Crotaphytus collarisCollared Lizard

Geographic Range

Crotaphytus collaris is native to the western states of the U.S. (Jones, 1997).


C. collaris inhabit rocky areas with sparse vegetation. Boulder strewn hillsides and rocky outcroppings are common in their living areas. Collared lizards dig under boulders to sleep and lay their eggs (Jones, 1997).

Physical Description

Length: 8-14 inches including tail.

Colors and markings are diverse in Crotaphytus collaris. They are sexually dimorphic. Males tend to be green to tan colored with patterns of dorsal spots and bars to a speckled pattern across the dorsum. Male C. collaris can also exhibit vivid yellow and orange head coloration. Female C. collaris tend to be less colorful except during breeding season when they exhibit bright orange side spots or bars. Both male and female C. collaris possess two prominent collar-like black bands at their neck, hence their name (Jones, 1997).


Crotaphytus collaris courts and mates on the ground in spring to early summer. An average clutch size is 4-6 eggs and 1-2 clutches are produced per year. Eggs are deposited in underground burrows underneath rocks or loose sand (BISON-M, 1997). The incubation period for the eggs is generally 53-94 days. Adult C. collaris exhibit no parental care (Jones, 1997).


Collared lizards tend to be most active during the warmest part of the day. These lizards stalk their prey on the ground. They also like to bask on rocks (Jones, 1997).

Food Habits

Crotaphytus collaris is mainly insectivorous and carnivorous. Occasionally their diet may consist of plant matter. C. collaris does vary its diet depending on what is abundant. Food can range from grasshoppers to smaller lizards (Jones, 1997).

Conservation Status

Other Comments

C. collaris is known for running rapidly upright on its hindlegs (Cogger and Zweifel, 1998). They also wave their tail in a cat like fashion before grabbing prey (Kaplan, 1995).


Melissa Linsted (author), Michigan State University, James Harding (editor), Michigan State University.



living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.

World Map

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


BISON-M, .. 1997. "Biota Information System of New Mexico: Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus collaris)" (On-line). Accessed Nov. 16, 1999 at

Cogger, H., R. Zweifel. 1998. Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Jones, T. 1997. "Captive Care and Breeding of Collared Lizards" (On-line). Accessed Nov. 16, 1999 at

Kaplan, M. 1995. "Collared Lizards" (On-line). Accessed Nov. 16, 1999 at