• Lower Cliff Dwelling

    Tonto

    National Monument Arizona

Desert Night Lizard

desert night lizard

Desert Night Lizard

NPS Photo

Desert Night Lizard
Xantusia vigilis

Body length: 1 1/2 - 2 3/4"
Diet: Arthropods such as insects and spiders

Night lizards are secretive lizards, living under downed vegetation and in rock crevices. They were once thought to be extremely rare, and their presence at Tonto National Monument is noteworthy. Biologists studying the ecology of this species in the early 1960's were excited to find night lizards here, and specimens from the Monument can be found in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Individuals have been known to turn up not only in the wild, but in park rangers' residences and the restroom at the Visitor Center.

The vertical pupil of desert night lizards, like cat’s eyes, gives them away as creatures of the night and dark places. Night lizards are live-bearing, with one to three young per brood.

Did You Know?

striped skunk

Four different varieties of skunk have been seen at Tonto National Monument - the hooded, hog-nosed, striped, and spotted. They may look different, but they all smell the same! More...