• Size

    6.4 inches (16.2 cm)
  • Diet

    Mainly vegetation and occasionally insects
  • Range

    Western United States and northwestern Mexico
  • Habitat

    Rocky desert habitats with moderate vegetation

Physical Characteristics

  • Broad bodied lizard with loose skin folds along its sides.
  • Tail is about half the length of the body and thick at the base, tapering to a thin tip.
  • Coloration may vary depending on geography, weather and temperament.
    • Head is brown, grey or dark yellow in color.
    • Body has generally neutral coloration to camouflage with desert environments.
    • Female and young are lighter in color than male.
  • Male is slightly larger in size and heavier than female, typically with a broader head.
  • Average length of 6.4 inches (16.2 cm).

Diet / Feeding

  • Diet consists primarily of desert vegetation including bushes, leaves and fruit; occasionally consumes insects.
  • Obtains hydration from the moisture in plants consumed.

Range / Habitat

  • Occurs in the western United States and northwestern Mexico.
    • United States: occurs in Nevada, Utah, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and parts of Colorado.
    • Mexico: occurs throughout Sonora, Mexico and Baja California.
  • Found in rocky desert habitats with moderate vegetation, including rocky outcrops, hillsides and lava flows.
    • May take shelter in crevices for brumation during the winter.

Reproduction & Growth

  • Reproduction occurs in years with sufficient rainfall and ample food supply.
  • Breeding season takes place from April to August.
  • Typically produces 5-16 young in breeding years.
  • Female deposits eggs in underground crevice or burrow with a dry bottom; she will protect eggs during incubation, but there is no parental care after hatching.
  • Gestation period is typically 35 days.

Conservation Status

  • “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.
  • Threats to this species include habitat degradation in some parts of its range.

Conservation Status

  • “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.
  • Threats to this species include habitat degradation in some parts of its range.

Additional Information

  • Solitary species.
  • Predators include coyotes, red-tailed hawks, American kestrels and rattlesnakes.
  • Takes shelter in small holes and crevices to escape predators. May inflate body with air in order to wedge itself tightly into its hiding place.
  • Diurnal – will emerge from shelter during the day to feed and bask in the sun, but generally remains close to burrow.
  • In order to stay cool, will seek out shade or change body position in relation to sun.

Sources

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