooting among the bat droppings (Antrozous pallidus and sometimes a Myotis sp.*) and to my delight eating the legs and other left over bits of insect body parts the bats had left behind. I could even hear the crunch crunch as he/she devoured legs and bits. Wow!

Immediately I began some cursory internet research and shared the video with naturalist pals. Some discussion ensued. Then this morning I went out for more observations and discovered a Potato Bug on my chair (aka Jerusalem Cricket) who seemed to have escaped the clutches of a bat with injuries. I examined the other insect remains on the porch comparing them to the bug and they seem to match.

Potato Bug

This is interesting and curious because I am now recalling that the insect remains I have observed in the past were from beetles such as carapaces and wing case bits, etc… I will need to pay better attention and keep a record of when I observe beetle remains from the bats and when they switch to other insects like Potato Bugs. And how do these bats forage for these ground dwelling bugs? After more discussion with fellow naturalists, I’ve learned that some bats are known to roost in rodent burrows. My California Ground Squirrel neighbors have provided plenty of those. Perhaps the bats are taking them out of the ground and eating them on my porch? But wait, don’t most bats need to drop from above to fly? It was suggested that I get a motion sensing camera for my porch. I see that these bat questions need more research and another blog post.

Getting back to the California Whiptails, I put the injured Potato Bug down with the bat droppings and other insect bits. Sure enough once the sun had begun to warm up the day the smaller whiptail made its way over. Amazingly, I capture most of the moment on video. Another, “Wow!”


*This post was corrected February 4, 2016. Big Brown Bats were noted previously as the likely bat species hanging out on my porch. They have since been identified as Pallid Bats (Antrozous pallidus) and Little Brown Bats (Myotis sp.).



Author: Kestrel

Kestrel identifies as a naturalist, Yosemite Interpreter, guide, outdoor educator, science teacher, friend, music lover, auntie extraordinaire, adventurer for birds, and fellow sojourner on this big blue marble. Out there she strives to live life most generously and satisfyingly. Here she endeavors to share what rolls around the heart and grey matter...

One thought on “California Whiptail and Then Some

  1. Wow, I love this Karyn! That’s some awesome footage! You are very observant.