Collared lizards or mountain boomers as they are known in parts of their range are a species of lizard.
They are highly colorful lizards having brown, greenish brown or olive green skin across the back with patterns of orange and yellow across parts of their body. Males are much brighter in color than females.
Their name is derived from the two black collars which run around the neck.
These lizards are omnivores which prefer invertebrates and other lizards but will also consume plant matter.
Read on to learn more about reptiles.
The collared lizard is named for the two black and white collars which run around the neck. The rest of the body is highly variable in coloration potentially being brown, greenish brown or olive green. This is patterned with an intense range of spots and stripes. The underside is colored white.
Females are generally less colorful in their pattern than the males. Males tend to be larger than females. When they are gravid (carrying eggs) they will develop orange patches on their body.
Their back legs are strong, an adaptation which helps them to run and climb. As result of this strength they may run just using just the back legs.
At the end of the body is a thick tail which helps with balance as they climb.
An average collared lizard has a body which measures 35cm (14in) long.
Collared lizards are omnivores. Their diet is primarily made up of invertebrates and small lizards.
Before pouncing on their prey they have been seen to wave their tail.
Their teeth are strong with a powerful jaw which can help in crushing their jaws.
North America is the native home of the collared lizard. Here they can be found in the United States and Mexico. In the US they are primarily found in the South.
Collared lizards make their home in rocky areas which have sparse vegetation. They can also be found in areas of woodland and shrubland. They make their home in canyons, gullies and mesas.
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Breeding occurs during May and June.
Each year they can produce one or two clutches of eggs. Each includes 4-6 eggs and is deposited in a burrow, crevice or under a rock.
These eggs incubate for 53-94 days. After this the young emerge and are independent from birth. No parental care is provided.
During the day collared lizards will position their body on a rock where they can absorb heat from the sun. They favor ledges for basking which also provide a safe place from which to survey for predators.
When night falls or during periods of cold weather they will retreat to a warm burrow.
These lizards can reach speeds of up to 26km/h (16mph) in short bursts.
Collared lizards are highly territorial. If a stranger enters their territory they will stand on the hind legs and inflate the throat to make them look larger.
Predators and Threats
When threatened they will quickly flee to a burrow or underneath a boulder. If cornered they have been seen to bite at predators much larger than themselves.
They may reluctantly drop their tail if threatened but unlike in other lizards it will not regrow.
The population of collared lizards is considered stable. While no full estimate of their population has been completed it has been established that over 100,000 of them are present in the population.
Collared lizards are one of the few reptiles which have the ability to run using their back legs only.
In parts of their range they may also be known as the ‘mountain boomer.’
Hammerson, G.A., Lavin, P., Vazquez Díaz, J., Quintero Díaz, G. & Gadsden, H. 2007. Crotaphytus collaris. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2007: e.T64007A12734318. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2007.RLTS.T64007A12734318.en. Downloaded on 22 July 2021.
Tucsonherpsociety.org. 2021. Eastern Collared Lizard. [online] Available at: <https://tucsonherpsociety.org/amphibians-reptiles/lizards/eastern-collared-lizard/> [Accessed 22 July 2021].
American Museum of Natural History. 2021. Collared Lizard | AMNH. [online] Available at: <https://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/lizards-and-snakes-alive/sight-hounds/a-world-of-sights/collared-lizard> [Accessed 22 July 2021].
Ismail, A. 2000. “Crotaphytus collaris collaris” (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed July 22, 2021 at https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Crotaphytus_collaris_collaris/
Desertmuseum.org. 2021. Collared Lizard Fact Sheet. [online] Available at: <https://www.desertmuseum.org/kids/oz/long-fact-sheets/Collared%20Lizard.php> [Accessed 22 July 2021].
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