WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE between a lizard and a newt? How about a half mile? That was the distance separating them during my last wilderness hike. This Fence Lizard was watching me from a split rail fence at the Monte Bello Open Space entrance, and a little later I came upon this colorful California Newt swimming in the nearby Stevens Creek. While similar in appearance, one is a land dwelling reptile with rough scales, four toes and healthy lungs, while the other is a water loving knobby-skinned amphibian with webbed toes and additional set of gills.
Of course, there are other differences between the two but every child knows the obvious -- lizards are quick while newts are slow movers. So if you can catch it, it's a newt!