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Desert Iguana

Lizards, Reptiles

   They can tolerate high heat, up to 110 degrees in the sun in the desert. More so than any other lizard that lives in the desert. Not all of them are friendly, meaning they may run away. They would never attack you and they don't have teeth anyway. Not like the teeth you think of. They do have sharp claws - more on this later.  Many people adopt them and make pets out of them.
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   While Iguana's seem to be very docile reptiles, they show another side of their nature when trying to go after a female or trying to dominate a territory. A herpetologist told us that this is something that has never been photographed before and is seldom seen. We were very lucky to be able to witness and document two of these lizards getting ready and then actually fighting over a territory. While one looks more bloody, he is the one that won and drove the other one off. They use their back claws to rip open the opposition and it can apparently get really bloody and do some damage. The one that is the bloodiest is not necessarily the winner, as was the case here.  We've slowed the fight sequence part of the slideshow down for your convenience. 

Physical Attributes, Coloration

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   These two Desert Iguana's above both live in the same area, but look different. The tail of the Iguana above is different. See the enlargement. He lost his tail and grew it back. The rejuvenated section does not have it's original markings..
   This should help you find and identify this species of lizard. Iguana's are one of the best looking lizards in the desert. Keep your eyes open.
   This Desert Iguana is about the same age as the one to the left and is no different except for the tail. This Iguana never lost his tail and it still has it's natural markings. Losing a tail is not a big deal and can save their life when getting away from a predator.

( Dipsosaurus dorsalis )

Desert Iguana
One of the friendliest lizards in the desert.
Desert Iguanas
Desert Iguana
Desert Iguana
   Often you'll find Desert Iguana's in bushes. During the day they are there to feed on seeds that they like. At night during a really bad heat wave they'll climb into the brush to get any small breeze they can and cool off. Iguana's eat seeds and flowers, once in a while an insect. See the images to the right so you'll know what to look for.
Desert Iguana
   Often lizards will have different color variants depending on the environment they live in. As you can see by the examples to the right their color often reflects that. These two lizards lived within 1/4 mile of each other, but in different environments. One in the open desert, the other in volcanic rocks.
Desert Iguana
Desert Iguana
   Feces should be recognizable if you are going to look for lizards in the desert. This feces is darker than a Chuckwalla and smaller, plus there is a bigger urine sack that is almost pure white. These lizards expel a solid form of urine which looks like a white sack. This will eventually dissolve. See the enlargement..
   Look at the enlargement for a better view. Right behind her back leg you'll see that she is expelling a white urine sack. They expel a sold form of urine to save on bodily fluids. These sacks contain a small amount of liquid and if the lizard becomes really heat stressed they will eat that urine sack to replenish body fluids.

Color Variants

Habitat, Feeding Habits

Making friends with a Desert Iguana

Desert Iguana Slideshow

Mating Fight, Slideshow

   In this slideshow you'll meet Iggy, a Desert Iguana. Iggy quickly learned his name and would come to us when called. Unbelievable I know, but true. Look at the video and decide for yourself. Others that have had pet lizards will understand. Sometimes when given something to eat he would leave it on the ground and attack it in a playful manner. 
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