“How many COLLARED lizards are there in Texas?”
Collared Lizards are aptly named. They have thick, dark bands around their necks that look like a pet collar!
These long, colorfully patterned lizards are some of the most fascinating creatures in our area!
Today, you’ll learn the 2 kinds of collared lizards in Texas.
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#1. Eastern Collared Lizard
- Crotaphytus collaris
- 3-4.75 inches long from snout to vent. (Length does not include the tail)
- This lizard has a large, broad head and chunky body with a round tail.
- There are 2 dark collars on the neck, a thinner one near the head and a thicker one near the body.
- Coloring is variable; greenish-blue, olive, brown, or yellow are all common. Females are generally darker and less colorful.
Eastern Collared Lizards can be found in western Texas in desert shrubland, open juniper-pinon forest, and grassland. They prefer areas with rocks for basking, open space for running, and lots of sunlight.
The Eastern Collared Lizard is wildly territorial!
Adult males will not live in the same area, and if they’re placed in the same enclosure, they will fight to the death. You might see them displaying dominance by standing on their hind legs, inflating their throat, and weaving from side to side.
Eastern Collared Lizards aren’t just aggressive toward one another – they are also powerful predators! Their sharp teeth and strong jaws make catching a meal easy. They have been known to eat large insects, reptiles, and even other Collared Lizards!
#2. Reticulate Collared Lizard
- Crotaphytus reticulatus
- Up to 5.5 inches long from snout to vent. (Length does not include the tail)
- Coloring is yellowish, with dots that form its characteristic fishnet pattern. The dots range in color from light tan to black.
- Males have black bars on the neck and bright yellow chest markings when breeding.
- Breeding females have brick red bars on the back and sometimes a pink tint to the throat.
This species is the only type of collared lizard that is not restricted to rocky habitats.
They live in desert scrubland, mesquite groves, and prickly pear cactus patches. They prefer hot, sunny weather, and you can usually see them basking in the heat of the day.
Reticulate Collared Lizards are easy to spot in southern Texas because of their unique pattern.
However, you’ll have difficulty finding one because this is the only Collared Lizard species whose population is threatened. Their range is in decline because of the loss of their habitat due to human development.
Do you need additional help identifying collared lizards?
Try this field guide!
Which of these collared lizards have you seen before in Texas?
Leave a comment below!