Both male and female collared lizards have two black bands encircling the shoulders, like a collar, giving this species its name.
  • Size

    8-14 inches (20-35.5 cm)
  • Diet

  • Range

    Southwest United States and Mexico
  • Habitat

    Rocky, lightly vegetated areas

Physical Characteristics

  • Sexually dimorphic; males and females differ in appearance, specifically in color. Male is also larger than female.
  • Coloration in this lizard varies widely:
    • Male is primarily green, blue-green, tan or yellow with either lighter-colored spots or dark bars on the back. May also have bright yellow to orange coloration on the head. The belly is lighter in color.
    • Female tends to be less brightly colored during the non-breeding season. In breeding season, the female develops bright orange patterns of short bars or spots on the side of the body.
    • Both males and females have two black bands encircling the shoulders like a collar, giving the species its name.
  • Common length of 8-14 inches (20-35.5 cm).

Animal Fact

To evade predators, collared lizards will run in an upright position with their legs underneath instead of out to the sides like most lizards. Collared lizards may also run using only their hind legs.

Diet / Feeding

  • Diet consists primarily of insects but will feed opportunistically based on what prey source is most available. May also consume plants or smaller lizards.
  • Known to stalk prey; will wave its tail before pouncing and grabbing prey in its mouth.

Range / Habitat

  • Occurs in the southwest United States and Mexico. Ranges from Utah and Arizona, Missouri, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and into parts of northern Mexico.
  • Typically found in rocky, lightly vegetated areas.
  • Commonly burrows under rocks or hides in crevices to rest.

Reproduction & Growth

  • Courtship and mating occur in spring or early summer.
  • Deposits eggs in early summer in burrows, crevices, loose soil or underneath rocks.
  • One or two clutches per year, typically with 4-6 eggs per clutch.
  • Egg incubation lasts approximately 53-94 days.
  • Adults do not care for young after hatching.

Conservation Status

  • “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.

Additional Information

  • Typically rests in crevices or under rocks at night; known to bask in the sun during the day. Most active during the hottest part of the day.
  • Runs in an upright position with legs extended underneath the body rather than out to the side as when at rest. May also run with only the hind legs.
  • Does not lose its tail as readily as most lizards. When this occurs, however, the tail does not grow back.
  • Predators may include other lizards, birds and coyotes.
  • Average lifespan of 5-8 years.


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