Chuckwalla

The Chuckwalla is a large, bulky lizard with a thick tail and short legs. Typically, the head and legs are dark while the body and tail is a light cream, yellow, or orange.
SCIENTIFIC NAME
Sauromalus ater
CLASSIFICATION
Reptile
LIFE SPAN
8-25 Years
SIZE
5-9 ” | 0.5-0.7 lbs
STATE CONSERVATION STATUS
  • Priority Species
  • Unprotected
FEDERAL CONSERVATION STATUS
Least Concern
GAME STATUS
Non-Game
  1. Washoe
  2. Humboldt
  3. Pershing
  4. Churchill
  5. Mineral
  6. Lyon
  7. Douglas
  8. Carson City
  9. Storey
  1. Elko
  2. Lander
  3. Eureka
  4. White Pine
  1. Esmeralda
  2. Nye
  3. Lincoln
  4. Clark

Habitat & Range

Chuckwallas are found in southern Nevada in the Mojave Desert. They prefer rocky areas with lots of crevices such as outcrops and rocky hillsides. They do not require a lot of vegetation in their preferred areas.

  • Mojave desert
  • Sand Dunes
  • Warm desert riparian

Threats

  • Habitat Degradation
  • Habitat Loss
  • Overcollection

Natural History

Chuckwallas are strict herbivores but may unintentionally ingest insects that are on the plants they eat. They appear to prefer flower heads or moist leaves. These desert dwelling lizards get most of the water they need from their diet.
To avoid predation, chuckwallas seek shelter in a rock crevice and inflate their lungs to wedge themselves tightly within the crevice. They have wide and flat bodies making it easier for them to fit into small crevices. Chuckwallas are long-lived lizards and take relatively longer to reach sexual maturity than other lizards of similar size.

Fun Facts

The oldest known Chuckwalla in captivity lived to be 65 years old.