Lakeside Nature Center
Critter Corner - Collared
DID YOU KNOW:
When startled, Collared lizards are able to run upright on their hind legs! They look like miniature T-rexes, using their long tail to stay balanced. Of the 11 species of lizards found in Missouri, collared lizards are the largest.
The collared lizard enjoys live foods like grasshoppers, crickets and worms. They are aggressive eaters and will feast on smaller lizards as well. Collared lizards have a unique way of waving their tails just before they grab prey
From the middle of May to early June, courtship takes place. The colorful male will walk around the female bobbing his head up and down. Later Mom lizard will lay between 2 to 21 leathery eggs in a hole dug under a large rock. Upon hatching, the baby lizards are entirely on their own.
Collared lizards live in endangered habitats called glades. A glade is a rocky, hillside area with shallow soil and very few trees. Wildflowers and prickly pear cactus are important glade plants. The rocks become very warm in the hot sun and collared lizards love to sun-bathe. Rocky Point Glade in Swope Park is a fine Collared Lizard habitat.
Collared lizards can be dinner for hawks and some species of snakes. The lizards will stay very still if they feel threatened, and if a predator gets too close they will quickly run away. If caught they will squirm, scratch and bite to escape.
To learn more about collared lizards
(Photo Credits: Portrait of Collared Lizard on rock, US Geological Survey; All other photos, Missouri Department of Conservation)