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Had a buddy of mine doing some trail work and snapped a picture of this thing. He said body was about 2 feet long and had an amazingly vibrant yellow tail. Any ideas?

 

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chuckawalla

It's called a chuckawalla. It's a type of iguana, I think. We used to catch them when I was a kid growing up in the high deseretd in Ca. To get away from predators they wedge themselves into a crack in the rocks and swell up.
 

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livin' the dream......
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Great place to see chuckwalla's is along the road heading up to the Gila Look out at SOMO. I talked to an ASU researcher I met out there a few years ago who claimed the black body/orange tale chuckwalla's are only found in SOMO.

I've seen one's that are all grey/speckled in Cave Creek, so there seems to be some possible truth to this "isolated" population at SOMO.......

cool stuff.....
 

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EDR
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SoMo has one of the most dense populations of Chuckwalla's in the world. It's the perfect habitat for them to thrive. They lika-da-crack, if you know what I mean.

I've also read that the orange tailed males are found only at SoMo.
 

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eat more dirt
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That is correct. South Mountain is home to the only mountain range in the state with that coloration. Black Bodies, with orange tails. The older they get, the deeper the orange. There are days that I can drive up the summit road at SoMo and count over 50 basking and chasing the sun. Cool little buggars! The males are especially humorous when defending "their" territories. Giving the old "pushup" off the rocks. So full of bravado! Straight Lizard Bad Azzes! Another incredible aspect of South Mountain.
 

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wowarizona.com
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ttocs said:
I didn't know the orange tail was only at SOMO. That sounds like something CJ could confirm.
I'm flattered by the praise, but, you've got some great naturalists up there that know their desert dwellers!!!

I'm just happy to see that there is still a fascination with all the desert dwellers. I rue the day that they are only found on "Grand Theft Auto 2020, Pave the Desert Version".
 

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Kathleen in AZ
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MtnManTank said:
That is correct. South Mountain is home to the only mountain range in the state with that coloration. Black Bodies, with orange tails. The older they get, the deeper the orange. There are days that I can drive up the summit road at SoMo and count over 50 basking and chasing the sun. Cool little buggars! The males are especially humorous when defending "their" territories. Giving the old "pushup" off the rocks. So full of bravado! Straight Lizard Bad Azzes! Another incredible aspect of South Mountain.
That's pretty cool - I did not know we had our own special SoMo Chuckawalla. Thanks for the confirmation. Here are pics I've taken at the waterfall over the years. One with orange, one without.
 

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Sup?
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Lizards on Crack

There used to be one that hung out 'in' the crack
at the bottom of a climbing route at Pinnacle Peak
(called 'Hangovers') That area and climb are now
closed (Lower East Wall) unfortunately.

The thing was huge, and would hiss at you as you
ginergly moved past it and it's hangout!

Very cool animals to spot in the desert for sure!
 
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