Collared Lizard Crotaphytus Collaris

The collared lizard, which proliferates in Mexico and the south-central United States including in particular Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, and Kansas, ranges into San Bernardino County, as the full extent of its habitat in the United States spans from the Ozark Mountains to Southern California and eastern Baja California. The collared lizard is the state reptile of Oklahoma, where it is known as the mountain boomer. It is also known as the eastern collared lizard, the common collared lizard, Oklahoma collared lizard or collared lizard.
Known scientifically as Crotaphytus collaris, it can reach 8 to 14 inches in length, including the tail, and has a large head and powerful jaws. A medium-sized collared lizard runs 4.65 inches from snout to vent, with a four to five inch tail. Males are generally larger than females.
Collared lizards are well known for the ability to run on their hind legs, looking like small theropod dinosaurs. At top speeds this lizard lifts the forelimbs off the ground and runs on its hind limbs. They share two-legged mobility with a handful of other lizards, including the frilled lizard and basilisk. They are relatively fast sprinters, capable of reaching speeds of around 16 miles per hour, which is somewhat slower than the world record for lizards, 21.5 mph, which is credited to the larger-bodied Costa Rican spiny-tailed iguana, Ctenosaura similis. Collared lizards have a stride up to three times their body length.
The name “collared lizard” comes from the lizard’s distinct coloration, which includes bands of black around the neck and shoulders that look like a collar. Adult males have bright green scales as well as tan, olive, brown, bluish and yellow scales. Females are less colorful than the males, but females do have orange markings on their sides. Both have whitish bellies. Males have a blue-green body with a light brown head. Females have a light brown head and body. The head and feet are often tinted with yellow and the back is usually marked with many light dots. This pattern reverses on the tail and hind limbs, becoming dark gray to blue-green dots on a light background. The front limbs usually lack spots. The inside of the mouth and throat are often black. The tail is round in cross-section distinguishing this lizard from the similar Great Basin Collared Lizard.
Collared lizards are silent.
These lizards do not lose their tail very easily, but if they do it does not grow back.
Collared lizards are found in a wide variety of habitats, including sagebrush, desertscrub, pinyon-juniper stands, interior chaparral and desert grasslands. They prefer the rocky areas of these habitats as well as areas with open vegetation. They adhere mostly to elevations ranging from 1,400 feet to about 8,500 feet.
The collared lizard is often seen basking atop large rocks or boulders in the mid-morning sun. It hibernates during the cold months of winter and late fall. Unlike many of our lizards collared lizards can not cast off and regenerate the tail.
They eat insects such as grasshoppers and crickets, using their powerful jaws on their prey, which also include spiders, other lizards, and small snakes. It also occasionally eats plant material including berries, leaves, and flowers. Predators can include other lizards, birds such as roadrunners, as well as coyotes, house cats and other carnivorous mammals. These lizards prefer spending most of their time on and around rocky areas. These areas provide shelter from the sun and predators. Their average life span is five to eight years. When the female lizard is carrying eggs she develops bright red splotches of color on her body. This color will disappear after she has laid the eggs.
The female will lay a clutch of anywhere from 1-14 eggs in the early summer.
Their reptilian nature accounts for some behaviors that seem brutal by human standards. Collard lizard parents do not care for the babies when they emerge from their eggs. The hatchlings are on their own. Indeed, Collard lizards will eat other collared lizards. Collared lizards are territorial and aggressive to other males. In captivity, if two males are placed in the same cage they will fight to the death. It does not hesitate to bite when captured and it can easily draw blood with its powerful jaws.

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