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The chuckwalla is a large, fat lizard which grows up to 16 inches in length and is easily identified by the loose folds of skin on the neck and sides. The color varies between the sexes and with the age of the lizard. Adult males have dark heads and forelegs with a black, red, orange, gray or yellow trunk. Females and young chuckwallas may have yellow or gray bands.

Natural History

Chuckwallas prefer to live in rocky areas, and are found throughout the deserts of the US and Mexico. The lizards hibernate during the winter months, usually emerging as days warm in mid to late February.

Chuckwallas sometimes avoid predators by hiding in a rock crevice then swallowing air to make their bodies expand, wedging them tight.

They are mainly herbivorous, but will also consume an occasional insect. In the summer, females will lay an average of 6 eggs. Babies typically emerge in late September.

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