Being successful in many habitats lizards are found throughout our region from below sea level to over 10,000 feet. While they are most often encountered in the desert’s boulder and rock strewn hillsides, many have become highly specialized to take advantage of the sandy desert floors, or to burrow and spend most of their lives just beneath the surface, others yet have adapted to life in and around trees and bush. Most lizards are indeed diurnal using the suns rays to heat their cold-blooded bodies and raise their metabolisms to efficiency, yet a few have become nocturnal to take advantage of the opportunities of the night as the desert comes to life.
Many lizards will need close inspection to identify as they scurry about and may indeed need to be captured for certainty of identification. Nooses and nets, as well as other means of capture which won’t be mentioned or encouraged, are effective means for many species, however, California has specific laws concerning the methods of capture and California Department of Fish and Game should be consulted before any animal is pursued, harassed, or captured. One alternative, and my personal method of ‘take’, is to photograph these wonderful animals, preserving the observations to share with others and documenting our natural resources. Currently a fishing license is needed to pursue any native reptile in our state, even when photographing animals you may be asked to produce your license. Once again, consult current regulations and laws before interacting with our wildlife. Conservation of our precious desert’s inhabitants should play an underlying role if not be the main theme as we leave the hustle and bustle of our cities for the quiet mystery of our wilderness areas, so that generations after us can enjoy the wonders of nature we have been gifted with. If a rock is lifted, it should be replaced, if a log is turned, turn it back. Though capturing these animals does indeed have it's place, if we can observe with our eyes or a camera and not with our hands we will gain a greater understanding of the natural behaviors of our native reptiles without negatively impacting the delicate systems of Nature around us.
The lizards native to our area include: