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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

Did You Know? 19 Incredible Spiny Lizard Facts

Discover interesting spiny lizard facts for kids.

The Sceloporus genus of the Phrynosomatidae family is commonly known as spiny lizards. The genus, Sceloporus, consists of 110 species such as the Texas spiny lizard, desert spiny lizard, crevice spiny lizard, Clark's spiny lizard, granite spiny lizard, yarrow's spiny lizard, yellow-backed spiny lizard, and many more. These lizards are widely distributed in several regions of North America and Central America.

These lizards are primarily found in brown, gray, and rusty colors. An endemic species to the Sonoran Desert and the Chihuahuan Desert, the desert spiny lizard (Sceloporus magister) possesses blue or violet spots on its belly and throat. Also, males of the Texas spiny lizard species have blue patches on the underbelly. Studies reveal that the species of northern regions are smaller than the lizards of southern areas. The average weight and length of these lizards are 0.53 oz (15 g) and 3.5-7.5 in (9-19 cm), respectively.

These lizards generally dwell in grasslands, shrublands, and hardwood forests. They are often found basking on rocks and fences during the daytime. These spiny lizards are insectivores and prey on beetles, weevils, ladybugs, spiders, centipedes and ants.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed several species of spiny lizards in the Least Concern category.

Let's read more interesting facts about the spiny lizard and if you found this article interesting, don't forget to check out exciting information about different animals like the lava lizard and the caiman lizard.

Spiny Lizard Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a spiny lizard?

The Sceloporus genus is commonly known as spiny lizards. Species such as green spiny lizards, desert spiny lizards, Texas spiny lizards, yellow-backed spiny lizards, and many more are included in this genus. These lizards are known for having blue patches on the underbelly.

What class of animal does a spiny lizard belong to?

Spiny lizards belong to the class of Reptilia, the family of Phrynosomatidae, and the Sceloporus genus.  

How many spiny lizards are there in the world?

The exact population of spiny lizards is not known, however, these lizards are widely distributed in several regions of North and Central America.

Where does a spiny lizard live?

The species of spiny lizards are found in several countries such as the United States and Mexico. The desert spiny lizard (scientific name Sceloporus magister) is native to the Sonoran Desert and the Chihuahuan Desert, while the Texas spiny lizard (Sceloporus olivaceus) is native to the south-central United States. Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, California, Texas, Coahuila are a few states where these lizards inhabit.

What is a spiny lizard's habitat?

These lizards generally dwell in grasslands, shrublands, and hardwood forests. They are often found basking on rocks and fences during the daytime. During the summer months, tree trunks also serve as their habitat.

Who do spiny lizards live with?

Like other lizards, the Texas spiny lizard or Clark's spiny lizard, or any other species are solitary and prefer to live alone. This lizard is diurnal and often basks on woodpiles, trees, and fence posts. During the breeding season, males and females come together.

How long does a spiny lizard live?

The average Texas spiny lizard life span is around four years, while some species may live longer if kept in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

Spiny lizards are polygynous which means males mate with multiple females in the breeding season. The breeding season of desert spiny lizard (Sceloporus magister) generally occurs during the spring and summer seasons, while the mating season of most species begins in the month of April. Adult males generally attract females by flashing their blue patches and secreting pheromones.

The gestation period of these reptiles generally lasts for around two months. Newly matured females generally lay one clutch while older females lay two to four clutches every year. The number of spiny lizard eggs in a clutch range from two to 12 and no parental care is involved. Both male and female lizards reach sexual maturity after one to two years of birth.

What is their conservation status?

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed several species of spiny lizards in the Least Concern category. Predators such as snakes, birds, reptiles, and amphibians often prey on these lizards.

Spiny Lizard Fun Facts

What do spiny lizards look like?

The Texas spiny lizard, a species of spiny lizards or Sceloporus, has red-brown spots down the back. Spiny lizards are primarily found in brown, gray, and rusty colors and the males possess blue patches on the underbelly. The color patterns of their bodies help them to deceive their predators.

These rare spiny lizard facts will make you love them.

How cute are they?

An unknown fact about male spiny lizards is the way they show their superiority. They will do push-ups and head-bobs to show their dominance. The spiny texture of their scales makes them more attractive.

How do they communicate?

Like other lizards, spiny lizards follow the same methods of communication. Males are quite territorial and generally puff themselves up to ward off intruders. During the breeding season, males secrete pheromones and do push-ups, and perform several other courtship displays to attract their partners. Also, numerous tactile, visual, and chemical cues are used to get an idea of their surroundings.

How big is a spiny lizard?

The average weight and length of these lizards are 0.53 oz (15 g) and 3.5-7.5 in (9-19 cm), respectively. These lizards are medium in length but are three times bigger than the barton springs salamander and the dwarf salamander.

How fast can a spiny lizard move?

The exact speed of these reptiles is not known, but they have the ability of cryptic coloration or camouflage. Also, these lizards move quite rapidly in the summer season.

How much does a spiny lizard weigh?

The average weight of a spiny lizard is around 0.53 oz (15 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names given to adult male and female spiny lizards. Both males and females are similar in size, but people generally identify males by looking at the blue patches on the underbelly.

What would you call a baby spiny lizard?

No specific name has been given to the babies of spiny lizards.  

What do they eat?

The spiny lizard diet includes insects such as beetles, weevils, ladybugs, spiders, centipedes, ants, and worms. They are often preyed upon by snakes, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

Are they poisonous?

No, spiny lizards are not poisonous and do not pose any threats to humans, but males can attack if someone tries to threaten or harm them. These reptiles are very territorial as well.

Would they make a good pet?

Unlike other reptiles, spiny lizards are considered awesome pets as they easily adapt to captivity. While talking about spiny lizard care, if you provide a lizard with a large cage, rocks, suitable diet, and a source of heat, your spiny lizard will live much longer. These things are very crucial for a healthy lifestyle. One can find a spiny lizard pet in any reputable pet shop.

Did you know...

Due to the presence of spiny scales, these lizards are known as scaly lizards.

The spiny-tailed lizard belongs to the Uromastyx genus and the species found in Asia has been moved in another genus known as Saara.

Around 19 species of lizards are found in Colorado.

What are the different types of spiny lizards?

There are 110 species in the Sceloporus or spiny lizards genus. Some of the species are the Texas spiny lizard, desert spiny lizard, blue spiny lizard, crevice spiny lizard, Clark's spiny lizard, green spiny lizard, granite spiny lizard, yarrow's spiny lizard, and yellow-backed spiny lizard.

Do spiny lizards have teeth?

Yes, spiny lizards do have teeth and can bite if they feel threatened.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles from our frilled lizard facts and Texas horned lizard facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable spiny lizard coloring pages.

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