These are the most abundant and commonly observed lizards in the Las Vegas-area desert. They commonly grow to six inches long; their relatively small size enables them to warm up quickly and be active at cooler temperatures than most other desert reptiles.
Males often have bright throat colors and can be quite beautiful. They are also amusing to watch, as they exhibit an array of behaviors, like doing “push ups” or walking around just using their front feet while their back end drags behind them.
Because of their small size and widespread distribution, Side-blotched Lizards are prey items for many desert species. Snakes, larger lizards and birds all have them on the menu. In turn, these reptiles eat arthropods, such as insects, spiders, and occasionally scorpions.
Side-blotched Lizards can be found in a wide variety of arid and semi-arid habitats with scattered shrubs growing in soil may be sandy, gravelly or rocky. The species is often found in sandy washes with scattered rocks and bushes.
It is a day-active reptile and is usually the first lizard species out in the morning. It is active mostly on the ground, but it is also a good climber. I often see Side-blotched Lizards basking on rocks or hopping from boulder to boulder.