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Wildlife > Reptiles


Lizards are reptiles of the order Squamata, closely related to snakes. They are cold-blooded, relatively long-bodied with usually two pairs of legs and a tapering tail. They also have external ear openings and movable eyelids. Desert species range in adult length from 6-10 centimeters to nearly a meter (chuckwalla).


    Sauromalus ater
    Areas of rocks and boulders on alluvial fans and in canyons; throughout Death Valley up to 5000 ft.
    Rocky outcrops, rocky canyons, rocky slopes, and alluvial fans (special concern)

    Mojave Fringe-toed lizard

    Uma scoparia
    Ibex Dunes; may dive into loose sand when frightened.
    Wind-blown sand of dry lake beds, washes, and sand dunes (special concern)

    Desert iguana

    Dipsosaurus dorsalis dorsalis
    In hummocks of mesquite and creosote bush in areas of fine, sandy soil; up to 3000 feet; very heat tolerant.
    Most common on sandy flats, dunes, and washes but also along rocky washes and on alluvial fans (common)

    Zebra-tailed lizard

    Callisaurus draconides
    Open areas in desert; near dunes and washes; on roads in morning; runs at great speeed with tail curved forward.
    Open areas of sandy and gravelly desert flats, sandy washes, and alluvial fans (common)

    Black Collared lizard

    Crotaphytus bicinctores
    Collared lizard
    Crotaphytus collaris
    Areas of boulders for basking and open areas for hunting; from 1000 to 5000 feet.
    Rocky slopes, rock outcrops of gullies, and boulder-strewn alluvial fans (common)

    Long-nosed Leopard lizard

    Gambelia wislizenii wislizenii
    Valley floor to 3600 feet on alluvial fans, in canyons and washes with scattered vegetation.
    Open sandy or gravelly flats and plains; less commonly in rocky areas (common)

    Desert Spiny lizard

    Sceloporus magister magister
    Yellow-backed Spiny Lizard
    Sceloporus magister uniformis
    Rocky slopes and canyons around vegetation from 3500 to 7000 feet; a good climber.
    Most abundant in the Joshua tree woodland; Occasionally on rock outcrops (common)

    Whiptail lizard

    Cnemidophorus tigris tigris
    Great Basin Whiptail Lizard
    Aspidoscelis tigris tigris
    Sandy areas with sparce vegetation; rocky areas of upper washes; from below sea level to 5000 feet.
    Most common in areas where vegetation is densest (common)

    Side-blotched lizard

    Uta stansburiana
    Desert Side-blotched lizard
    Uta stansburiana stejnegeri
    Most commonly seen lizard in park; throughout park below 5000 feet in gravelly areas; active on warm days all year. Open, sunny ground Usually some rocks and loose soil are present (common)

    Horned lizard

    Phrynosoma platyrhinos
    Southern Desert Horned Lizard
    Phrynosoma platyrhinos calidiarum
    Sandy flats and canyon bottoms (common)

    Western Banded gecko

    Coleonyx variegatus variegatus
    Nocturnal; rocky areas, creosote bush flats; valley floor to 3500 feet.
    Most common in sandy flats; occasional in canyons and rocky areas (common)

    Western Fence lizard

    Sceloporus occidentalis
    The western fence lizard is probably California's most common reptile. This adaptable lizard is found throughout California except in true desert, where it is restricted to riparian and high mountain locations. Elevation sea level to 3250 m (10,000 ft)


    Great Basin Fence lizard

    Sceloporus occidentalis biseriatus
    Sceloporus biseriatus longipes
    Rocky areas in most elevations except low desert; rock outcrops, canyons, near springs.
    Rocky outcrops above 3,000 feet (common)

    Western Brush lizard

    Urosaurus graciousus graciousus
    Low desert in and around creosote bush and mesquite; lies camouflaged on branch or exposed roots.
    Bushes and small trees; also in clumps of galleta grass, Pleuraphis rigida (common)

    Sagebrush lizard

    Sceloporus graciosus
    Sagebrush through pinyon-juniper woodlands to 10,500 feet.

    Desert Night Lizard

    Xantusia vigilis vigilis
    Under debris of yuccas; sagebrush zone of Panamint Mountains; most active in daytime but secretive and rarely seen.
    Most common in Joshua tree woodland, especially within fallen branches of Joshua trees and yuccas (common)

    Panamint Alligator lizard

    Elegra panamintina
    Panamint and Grapevine Mountains above 3500 feet; talus slopes; thickets of wild grapevines near watered areas.

    San Diego Horned lizard (JTNP)

    Phrynosoma coronatum blainvillii
    Northwest section where loose, fine soil with high sand content is present (threatened)

    Western Red-tailed Skink

    Eumeces gilberti rubricaudatus
    Prefers moderately damp areas; northwest section (common)

    San Diego Alligator lizard

    Elgaria multicarinata webbii
    Prefers moderately damp areas; northwest section (common)

    Silvery Legless lizard

    Anniella pulchra pulchra
    Sandy or loose loamy soils with some moisture; northwest section (special concern)

Also see: Related Pages

Desert Horned Lizard

Mojave Fringe-toed Lizard

Long-nosed Leopard Lizard

Whiptail Lizard

Spiny Lizard


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