Name: Chuckwalla (Sauromalus ater)
Habitat: Southwestern United States and northern Mexico
Diet: Vegetation, including leaves and flowers, and insects
Interesting facts: God has designed animals with special skills and characteristics for them to survive and thrive in their habitats. Chuckwallas live in the desert and will soak up the sunlight in the morning to heat up their bodies. Once they are warm enough, the skin on their backs turns from black to light brown or tan and reflects sunlight. These lizards are in no danger of overheating.
However, there is danger in the desert. Predators of the chuckwalla are hawks, snakes, and coyotes. Chuckwallas will crawl into cracks in rocks or other tight places to escape predators. Once in the crevice, they expand the loose folds of their skin by swelling with air and effectively wedge themselves in. They are almost impossible to pull out after this.
At our musuem: Our chuckwalla is named…..Chuck :) He is about 8 months old and loves to explore everything. He can often be found sitting on the shoulders of our staff, riding around on them through the museum. Sometimes when he is feeling really mischievous, he will climb on top of our heads and get a better view. Chuck is usually friendly and calm, but he does have his moods. That is why it is important to move calmly and slowly when around him. He does not like his head touched, except when we rub his chin; and he does like to have his tummy tickled. Chuck’s favorite food is romaine lettuce, but he also really likes banana and apple. He does not seem to like his crickets much, though. Chuckwallas are classified in the same family as iguanas, which are common lizards in the pet industry. Remember that any animal kept as a pet depends on its caretaker for everything. Responsible pet care is essential for the health and happiness of pets. Always research and be prepared before you obtain any animal to keep in a cage. God has charged us with the care and keeping of the animals He has created. We should always do our best to be responsible and caring stewards of His creation.
Thanks for reading!