Desert Iguana

The Desert Iguana is a medium-sized lizard that thrives in the desert. They have a blunt head and a long tail that is usually longer than its body. It is a pale lizard with darker lines and stripes that run the length of their body and through the tail.
Dipsosaurus dorsalis
2-7 Years
  • Priority Species
  • Unprotected
Least Concern
  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

Desert Iguanas live in the Mojave Desert in southern Nevada. They prefer brushy areas, especially with creosote bushes. Dry, rocky, brushy areas with plenty of areas to conceal themselves are preferred. They are not usually found in areas that do not have creosote bushes.

  • Grasslands
  • Mesquite Bosque
  • Mojave desert


  • Habitat Loss
  • Overcollection

Natural History

Desert Iguanas are mostly vegetarian. They eat leaves, buds, and flowers, and the occasional insect or carrion. They are very dependent on the creosote bush. They eat the buds and flowers of creosote as well as burrow underneath and use the bush to conceal themselves.
These lizards are very well adapted to the desert heat. They are often one of the only lizards out active during some of the hottest parts of the day and are considered one of the most heat-tolerant reptiles in North America.
These lizards have no problems with a tight situation. When cornered by predators, they will wedge themselves into a tight space and inhale to expand their body making it very difficult for the predator to get them. Common predators for Desert Iguanas are raptors, snakes, and foxes.

Fun Facts

These lizards can withstand high temperatures and are out and about after other lizards have retreated into their burrows