WHO: Common chuckwalla (Sauromalus after). Family: Iguanidae. Genus: Sauromalus. The name chuckwalla is derived from the Shoshone word "tcaxxwal" or Cahuilla "caxwal", transcribed by Spaniards as "chacahuala". Or you could just call them Pretty Dang Big Lizard.
WHY THEY'RE AWESOME: - Measures around 20” in length. Pretty wide despite all the push ups they do.
- Providing they don't get in with the wrong crowd, chuckwallas can live to be over 25 years old.
- Chuckwallas prefer lava flows and rocky areas up to 4,500 feet.
- Primarily herbivorous, chuckwallas prefer yellow flowers, such as those of the brittlebush. That being said, occasional insects can make for a good late night snack.
- Harmless to humans. When threatened a chuckwalla will wedge itself into a tight rock crevice and inflate its lungs in order to entrench itself. - Being ectothermic ('cold-blooded', although that term is not exactly true) these guys like it hot; chuckwallas don’t get out of bed for anything under 90°F.