Here's an update, for those of you that aren't squeamish about reptiles...
We've done some online research and identified our Northern Alligator Lizard. Which is funny, because when Tate picked him up and held him right in front of my face (thank you very much), I said - very calmly, "Wow. He looks just like a little alligator, without all the teeth."
The boys have fixed him up a home in a terrarium and have done a good job making a good habitat for him... lots of sticks and dirt, a rock to sun himself on, and even some water in a little cup. They have busied themselves catching all manner of disgusting things for him to eat.
Very nice. He looks happy, I suppose.
And, of course, being boys themselves they are assuming the lizard must be a boy. Yet they call him "Liz", not caring that that would be a girl's name.
But the coolest thing is that the lizard is shedding. They brought me the skin from his tail yesterday and I wondered if he'd already shed the rest, but not so.
It's a good thing Tate put all those rough sticks and leaves in there, because 'he' loves to scratch up against them... just the thing for itchy skin, apparently.
Tate came bounding up the stairs with his hands behind his back right after lunch and presented me with the rest.
One of the little legs must have broken off separately, but (if you want) you can click on the pic to enlarge it and see the pattern of his scales, his little wrinkly legs, and the holes for his eyes.