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Common Chuckwalla

Common Chuckwalla

Common Name:
Common Chuckwalla
Scientific Name:
Sauromalus ater
Gestation Period:
35 days
  • Desert
  • Rocky Areas
11 in - 18 in
Life Span:
15 yrs
Number of Young:
5-16 eggs
8 oz - 9 oz

Can chuckwallas swim? Learn more about chuckwallas.

Care & Wellness:

Chuckwallas are relatively calm, and food motivated which makes them trainable and great ambassador animals.  They are curious and changing their habitats helps keep them engaged.

  • Solitary, except for the breeding season.
  • Diurnal lizards that emerge in the morning and need to bask in the sun until their body temperature reaches 100-105 degrees Fahrenheit before seeking food.
  • They spend most of their life on the ground but are excellent swimmers.
Endangered Status
  • Extinct in Wild (EW)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Not Evaluated (NE)
Fun Facts:
  • The oldest known chuckwalla under human care lived to be 65 years old.
  • To help them digest material in the cell walls of plants, chuckwallas have a rich gut flora of microorganisms that break down the cellulose, making the ingested plant material digestible.
  • Most chuckwallas seek refuge in crevices of rock. A combination of small spiny scales on the dorsal surface and the ability to inflate their bodies renders them extremely difficult to remove once they have wedged themselves in that space.
  • After hibernation (October – March), the females secrete a strong scent to let males know they are ready to mate.
A chuckwalla sunning on top of a prop pot above a prop campfire.