The museum at La Brea Tar Pits and the William S. Hart museum will remain closed until further notice. Advanced tickets are required for entry to NHM’s Spider Pavilion, and are now available online. See NHMLAC's response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

A Lover at Hart

We’d like to introduce you to one of the William S. Hart Museum’s most devoted visitors.

western fence lizard dorsal view
A western fence lizard

We’d like to introduce you to one of the William S. Hart Museum’s most devoted visitors—a western fence lizard. Named for the noticeable “crook” in his tail, “Crookshanks” makes his presence felt every spring during mating season.

Crookshanks the western fence lizard doing pushups.
Magdalyne Romero


“What I love most about Crookshanks is that he is such a show-off,” says Education and Volunteer Coordinator Magdalyne Romero. “He seems to never miss a chance to display to anyone. He chases after the lady lizards (they never seem that into him though). He has turned very vibrant colors, puffed out his dewlap, and displayed to me.”

Crookshanks the western fence lizard less fab
Magdalyne Romero
Crookshanks the western fence lizard more fab
Check out those scales.
Magdalyne Romero

Crookshanks really knows how to put on a show, but it’s not all fun and games. The lizard occasionally puts up a challenge. “Our security guard, Alex, was inside the museum when Crookshanks saw him—and his blue uniform—from a window. Crookshanks ran up in front of that window to make sure he was in Alex's line of sight,” Romero said. “Then he turned his belly bright blue and started doing push ups.” 

It’s heartwarming that this most ardent of Hart Museum’s visitors is likely out there right now looking for a mate. 

Crookshanks in hot pursuit.
Magdalyne Romero