The southern alligator lizard is one of the largest lizards in Washington. It can be up to 12 inches long, half of which is the long, slender tail. It is usually light or medium brown with variable cross-bars on the back and some black and white spots along the sides. All alligator lizards have a fold of skin along the lower sides, where the scales of the belly meet the scales of the back; this fold expands when the lizards breaths deeply (as in the picture above) or eats a lot. Southern alligator lizards have faint, thin black stripes on the belly that run through the middle of each scale row.
Ten Facts about Southern Alligator Lizard
- Individuals with intact tails can reach up to about 50 cm in total length.
- These lizards live in dry, open woodlands of ponderosa pine and oak.
- Alligator lizards are so-named because they look somewhat like tiny alligators, because they can swim well, and because they bite vigorously.
- Sometimes they even bite and then twist their entire body.
- They eat a variety of small invertebrates, including black widow spiders.
- When attacked or captured by predators, alligator lizards will often lose their tails, which then trash vigorously for several seconds or minutes.
- After the May mating season, up to 20 eggs can be laid in June or July.
- The incubation period is about 55 days, after which the hatching yields tiny individuals, rarely more than three inches long from nose to tail.
- These lizards usually are found in groups; however, there is little interaction between individuals.
- Snakes, Birds, scorpios, lizards, mouse & other small mammals are predators.