Desert Iguana

Desert Iguana at South Mountain Park in April

This lizard loves heat, and is out and about on even the hottest summer day.

One fast runner, the Desert Iguana bursts into explosive speed to reach the safety of its burrow when threatened.

The biggest treat for this large lizard is the yellow flower of the Creosote bush. Mmm, delicious!  The iguana crawls right up into the bush to reach the delectable treats. The leaves and flowers of the Creosote make up most of the Desert Iguana’s diet.  It also eats insects and even carrion.

The Desert Iguana digs burrows under Creosote plants, making safe hiding places.  This also helps the Creosote, as the burrows funnel water down to the plant roots when it rains. 

Desert Iguana hibernates during the chilly fall and winter months, emerging in March just as the Creosote is setting its blooms.  The iguanas breed in April or May and the clutch of 2-8 eggs hatch later in the summer. 

This Desert Iguana was soaking up the sun, and surveying its territory as I happened by. It was my lucky day as they are known to be secretive and shy.

Creosote bush stays green all summer, even with the heat. It leaves are covered with a waxy coating to keep them from drying out, and they tilt to minimize exposure to suns rays.

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