California Alligator Lizard

Elgaria multicarinata

Order: 

Squamata

Family: 

Anguidae

Elgaria multicarinata are common in heavily wooded areas and open grasslands across California (3). California alligator lizards are also present on the Channel Islands (1). They have slender bodies, reaching total length of 30 cm (2). Their tails can reach more than half their body length (2). Dorsally, E. multicarinata range from light brown, olive, gray to dull yellow while their underbelly is a pale gray or pale yellow (3). Juveniles have a similar appearance to adults but have reddish tan, beige or gray dorsal (3). Their scales are keeled, meaning each scale has a ridge that runs down the middle (3). They possess a large head and powerful jaws which help California alligator lizards feed on insects, small mammals, and other lizards (2)(3). Mating occurs during April and May with clutches of 5-20 eggs laid in other animal’s burrows (2)(3).

 

(1) Morey, S. (n.d.). SOUTHERN ALLIGATOR LIZARD Elgaria multicarinata (pp. 1-2) (United States of America, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Interagency Wildlife Task Group) (R. Duke, Ed.). Sacramento, CA: California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

(2) NPS Channel Islands. (2016, June 25). Southern Alligator Lizard

(3) Stebbins, R. C., McGinnis, S. M., & Stebbins, R. C. (2012). Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of California (Revised ed.). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

(Photograph) © Alice Abela

Habitat: 

  • exotic and native trees