Sceloporus orcutti — Granite Spiny Lizard
The boulders near the palm oasis were festooned with small-scaled lizards, banded rock lizards, and these large wary fellows. Most of them wouldn't let me get near enough for a photo before scuttling away into a dark crevice, or around the back of a large rock. This one finally stayed still on a palm trunk while I slowly crept up on it.
The granite spiny lizards were really annoying on this extremely hot morning. I saw a lot of them in about an hour and a half (20, but who's counting?), but couldn't get near enough to any of them to get a decent close-up photo. They would mock me by basking in plain sight, waiting until I was almost ready to take a photo, then casually climbing out of sight into a crevice in the granite.
Three years later, and the granite spiny lizards were no more cooperative. There weren't as many around as on my last visit, but they were just as elusive.
We saw many of these wary lizards from the car, but they dashed behind a rock or into a crevice if we approached anywhere near. The first picture is of a reasonably large adult. The second and third pictures are of a youngster. The youngsters are often lighter in color, like this one.
I still haven't seen a Sceloporus orcutti as cooperative as that first one I photographed in 1999. At least I managed to get a full-body shot of this one, but I was quite far away using a very long lens (800mm equivalent).
Another full-body shot, significantly closer, but with bad mottled lighting. I need to get down to this desert more often so some day I can get a picture better than any I took in the 20th century.
- Behler, J. L., King, F. W. 1979. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles & Amphibians
- Crother, B. I. (ed.) 2017. Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America North of Mexico, with Comments Regarding Confidence in Our Understanding, Eighth Edition
- Sanborn, S. R. 1994. The Lizard-Watching Guide
- Smith, H. M. 1995. Handbook of Lizards: Lizards of the United States and Canada
- Smith, H. M., Brodie, E. D. Jr. 1982. Reptiles of North America: A Guide to Field Identification
- Stebbins, R. C. 2003. Peterson Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, Third Edition