Friday, May 29, 2009

Desert Spiny Lizards


Sabino Canyon is crawling with reptiles this time of year. One of my favorites is the colorful and smart looking Desert Spiny Lizard. They are often lounging out in the open, soaking up the sun. Even though spiny lizards are rather large, they blend in and aren't easily noticed.


They can change their coloring to match the weather: dark for cool temperatures and lighter coloring to reflect the hot afternoon sun:
Sorry about the blurry photo below. I wanted to catch this male in action, showing off his expanded throat dewlap and blue belly patches as he was doing push-ups. Lizards do push-ups mainly to display strength. I found a very short YouTube clip of a lizard doing push-ups. It looks like it's on our backyard wall, but it's someone else's.
Here is a pair of male and female spiny lizards. The head of the female sometimes turns orange during breeding season, like this one:
Besides basking on top of rocks, these lizards also like to hang out on walls and tree trunks, with head pointing towards the ground, ready to seek shelter.
Like most lizards, Desert Spinies are peaceful creatures, harmless to humans unless picked up. I like having lizards around the yard. Besides being fun to watch, they eat insects that are considered pests.

22 comments:

Warren said...

Diane, I just recently discovered your blog and really enjoy it. Great pictures!

Jannie Funster said...

Just amazing! Glad to see they keep their upper-body strength up! Drop amd give me 20, Liz!

Cute.

And again, so glad I found your blog. I do not have any desert experience, so I feel I am living it here. Thank you!

Annette said...

Spiny Desert Lizards AND squirrels? I would expect to see lizards in the desert, but not squirrels (referring to your previous post). I can't imagine what it would be like to see large lizards in my Ohio yard! I know my cats would probably run the other way!

deedee said...

You probably don't need to have "pets." You've got so many interesting critters in your backyard (and front).

Icy BC said...

Wow...that is so neat to see! The photos are always amazing, Diane!

Prospero said...

That was very educational. Of course, I thought that I had discovered the lizard push-ups thing myself - but had no idea it was a display of strength (I just thought it was weird or just some quaint anthropomorphism).

Phoenix C. said...

What lovely lizards! 'Crawling with reptiles' sounds fun! I love the way they have their heads pointing towards the ground.

betchai said...

wow, these are very interesting pictures of lizards, i really love how you captured their eyes, looking so intent and deep, I wonder what they are up to. Look at those two lizards on rocks, it is really a big wow, seems like they were resting for you so you can get them a picture, lovely.

Faye said...

I just found your blog through wildlifearoundus.blogspot. Love your photos! I'm crazy about lizards...one of my favorite little creatures. We have a winter home in Ajo, AZ. Not retired yet but do plan to spend winters there eventually. I love the desert and I have a desert blog that I have not yet posted too....you are inspiring me to do so! I'm glad I found your blog, it's so nice to see the desert again...I miss it.

Naturegirl said...

Loved viewing these lizzards! I enjoyed photographing lizzards while I vacationed earlier this Spring in your wonderful state!
I've yet to warm up since arriving home to Canada..Spring has been cold and wet! No lizzards here..only frogs.

Martha Z said...

Your spiny lizards look much fatter than the lizards we have around here. You got some great photos, I love the bright blue underside. Tell Chris his chipmunk in the suguaro is great.

Gaelyn said...

Love the wonderful colors of the spiney lizard.

Lance said...

I love seeing lizards (and we just don't have them here in WI). So - very cool to see some photos of them. My 10 year old son would love wandering around your parts!!

Diane C. said...

Hi, thank you everyone for your comments. I'm not sure why I'm so crazy about lizards. Perhaps it's their temperaments or their thoughtful eyes. Our old cat, Billy, finds lizards and birds amusing, but thankfully doesn't try to chase them anymore.

Kevin said...

Great looking lizards. I found that lizards can be an addicting pastime as well and had many pleasant days looking for them when I was down in the spring. I didn't realize how much colour many of them have at certain times of the year!

Ana said...

That is such a pretty lizard. There used to be quite a collection of lizards briskly walking around, when I was growing up in Portugal. They are so filled with life and joy. You have a beautiful site. :)

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Diane, I'm enjoying catching up on your blog. The cactus pictures are gorgeous --as are the lizard pictures. WOW--I wanna come out there someday!!!

We got home this evening and had a wonderful couple of days in the North Carolina mountains.

Hugs,
Betsy

Barbara Martin said...

Your blog is full of information that any writer of fiction will find useful: as I do. Well done.

Dee said...

Oh such wonderful pictures! I've been seeing more and more lizards around my yard these days, but they are just too fast for my camera! I love the blue bellied ones- I've quite a large guy that hides out in the dead leaves of my century plant.

JRandSue said...

Great blog, enjoyed our visit.

Faye said...

I love lizards too. I'm always trying to get a photo of them. They're just too cute!

lisaschaos said...

So many awesome lizards! My son would be in heaven there!