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.



Scientific Name

Sceloporus graciosus


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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


There are six reptile species in Yellowstone.

A tan and black snake on a rocky surface


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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PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168



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