Lesson Plan

Leapin' Lizards

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Biodiversity, Biology: Animals, Conservation, Ecology
30 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 36


Through many years of changing habitats and adapting to their surroundings, most of our lizards are white in coloration. Take a look at a whiptail and some of the interesting patterns and colors that have been produced through selection and breeding over hundreds of years. Invent your own lizard with colors that would help him hide in your choice of environment!


* Students will learn how animals adapt to their environment over time
* Students will learn how coloration helps an animal to blend into its environment in order to hide from predators or to hunt prey.


Many animals at White Sands have adapted to be of a lighter color to fit their environment. In fact, there are three species of lizards that have adapted to the white dunes within the monument: the Bleached Earless Lizard, the Little White Whiptail, and the Southwestern Plateau Lizard. In the high desert scrub that grows around the dunefield, these three species exhibit a very dark brown color. Those lizards who live within the dunes (of the same species) have adapted a lighter coloration that lets them blend in with the light colored sand. This helps them hide from predators like the Roadrunner and the Great Horned Owl. 


Provided in this lesson plan are a list of materials needed, a coloring sheet and a lizard template that students can cut out and color. You will need to provide white glue, colored tissue paper squares, and un-sharpened pencils.

Last updated: February 24, 2015