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Fringe-Toed Lizard

Fringe-Toed Lizards are adapted for life in the sandy desert. In addition to their brown and tan coloration which helps them to blend in with the sand, they have special scales which form a fringe on the sides of their toes which aid in traction, speed and keep the lizard from sinking on loose sandy dunes. In addition they also possess an upper jaw which overlaps the lower, preventing the intrusion of sand particles, nostrils that can be closed at will, flaps that close against the ear openings when moving through sand and interlocking scales on the upper and lower eyelids, which prevent sand from getting into the eyes. .

Natural History

The Fringe-Toed Lizards range covers southeast California and southwest Arizona, and extends into northwest Sonora and northeast Baja California in low desert areas having fine, loose sand. The lizards primarily eat insects, including ants, beetles, grasshoppers, and caterpillars. Flower buds, stems, leaves and seeds of plants are also eaten.

The Fringe-Toed Lizard will dive under the sand, burying itself, to avoid predators or extreme heat.

Every 4-6 weeks throughout the summer, females will lay a clutch of 1-5 eggs (average 2). In 1980 this lizard was listed as a threatened species by the federal government.

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