Desert is full of amazing animals with the outstanding adaptations. Let’s take a look at the list of specific kind of desert animal you must know. Can you imagine them surviving in a very hot and dry environment? One of the noticeable creatures in desert is lizard.
Desert lizards are cold-blooded reptiles, but they are able to survive in the world’s hottest place like deserts. To be able to survive in a very hot and dry place, some adaptations are needed.
One of the adaptations desert lizards have to survive is called thermoregulation. It is a behavioral adaptation which regulates the body temperature of the lizard. When the body temperature is too hot, then they will move into places like shade.
Lizards can be found easily all over the world as they are one of the most widespread creatures. Here is the list of the world’s lizard species. There are 6,000 species of lizards, ranging from the evergreen tropical rainforests to the arid deserts. Let’s meet these 5 most incredible desert lizards.
- Desert Horned Lizard
The first species of desert lizard is the desert horned lizard. Its scientific name is Phrynosoma plathyrhinos. This species of lizard can be found in western North America. Desert horned lizards are noticeable by their sides with flat body, scales extending to each side of their throat.
They also have two dark prominent blotches on their neck. Desert horned lizards have various colors, blending with the surrounding soil, but mostly they can be beige or combination of reddish and dark colors.
Regarding to their diet, they mostly prey upon insects, such as ants, flies, worms and many more. They mostly inhabit the rocky arid areas of plains and hills in the Arizona Upland. They can live up to 5 to 8 years. When these lizards feel threatened, they will puff up their body to look bigger and scare the predator away.
- Gila Monster
Gila Monster (Heloderma suspectum) is one of the only venomous lizards. This lizard can be found in the southwestern United States. It can grow up to 2 feet long and the tail is about 20% of its body size. Do you know that Gila Monster is considered as one of the dangerous lizards in the world?
As one of the species of desert lizards, the Gila monsters can be found in desert for sure. Besides, you can also find this species in oak woodland and they tend to seek shelter in burrows and under rocks. Regarding to their diet, they mostly eat small birds, insects, smaller lizards and eggs.
As one of the only two venomous lizards, Gila monsters have venom in the lower jaw in the modified salivary glands. Fortunately, the venom is not fatal to humans.
- Desert Night Lizard
The Night lizard (Xantusia vigils) is a desert lizard that is commonly found in the east of Sierras, western Arizona and southern Nevada. This lizards are commonly 1,5 to 3 inches long and the same-length tail. Their body is usually grey or light brown, and surprisingly they can easily change their color too.
Have you ever wondered why they are called night lizards? It’s because they are mostly active during nights, but they are also quite active during the day. They mostly prey upon termites, spiders and small insects.
Night lizards are classified as viviparous animals, which means the young develops inside the mother until it is born. They give birth to 1 to 3 live young and they are usually born during August to December.
- Desert Iguana
The Desert iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis) is the inhabitant of the Mojave and Sonoran deserts in Northwestern Mexico and the Southwestern United States.
The body is pale grey with a light brown pattern on its back and sides. The average size of a desert iguana is around 24 inches and the tail is 1.5 times longer than its body. There’s a belief that iguana a descendant of the dinosaurs. Is that true?
Desert iguanas can be easily found in dry bushes, rocky streambeds and tropical forests. They are herbivorous as they consume fruits and buds of perennial and annual plants.
Amazingly, they can survive in high temperatures, in fact, they hatch their eggs at the temperature ranging from 28 to 38 Celsius degree. They are able to lay around 3 to 8 eggs and the hatchlings are mostly born in September.
- Zebra-tailed Lizard
Zebra-tailed lizards are named that way because of the tails they have. The tails are white with black crossbars, just like zebra pattern. They are native to Northwestern Mexico and the Southwestern United States. They can be found mostly in rocky areas, plain lands and scattered vegetation.
Apart from the tail, they also have grey and sandy brown color body. They are about 2 to 4 inches long. The distinctive feature of the males and the females is the presence of blue patch in the bellies which only occur in the males. The females are able to lay 2 to 8 eggs which usually hatch in July to November.
Regarding to their diet, they feed on insects, ants, spiders, buds, flowers and also smaller lizards.
Though it is not a desert lizard, komodo dragon is also a species of lizard that is known to be the largest in the world. This komodo dragon can be found in Indonesia.