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Long-nosed leopard lizards are some of the most interesting leopard lizards! To camouflage better with their surroundings, they have dark spots on their bodies. They can even be dark or light-colored based on their geographic range and are capable of changing to darker colors to further blend in with their surroundings. They are an excellent ambush predator of small insects, rodents, and even some lizards of their own kind. These reptiles have also adapted many techniques to escape from their own predators, such as camouflage, freezing, and running at alarming speeds. They have a wide range spread across the deserts and other arid areas of a number of states in the western United States such as California, southern Utah, Nevada, and southern Arizona. They are also commonly found in Baja California in northern Mexico. These leopard lizards are reported to be quite active in the spring and summer months and are seen basking in the early mornings on rocks or other objects on the ground. Later during the day, they wait in a bush or a low shrub to ambush their prey.
There are certain threats to the population of long-nosed leopard lizards, such as habitat degradation from agricultural and commercial development. However, their population is estimated to be stable and they are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List.
The long-nosed leopard lizard (Gambelia wislizenii) is a type of lizard.
This leopard lizard belongs to the class Reptilia and family Crotaphytidae, which mostly consists of desert-dwelling reptiles like lizards.
The exact number of long-nosed leopard lizards in the world is hard to calculate but their total population is estimated to be more than 100,000 adults.
This species of leopard lizards are found in many major North American deserts in the western United States such as the Great Basin in Nevada and the Mojave Desert in California. They are also spotted in the states of Utah, Idaho, New Mexico, southern Arizona, and West Texas. They have a large distribution in Mexico in states like Baja California, Sonora, and Zacatecas. They have been seen living at elevations up to 6,500 ft (1,980 m).
The long-nosed leopard lizard (Gambelia wislizenii) is one of the many ground-dwelling reptiles, and mostly inhabits arid and semi-arid areas like a desert or semi-desert, and can even be found in a terrestrial or valley habitat. They are known to live in shrubs, bunch grass, alkali bush, sagebrush, and other low plants. They prefer areas that have rodent burrows, in which they will lay eggs and live during the colder months when they will be inactive. While escaping from their predators, trying to ambush prey, or looking for food, they will hide in a bush and lay flat, trying to merge with their surroundings. However, they only prefer low and not dense vegetation in their habitats as they require open spaces for running.
This species lives alone or independently except for in the breeding season when the male and female lizards come together to reproduce. In fact, these lizards are known for being cannibalistic, which means that they will eat another leopard lizard or a young lizard if given the opportunity.
Though the lifespan of this species of lizards is not known, reptiles like leopard lizards, in general, are estimated to live five to seven years.
The breeding season for these lizards varies according to their geographic range but mostly falls in the months of May to July. Males usually become sexually mature after two hibernations. During this breeding season, females develop red or orange spots on their heads, bodies, and tails. These spots vanish after the female has laid eggs. Around five to six eggs are laid in a burrow, and young lizards hatch out of those in July or August, after an incubation period of five to seven weeks. August is also the month most adults start to become inactive.
Though their numbers are under threat due to several reasons, their population is stable, and they have been classified as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List.
The long-nosed leopard lizards can be of many colors according to their range as they change their colors to blend into their habitat. However, their phases or morphs can be divided into two: light and dark. In their light phase, they can be brown or cream-colored with dark leopard-like spots. In their darker phases, they can be dark brown or gray, and the spots are light-colored and light crossbars can be seen on their body and tail. They have a large head and snout, and a very long tail. Young lizards have higher contrast in colors and have reddish spots that turn darker as they grow.
These small leopard lizards may look a little scary but are sure to intrigue someone who loves lizards and other reptiles.
These are one of the few species of lizards that can emit a sound when attacked. This noise is said to sound like a wail.
The body length of an average adult lizard is 3.2-5.7 in (8.3-14.6 cm), making them smaller than a sand lizard. However, the tail of a leopard lizard can be even longer than its body.
The speed with which these lizards move is not known but they are known to run at a very high speed for small-bodied individuals like these. While they run, they raise their forelimbs and only use their hind legs to run.
An average adult long-nosed leopard lizard (Gambelia wislizenii) can weigh about 3.4 oz (96.8 g).
There are no special names for the males and females of this species.
There are no specific names for a baby leopard lizard but they can be called hatchlings when they are born, and juveniles when they are a bit older but not an adult yet.
These leopard lizards hunt and ambush prey such as small snakes, insects like grasshoppers or beetles, spiders, rodents, and may even consume another leopard lizard if they have to. When food is scarce, they might also feed on berries and leaves.
G. wislizenii are not considered particularly dangerous but will bite a human being if they mishandle or try to harm them. Their bite, though not poisonous, can hurt as they bite with a strong jaw.
It is unclear whether these lizards will make a good pet.
G. wislizenii, like many other lizards, are capable of separating their tail in a process called self-amputation. This is often done when predators like snakes are about to catch them.
These lizards are called so because of their big heads and snouts. This species is often confused with another lizard from their genus, the blunt-nosed leopard lizard (G. sila), as both of them are commonly found in California. These two lizards have a very similar appearance except for the size of their heads. The long-nosed lizard has a bigger head and snout than the G. sila.
No, this leopard lizard species is not endangered. In fact, their population is stable enough within their range to be classified as Least Concern.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these lava lizard facts and monitor lizard facts for kids.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable long nosed leopard lizard coloring pages.
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