Chuckwalla Facts

Chuckwalla Facts
Chuckwalla is a type of large lizard that belongs to the family of iguanas. There are 5 species of chuckwalla that can be found in the southwestern parts of the North America and in the northern parts of Mexico. Chuckwalla inhabits deserts (Mojave and Sonoran deserts), rocky areas, hillsides and lava flows. Since it inhabits remote and inhospitable places, chuckwalla is protected from negative human activity (including over-collecting from the wild due to pet trade). Population of chuckwalla is large and stable in the wild. Chuckwalla is not on the list of endangered species.
Interesting Chuckwalla Facts:
Chuckwalla can reach 16 inches in length and 2 pounds of weight. Males are larger than females.
Head, shoulders and limbs of males are black-colored. Dorsal side of the body can be red, pinkish, yellow, orange or grey in color, depending on the habitat. Females and young males are yellowish grey. Their bodies are covered with spots and light-colored stripes. Tail of young animals is covered with dark bands.
Chuckwalla is able to change the color of the body to blend with colors of its environment. Body coloration also depends on the mood of an animal and outer temperature.
Chuckwalla has stocky body with large, low positioned abdomen. It has thick tail that is wide at the base and blunt at the top. Tail is covered with tough scales. Skin has sandy texture. Loose folds of skin around the neck and on the lateral sides create impression of much larger body.
Chuckwalla is diurnal animal (active during the day).
Chuckwalla basks in the sun during the day to increase body temperature and gain energy required for everyday activities.
Chuckwalla is herbivore (plant-eater) that occasionally consumes insects. Majority of its diet is based on creosote bush, fruit, leaves and desert flowers.
Natural enemies of chuckwalla are large mammals, snakes, raptors and humans.
When faced with danger, chuckwalla seeks protection in the tight crevices of rocks. It inflates the body (thanks to flaps of loose skin) and fills entire space, thus disabling predators to pull it out.
Chuckwalla is territorial and solitary animal. Males release scent from the pores in their thighs to mark their territory.
Chuckwalla undergoes brumation (type of hibernation characteristic for cold-blooded animals) from October to March, when temperature is low and food is scarce.
Mating season of chuckwallas takes place from April to July.
Females mate only during the rainy years (when food is abundant). They lay 5 to 16 eggs in the nests in the ground. Incubation of eggs lasts 72 days.
Hatchlings are left on their own from the moment of birth. Chuckwalla reaches sexual maturity at the age of 3 to 4 years.
Chuckwalla can survive 15 years in the wild and up to 25 in the captivity.

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