Animal Fact Sheet:  Collared Lizard

Identifying Features

The collared lizard (Crotaphytus collaris) is distinguished by the two black collars around its neck. Adult males have bright green scales as well as tan, olive, brown, bluish and yellow scales. Females are less colorful than the males. Both have whitish bellies and large heads.


Collared lizards are one of only a few lizards that are able to run using only their hind legs. They are very fast with a stride up to three times their body length. They also do not lose their tail very easily, but if they do, it does not grow back.


These lizards are found in a wide variety of habitats including sagebrush, desertscrub, pinyon-juniper and desert grasslands. They prefer the rocky areas of these habitats as well as areas with open vegetation.


The collared lizard is found as far east as Missouri; through Utah, Nevada, southeastern California; throughout Arizona, and in parts of New Mexico. It is also found in northern Mexico including eastern Baja California.

Wild Status

Currently, they are not listed as threatened or endangered.


Not only do they eat insects such as grasshoppers and crickets, but they also eat other lizards, including other collared lizards!


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.

Life Span

The average life span is between 5-8 years.


Collared lizards can reach a size of 10 inches in length with the males being larger than the females.

Extra Fun-facts

  • 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 anywhere from 1-13 eggs in the early summer. The parents do not care for the babies when they emerge from their eggs; the hatchlings are on their own.

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