Longnose Leopard Lizard
These lizards, along with the Mojave black-collared lizards, are the largest in Idaho. They have muscular heads and bodies and are usually light cream or tan with dark spots. These reptiles can also vary their color depending on the time of day or body temperature; when they are cool, they appear darker in color. Their tails are very long; sometimes they can be longer than the lizard’s body length. Females have a bright salmon/orange color on their necks, bodies and tails during spring, which is breeding season. These lizards lay eggs and their young look much like the parents when they hatch.
Image courtesy of Roy C Murray
Longnose leopard lizards live in arid (dry) areas of the Northwest. These lizards love to live in areas with loose soil, so they can move into pocket mice and kangaroo rat burrows after the rodents abandon them. Sometimes, they will even dig their own burrows, and they hibernate in them in winter. They also love to live in areas where vegetation is spread out, so they can chase their prey without grass and shrubs getting in the way. If you want to try and spot a longnose leopard lizard, you’ll have to visit southern Idaho, as they dwell in rangeland/desert environments.
Longnose leopard lizards will sometimes eat smaller lizards and other vertebrates, but they eat a lot of crickets and grasshoppers as well. They will also eat spiders, small rodents, and some plant material.
When threatened, longnose leopard lizards open their mouths to show their black mouth and throat. They will even attempt to bite. But don’t worry; they can’t hurt you.