• Lower Cliff Dwelling

    Tonto

    National Monument Arizona

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  • Visitor Center is closed

    The Visitor Center and bookstore will be closed for several weeks for construction. A temporary Visitor Center will be set up in the parking lot. The trail to the Lower Cliff Dwelling will be open during this period. No entrance fees will be collected.

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?

old photo of the Lower Cliff Dwellings

The first known written record of the cliff dwellings at Tonto National Monument dates from 1880. Archeologist Adolph Bandelier visited the dwellings in 1883, and said they were some of the best preserved he had ever seen. More...