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A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California






Lizard Behavior and Life History - Movement, Tracks and Signs

 









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Lizard Movement
       
lizard lizard lizard lizard
In this video, a Reticulate Gila Monster crawls around, flicking its tongue.


This night video shows a Desert Banded Gecko crawling slowly and waving its tail back and forth. In this video, a California Alligator Lizard is discovered under a board on a sunny spring afternoon. It tries to bite, crawls across the ground in snake-like fashion, attempts to climb inside or over the camera, sticks out its tongue, then ducks back under its board. This video shows a Flat-tailed Horned Lizard running rapidly and quickly burying itself in sand with a final fast shake of its short flat tail.
This video shows a large fast-moving adult Blunt-nosed Leopard Lizard resting at the mouth of its burrow then running off into its sparseley-vegetated habitat.     In this video, two different Coast Horned Lizards are shown running quickly for a short distance then stopping to hide by blending in with the background, a typical defensive behavior for horned lizards. In this video, a Colorado Desert Fringe-toed Lizard runs slowly, then very quickly over the hot sand.   This video shows a gravid female Sonoran Earless Lizard lowering herself onto her belly and shaking her legs. This might help regulate her temperature. Next we see a male basking on a rock.
This video shows a large fast-moving adult Blunt-nosed Leopard Lizard resting at the mouth of its burrow then running off into its sparseley-vegetated habitat.

In this video, two different Coast Horned Lizards are shown running quickly for a short distance then stopping to hide by blending in with the background, a typical defensive behavior for horned lizards. In this video, a Colorado Desert Fringe-toed Lizard runs slowly, then very quickly over the hot sand. This video shows a gravid female Sonoran Earless Lizard lowering herself onto her belly and shaking her legs. This might help regulate her temperature. Next we see a male basking on a rock.
In this video, an adult Mearns' Rock Lizard shows its rock climbing and jumping skills, finally doing a defensive push-up display. Next, a juvenile lizard crawls around the face of a massive rock. This video shows the slow jerky movements typical of whiptails such as this Great Basin Whiptail. This video of a Plateau Tiger whiptailshows typical whiptail behavior - slowly walking around, foraging for food at the edge of vegetation, and stopping to dig for food, then racing off across open ground to another location to continue. In this short video, a large old Panamint Alligator Lizard crawls around in a brush pile at a desert spring , then jumps off and hangs from his tail and hind legs before dropping to the ground and running away.
In this video, an adult Mearns' Rock Lizard shows its rock climbing and jumping skills, finally doing a defensive push-up display. Next, a juvenile lizard crawls around the face of a massive rock. This video shows the slow jerky movements typical of whiptails such as this Great Basin Whiptail. This video of a Plateau Tiger whiptailshows typical whiptail behavior - slowly walking around, foraging for food at the edge of vegetation, and stopping to dig for food, then racing off across open ground to another location to continue. In this short video, a large old Panamint Alligator Lizard crawls around in a brush pile at a desert spring , then jumps off and hangs from his tail and hind legs before dropping to the ground and running away.
Plateau Striped Whiptails seach and dig for food, then defecate. What goes in, must come out... lizard lizard lizard
Plateau Striped Whiptails seach and dig for food, then defecate. What goes in, must come out...


Every time I picked up a tiny Pygmy Short-Horned Lizard and set it down to try to film it in motion, it ran away quickly then stopped only a few feet away, where it remained still until I went to pick it up again, even though there were small bushes nearby that it could have run into to hide. The lizard was not relying on speed to escape, it was relying on its ability to blend in quickly with the background, expecting that I would not see it.
This large Lace Monitor in Australia is capable of climbing very high up a tree.
Lizards Without Legs
These lizards move on their bellies like a snake.
Baja California Legless Lizard lizard lizard lizard
Baja California Legless Lizard Burton's Legless Lizard The Australian Western Hooded Scaly-foot is a legless lizard that crawls on its belly like a snake, but if you look closely you can see that it has small scaley vestigial limbs.
California Legless Lizard California Legless Lizard California Legless Lizard California Legless Lizard
Adult Southern California Legless Lizard, with a recently-detached tail,
Bakersfield Legless Lizard Temblor Legless Lizard Black Legless Lizard
California Legless Lizard California Legless Lizard California Legless Lizard California Legless Lizard
A Southern California Legless Lizard writhes around rapidly on a board in this video. Accustomed to living on soft sand it can easily burrow into, it has difficulty moving on the hard surface. This short video shows Black Legless Lizards burrowing into sand. This video shows a Southern California Legless Lizard crawling then quickly burrowing into loose soil. This short video shows a Bakersfield Legless Lizard crawling and burrowing into loose soil.
     
Lizard Tracks and other Signs of Their Presence
       
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Fringe-toed prints Whiptail tracks Fringe-toed tracks Lizard tracks
tracks scat carcass  
Desert Iguana tracks

Horned lizard scat Iguana carcass  
       

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