These little lizards are the smallest lizard species in Idaho; they only grow to be about five inches including their tail length. They are covered in small scales, which are sprinkled with both light and dark colored brown, white, and black spots. Male side-blotched lizards are usually more brightly colored than females and juveniles, but they all have one thing in common; the “blotches,” on the sides of their bodies, which is where they get their name. The blotches are a dark, bluish-black, usually placed behind their front legs.
Image courtesy of Dave Prival
These little lizards like to live in arid (dry) areas, including desert shrub habitats or pinion-juniper habitats. If you visit BLM lands, look for these little lizards scuttling through rocks, sand, or gravel, but try not to confuse them with Western Fence Lizards; they like the same habitats.
Just like most lizards, these petite reptiles eat spiders, mites, ticks, and scorpions. Can you imagine eating a scorpion? These lizards are used to eating such things, so they know how to avoid scorpions’ stinging. They will sometimes eat ants, flies and caterpillars too.
The Side-blotched Lizard is the most abundant lizard in Idaho. They are often prey for snakes and raptors (birds of prey).