Common Chuckwalla


Common Chuckwalla
Sauromalus ater

Chuckwallas are the second largest lizard native to California (Gila monsters are the largest). They can be found in the deserts of California, Nevada, Arizona, and Baja California. One of the few exclusively herbivorous lizards, this desert resident will spend its days foraging for flowers, fruits, and leaves or basking on large rocks.

They avoid predation by wedging themselves in crevices and puffing themselves full of air, making it almost impossible to extract them.

Lindsay has two Common chuckwallas. Our female is named Chucki and came to live at Lindsay Wildlife in 2014 at only a few years old. In 2017, she had an ovariectomy (removal of ovaries) due to follicular stasis. This surgery saved her life, but made her incapable of having her own offspring.

In 2017, Chucki’s previous roommate (a desert iguana, Sonora) passed away. Since Chuckwalla are social lizards by nature, we reached out to Oakland Zoo and adopted a bachelor male. Guapo was introduced to Chucki in 2018 and they have been inseparable ever since. At night, they cuddle on top of the high structure in their enclosure.

Chuckwalla can live up to 25 years so we are excited to see these two have a long life here at Lindsay!