2 Collared Lizards Found in Utah! (ID Guide)
“How many COLLARED lizards are there in Utah?”
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 Utah.
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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 Utah in desert shrubland, open juniper-pinon forest, and grassland. They prefer areas with rocks for basking, open space for running, and lots of sunlight.
USGS – United States Geological Survey
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. Great Basin Collared Lizard
- Crotaphytus bicinctores
- 3.5-4.5 inches long from snout to vent. (Length does not include the tail)
- Coloring is brown to grayish with small white dots and dashes all over the back.
- Two dark collar markings edged in white appear on the neck.
- Males often have crossbands in pink and orange, a bluish-gray throat, and black patches on the neck. Females lack these markings.
Look for Great Basin Collared Lizards in the Unites States in desert habitats with little plant life.
You can find them near rocky outcroppings, which they use for basking to warm themselves and as a shelter to hide from predators.
Here’s an interesting fact: Younger males sometimes pretend to be pregnant to avoid fighting with an older, stronger adversary!
Female Great Basin Collared Lizards develop bright orange markings when nesting, and male juveniles sometimes develop similar markings as a defensive strategy. What a creative way to stay out of trouble!
Do you need additional help identifying collared lizards?
Try this field guide!
Which of these collared lizards have you seen before in Utah?
Leave a comment below!