• Steam rises off of the colorful Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces. Photo courtesy Jacob W. Frank


    National Park ID,MT,WY

Sagebrush lizard

sagebrush lizard
Sagebrush lizard
Scientific name: Sceloporus graciosus graciosus


  • Only lizard in Yellowstone.
  • Maximum size of five inches from snout to the tip of the tail; males have longer tails and may grow slightly larger than females.
  • Gray or light brown with darker brown stripes on the back set inside lighter stripes on the sides, running the length of the body; stripes not always prominent and may appear as a pattern of checks down the back; underside usually cream or white.
  • Males have bright blue patches on the belly and on each side, with blue mottling on the throat.

  • Usually found below 6,000 feet elevation, but in Yellowstone it can live up to 8,300 feet.
  • Populations living in thermally influenced areas are possibly isolated from others.
  • Most common along the lower portions of the Yellowstone River near Gardiner, Montana and upstream to the mouth of Bear Creek; also occurs in Norris Geyser Basin, Shoshone and Heart Lake geyser basins, and other hydrothermal areas.

  • Comes out of hibernation about mid-May and is active through mid-September.
  • Diurnal, generally observed during warm, sunny weather in dry, rocky habitats.
  • During the breeding season, males do push-ups on elevated perches to display their bright blue side patches to warn off other males.
  • Feed on various insects and arthropods.
  • Eaten by bull snakes, wandering garter snakes, rattlesnakes, and some birds.
  • May shed tail when threatened or grabbed.

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