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Chuckwalla Sauromalus ater (Sauromalus obesus)


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credit: Adrian Pingstone

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Family: Iguanidae, Iguanas view all from this family

Description Stocky wide-bodied lizard with a flattened midsection and prominent belly. Tail thick, tapering to a blunt tip. Loose folds of skin characterize the neck and sides of the body, which is covered in small, coarsely granular scales. Gray fading to red on midsection . Females have gray-yellow patterns.

Dimensions 27.9-41.9cm. (11-16 1/2")

Breeding May/June. 5-10 eggs in a clutch, laid June-August. Females breed every other year.

Habitat Flat rocky areas.

Range S. California east to s. Nevada and Utah, w. Arizona to Baja California, Mexico.

Discussion Dirunal. Herbivorous, feeds on leaves, fruit and flowers of annuals and perennial plants; insects represent a supplementary prey. Spends its time basking in the sun on boulders until its body temperature reaches 100 degrees F (38C). When threatened it will retreat into rocky crevices and inflate its body.