“What kinds of spiny lizards are there in Nebraska?”
When you hear the name “spiny lizard”, you might picture an animal with long, sharp spikes like a porcupine. I know I did when I first started learning about spiny lizards!
However, the name refers to the lizards’ pointed scales, which look like deadly spikes but are surprisingly soft to the touch.
Today, you’ll learn about the 2 different kinds of spiny lizards in Nebraska.
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#1. Common Sagebrush Lizard
- Sceloporus graciosus
- 1.9 to 3.5 inches long from snout to vent. (Length does not include the tail)
- Coloring is gray or brown with a light stripe on each side, a black bar at the shoulder, and blue patches on the belly.
- Unusually long, almost spidery back claws.
This species is the most widespread spiny lizard in the US, but it only lives in western Nebraska.
Common Sagebrush Lizards are typically found in sagebrush fields, as their name suggests, but you can also find them in grasslands and among dunes. They are most active during daylight hours.
Common Sagebrush Lizard Range Map:
These spiny lizards eat a wide variety of insects and even scorpions! They hibernate during winter when temperatures drop, and food becomes scarce.
The easiest way to tell if you’ve found a Common Sagebrush Lizard is to look at its belly. The brilliant blue spots on its throat and abdomen are a dead giveaway!
#2. Prairie Lizard
- Sceloporus consobrinus
- 3.5 to 7.5 inches long from snout to vent. (Length does not include the tail)
- Coloring is light reddish-brown with a light brown stripe down the spine.
- Orange or red coloring on the lips and chin is sometimes present.
Look for Prairie Lizards in Nebraska in habitats with lots of places to perch, including open forests, tall grass fields, or even dunes. Their diet is made up of insects and spiders they can easily subdue.
Prairie Lizard Range Map:
These spiny lizards are one of the best climbers in their family! In Nebraska, Prairie Lizards spend most of their time off the ground, perched in trees, on fences, and even on sunflowers.
In addition to climbing, Prairie Lizards can run so fast that they are hard to catch. If you see one, you’ll probably have more luck observing from a distance than trying to get up close!
Do you need additional help identifying spiny lizards?
Try this field guide!
Which of these spiny lizards have you seen in Nebraska?
Leave a comment below!