A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California

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Night Lizards, Xantusia, Found In California

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Small lizards with soft skin, and smooth granular scales, found under objects and on rocks and walls at night.

Granite Night Lizard - Xantusia henshawi
The Granite Night Lizard is flat-bodied with large dark spots on a light background.
It is typically seen on large boulders at night, underneath pieces of rock on top of boulders, or in cracks in boulders. It may be dark in color during the daytime, and lighter when active at night.
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Light phase

Dark phase Red: Distribution of Granite Night Lizard in California
Sandstone Night Lizard - Xantusia gracilis
The Sandstone Night Lizard similar to the Granite Night Lizard.
It is only found in a very small area of sandstone rock formations in Anza-Borrego State Park.
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    Red dot: Distribution of Sandstone Night Lizard

Desert Night Lizard - Xantusia vigilis
The Desert Night Lizard is thin, and green, gray or brown, with speckles or blotches.
It is secretive and typically found underneath fallen yucca, joshua tree branches, or other debris.
It is not usually found active on the surface day or night.
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    Red: Distribution of Desert Night Lizards in California

Sierra Night Lizard - Xantusia sierrae
The Sierra Night Lizard inhabits a very small area of large rock outcrops in Kern County.
Related to the Yucca Night Lizard, its blotches often form a network on the back.
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    Blue: Distribution of Sierra Night Lizards

Baja Californa Night Lizard - Xantusia wigginsi
The Baja California Night Lizard is similar in appearance to the Desert Night Lizard, but in California it only occurs in a small area near the border with Baja California from Scissors Crossing in San Diego County, south to a location east of Jacumba. It ranges farther south to the Vizcaino region of Baja California del Sur. To confuse matters, X. v. vigilis was also found south of Scissors Crossing in Mason Valley and Little Blair Valley, so caution is needed when identifying this species in California.
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    Red dots: Distribution of Baja California Night Lizards in California

Island Night Lizard - Xantusia riversiana
This large, fat-bodied night lizard is only found on several of the Channel Islands where it can be very
abundant underneath surface objects. Although it is active in the daytime, it is rarely observed on the surface. Two subspecies are recognized. Only one is covered here.
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    Red and Green: Distribution of Island Night Lizards

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