Sagebrush Lizard

A spiny lizard nearly blends in with gravel and pine needles on ground
The sagebrush lizard is one of six reptile species found in the park.

NPS

 

Scientific Name

Sceloporus graciosus

Identification

  • Only lizard in Yellowstone.
  • Maximum size of five inches from snout to 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.

Habitat

  • Usually found below 6,000 feet but in Yellowstone lives 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, Shoshone, and Heart Lake geyser basins, and other hydrothermal areas.

Behavior

  • Come out of hibernation about mid-May and 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 bullsnakes, terrestrial garter snakes, prairie rattlesnakes, and some birds.
  • May shed tail when threatened or grabbed.
 
The head of a brown spotted snake among grass

Reptiles

There are six reptile species in Yellowstone.

A tan and black snake on a rocky surface

Bullsnake

Bullsnakes are often mistaken for rattlesnakes because of their appearance and behavior.

A tan and brown spotted snake with rattler in a coil

Prairie Rattlesnake

Prairie rattlesnakes are the only dangerously venomous snakes in Yellowstone.

A dark gray, tan, and white striped lizard with small spikes on gravel

Sagebrush Lizard

The sagebrush lizard is the only lizard in Yellowstone.

A black and white snake on dead grass

Common Gartersnake

Common gartersnakes are only found in southern parts of the park.

A white and tan striped snake with black dots on a rock

Terrestrial Gartersnake

Terrestrial gartersnakes are the most common reptile in Yellowstone.

Last updated: June 14, 2017

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P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168

Phone:

(307) 344-7381

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