Copyright R. Wiles
Many people believe the desert is a barren, dry place with little life. How wrong they are! Although a desert does have scorching sun and little rain, many animals both survive and thrive in these environments—and White Sands National Monument is no exception.
The rest of the monument's reptiles tend to stay mostly in the high desert scrub areas where there is plenty of vegetation, although some do wander around the interdunal areas where smaller plants and grasses grow quite profusely. The reason for this is that prey animals such as small rodents and birds tend to stay near the vegetation. The plants also provide a place for them to retreat from the sun should they happen to be out during the day.
Copyright Vicente Mata Silva
Some of the other lizards at the monument include the Common Checkered Whiptail and the Common Side-Blotched Lizard. The Common Checkered Whiptail grows to only about two to four inches long. Interestingly, this all-female species is asexual and reproduces via parthenogenesis, which means that the development of an embryo within the egg occurs without the need for fertilization.
NPS Photo/Fort Union