• Lower Cliff Dwelling

    Tonto

    National Monument Arizona

Western Banded Gecko

western banded gecko

Western Banded Gecko

NPS Photo

Western Banded Gecko
Coleonyx variegatus

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

With their colorful banded pattern and deliberate movements, western banded geckos are sometimes confused with young Gila monsters. However, geckos are much smaller, more delicate, and not venomous.

Like a number of other lizards, geckos readily lose their tail to predators. This detached tail continues to wriggle long after the rest of the lizard has made its escape, thus confusing the predator. Though they may be active underground during the day, western banded geckos and desert night lizards are the only truly nocturnal lizards at the Monument. Look for them throughout Tonto Basin on warm summer nights.

Did You Know?

crested saguaro

Tonto National Monument is home to a crested saguaro. Botanists disagree as to why some saguaros grow in this unusual form. Some speculate that it is a genetic mutation. Others say it is the result of lightning or freeze damage. About one in 150,000 saguaros develop this unusual growth.