Blunt-nosed Leopard Lizard

The blunt-nosed leopard lizard, Gambelia silus, is a relatively large lizard belonging to the Iguanidae family. It has a long, regenerative tail, powerful hind limbs, and a short, blunt snout. Adult males are slightly larger than females, ranging in size from 3.4 to 4.7 inches in length, excluding the tail. Females are 3.4 to 4.4 inches long. Males weigh 1.3 to 1.5 ounces, females 0.8 to 1.2.

Although blunt-nosed leopard lizards are darker than other leopard lizards, they exhibit tremendous variation in color and pattern on their backs. Their background color ranges from yellowish or light gray-brown to dark brown, depending on the surrounding soil color and vegetation. Their undersides are uniformly white. They have rows of dark spots across their backs, alternating with white, cream-colored or yellow bands.

Breeding activity lasts from the end of April to the end of June. Male territories may overlap those of several females, and a given male may mate with several females. Two to six eggs are laid in June and July, and their numbers are correlated with the size of the female. Under adverse conditions, egg-laying may be delayed one or two months, or reproduction may not occur at all. Females typically produce only one clutch of eggs per year. But some may produce three or more under favorable environmental conditions. After about two months of incubation, young hatch from late July through early August, rarely to September.

Leopard lizards use small rodent burrows for shelter from predators and temperature extremes. Burrows are usually abandoned ground squirrel tunnels, or occupied or abandoned kangaroo rat tunnels. Each lizard uses several burrows without preference, but will avoid those occupied by predators or other leopard lizards. Potential predators are numerous. They include snakes, predatory birds and most carnivorous valley mammals. Blunt-nosed leopard lizards themselves feed primarily on insects (mostly grasshoppers, crickets and moths) and other lizards.