We had a visitor today. I had no idea what it was but thanks to Google found out it’s a Desert Spiny Lizard. The most important question I have is . . . is it poisonous? The answer is no, but they will bite if they are picked up.
My little visitor made me curious to know more. So I will share what I have learned.
They are native to Utah, Colorado, New Mexico to Arizona and can grow to be up to about 142 mm or 5.6″ from snout to butt. The tail size will vary and make them, obviously, longer.
Their color is close to camouflage in the desert shrubbery though they have speckles of yellow on their sides, wedges of dark purple on their shoulders. Boys have two large, bright, teal patches on the belly and a blue patch on the throat so I’m pretty sure the one hanging out on my fence was a man.
They burrow and live in pack rat nests after basking in the sun on tree branches during the day. They also hibernate in late Fall and Winter.
It says you will most likely find a male and female together. “Mating takes place in spring and summer and one or two clutches of eggs are laid in spring and summer. Clutch size ranges from 2 to 12 eggs. Hatchlings may appear as early as late May but usually begin to emerge in July.”
They eat insects including ants, beetles, and caterpillars. The DSL also feeds on spiders, centipedes, small lizards, and some plant material.
I got all of this information off a great website by Thomas Brennan, it has a lot more information on all the reptiles of Arizona. It’s intention is to educate and preserve the great species we have in the desert. Go nerd out here
These are the photos I took through my kitchen window.
This photo is off the website mentioned above. Tom’s photo looks a lot better and shows the true beauty of this lizard.
Here’s a fun video of one of the lizards getting some tasty fly snacks.