Sunday, October 28, 2012

Desert Iguana

Dipsosaurus dorsalis
The name "Iguana" usually brings up images of gigantic green lizards hanging out in rainforests. Today's Iguana is a little bit different, sporting a dry desert habitat and sandy-colored, brown spotted scales. He is the appropriately named Desert Iguana, and he hails from the Southwestern United States.

Desert Iguanas are actually incredibly common throughout their range, and even though temperatures can hit well over 115° F (46° C) they are still most active during the daytime. If temperatures do get exceptionally high they seek out shade. Shady areas include burrows that they build or take over after other animals (like foxes) have abandoned them.

The yellow flowers of the Creosote Bush are their favorite food, but they eat many other plants as well. They will additionally feed on insects here and there, as well as on carrion and on feces pellets (yuck?). They breed from April to May, laying up to 10 eggs at a time. The hatchlings emerge around September.

IUCN Status : Not Listed
Location : Southwest United States
Size : Length up to 16in (41cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Sauropsida -- Order : Squamata
Family : Iguanidae -- Genus : Dipsosaurus -- Species : D. dorsalis

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