The common collared lizard (Crotaphytus collaris) is a very beautiful animal who provides much entertainment with his delightful pushups. We always speculated about why they do this, but the book says they do it to be belligerant when there is an intruder. It is all the more surprising that the individual we met never moved from his spot, and felt no need to threaten us.
Maribeth and I recently made a trip to northern Arizona, and while we were there, we did a bit of sightseeing, complete with cameras. On this particular day, we decided to visit the Wupatki Ruins. These ancient ruins are what is left of a once thriving Native American community. The opportunities for wonderful and spectacular photography there abound, and we had been there about an hour, and had both taken a slew of photographs. We were on our way back to the car, and intended to leave, when suddenly, Maribeth pointed off into the distance, and said, "Isn't that a lizard on that rock?" Sure enough, it was! I figured we'd get virtually no opportunity to photograph him, so I began to take photos from that spot. The first photo in the gallery is actually NOT the first photo I took (you wouldn't even be able to find him if I presented that one!) Look carefully at the top of the volcanic rock in the middle of the bottom of the picture.
But we kept taking pictures, all the while inching closer and closer. And he stayed put! Clearly, he was watching us. But he was not in the least afraid of us. And we just kept snapping pictures.
We finally reached a point where we were only a foot or two away from him, and he still just watched us! And we kept taking pictures. I was absolutely positive he would run off any second! And to top it all off, pretty soon another person in a hurry went past us, but still the lizard stayed right where he was!
At this point, I decided I wanted a picture of the entire animal, so I began to move around sideways, still very slowly. And I got the photos I sought. He just kept sitting there. In all, I took two entire rolls of film of him. At that point, I felt satisfied, and so was Maribeth, so we left. And the lizard just sat there.
The collared lizard will run along with his front feet off the ground, using his tail for balance. For that reason, he doesn't lose his tail readily. If you attempt to bother him, he WILL bite. These lizards are very fast, and they live in rocky canyons, and can leap from ledge to ledge.
A few days after I got home from my trip, I saw a collared lizard near the top of the wall of my house. I think this is the one who likes to hang out (literally) on my screen door in the den. But I have not been able to approach that closely to him. So I am glad for the cooperative one we saw at the ruins, and we enjoyed talking about how much salary they must have been paying him to pose for us. And Maribeth commented that God knew exactly what she needed to refresh her spirit.
Now that you have read about this fascinating lizard, go back to the main animals photographs page, and look for the lizard album. Enjoy!