Chuckwalla

Sauromalus Ater

Scientific Name

Chuckwalla:  
Sauromalus Ater

Distribution and Habitat

Geographic Range

The chuckwalla is a resident of southwestern deserts in the United States and Mexico, as well as Southeastern California, Southern Nevada, Southwestern Utah, Western Arizona, Eastern Baja California and Northwestern Mexico.

Natural Habitat

This lizard is strictly a rock dweller. The chuckwalla is found in rocky outcrops, lava flows, and rocky hillsides of the Great Basin, Mojave and Sonoran deserts.

Physical Characteristics

  • This is a large bulky lizard reaching nearly 16 inches with folds of loose skin on the sides of its body. The color varies between sexes and with the age of the individual. Adult males have black heads and forelimbs’ their trunks may be black, red, orange, gray or yellow. Females and juveniles may have gray or yellow banding.

Quick Facts

  1. Harmless to humans, these lizards are known to run from potential threats.

  2. Mating occurs from April to July, with 5–16 eggs laid between June and August. The eggs hatch in late September.

  3. Chuckwallas may live for 25 years or more.

Exhibit

EcoStation

Conservation Status

Least Concern: The Chuckwalla is common or abundant and is likely to survive in the wild.

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Diet

Omnivore

The chuckwalla feeds mainly on annual plants, but also eats perennials; it will consume insects on occasion. In human care, the receive leafy greens, shredded carrot or sweet potato, and crickets/mealworms.