Southern alligator lizard

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Alligator lizard
San Diego Alligator Lizard.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Anguidae
Genus: Elgaria
Species: E. multicarinata
Binomial name
Elgaria multicarinata
Blainville, 1835
Elgaria multicarinata distribution (IUCN).png

The Southern alligator lizard (Elgaria multicarinata) is a lizard native to the Pacific coast of North America.[1] It is common throughout Southern California and can be found in grasslands, chaparral, and forests as well as urban areas.[1] In dry climates, it is likely to be found in moist areas or near streams.[1] Three subspecies can be distinguished: the California alligator lizard (E. m. multicarinata), the San Diego alligator lizard (E. m. webbii), and the Oregon alligator lizard (E. m. scincicauda).[2]

The southern alligator lizard has a long, somewhat prehensile tail, up to twice the length of its body.[1] Like many lizards, however, it can drop its tail if attacked, possibly giving it a chance to flee;[1] the tail will regenerate, but will never be as long or richly colored as the original.[citation needed] Individuals with intact tails can reach up to about 28 cm (11 in) total length.[citation needed]

The lizards can frequently be found near human habitation and are notable for their fearless self-defense; they will often bite and defecate if handled.[1] In the wild they eat small arthropods, slugs, lizards, small mammals and occasionally young birds and eggs.[2]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Southern alligator lizard". San Diego Zoo Factsheets. San Diego Zoo. October 2008. Retrieved June 24, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Stebbins, Robert (2003):331. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-98272-3

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