Image: © Levi Horrell/Arkansas Fish and Game Commission

Zoo-Bred Lizards Find New Wild Homes


The Animal Facts Editorial Team


June 12, 2023 7:24 pm


Nashville Zoo, Tennessee, The United States

Forty three eastern collared lizards bred at Little Rock Zoo are beginning a new life in the Arkansas Ozarks after being released by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission this week. The conservation project is the result of an innovative partnership between the Little Rock Zoo, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, University of Arkansas, University of Central Arkansas and the Arkansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.

This is the first time that zoo bred collared lizards have been introduced to the wild in Arkansas. Their new habitat has recently been restored to make it suitable for them to inhabit.

Eastern collared lizards are among the largest lizard species living in Arkansas. Occasionally referred to as the mountain boomer these lizards stand out due to their bold blue, green and yellow coloration. Suppression of fire and the introduction of invasive plants have reduced the amount of habitat suitable for the species to inhabit.

The Collared Lizard Conservation Team, as well as several other federal, state and private agencies have been focused on restoring glade habitat across Arkansas. Lizards aren't the only species benefitting with northern bobwhite, wild turkey and several glade endemic plants, arthropods and vertebrates all being given a greater chance to thrive.

Efforts to restore the habitat include prescribed fire, cedar removal, invasive plant treatments, prairie plant reseeding and the addition of large rock piles (the primary refuge for many glade species).

This marks the first of many planned releases of collared lizards. These lizards will create new populations at several sites across the state with hopes of halting their decline.

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Our Favourite Collared Lizard Fact!

The collared lizard is also known as the mountain boomer. They are one of the few reptiles which have the ability to run using their back legs only.

Image: © Arkansas Fish and Game Commission

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