• Lower Cliff Dwelling

    Tonto

    National Monument Arizona

Desert Spiny Lizard

desert spiny lizard

Desert Spiny Lizard

NPS Photo

Desert Spiny Lizard
Sceloporus magister

Body length: 3 1/4 - 5 1/2"
Diet: Insects, lizards, and sometimes plant parts

The desert spiny lizard is found primarily on rocks and in sandy desert on the lower bajada slopes, whereas Clark's spiny lizards are found in trees at higher elevations. Both species occur in the area of the Visitor Center.

These two species share a distinct appearance: a dark, large head, a black shoulder wedge, heavy limbs, a spiny appearance, and a short tail. The "spines" are actually rough scales that no doubt make them a hard swallow for many predators.

Did You Know?

snow in the desert

Tonto National Monument averages 15" of rain annually. Snow is a rare occurrence, but as long as temperatures remain above freezing, the saguaros don't seem to mind!