Common Chuckwalla


The Common Chuckwalla (Sauromalus ater) is found throughout the desert habitats of the southwestern United States and northeastern Mexico. This lizard can measure up to 8.5 inches in length, not including the length of its snout and tail. It is not harmful to humans as it is non-venomous; it was a common food source for local Native Americans. The next time you visit the desert be sure to keep your eyes out for this little critter sunning itself on the desert rocks.

Did you know? When scared or threatened the Common Chuckwalla will run into rock crevices and “puff up” its body with air, lodging itself between the rocks.

For more about the Common Chuckwalla, visit the San Diego Natural History Museum’s Amphibian and Reptile Atlas of Peninsular California.

PHOTO CREDIT: Bradford D. Hollingsworth, SDNHM