Desert Iguana

STATUSLeast Concern


DIETLeaves, flowers, fruits, and occasionally insects

RANGEArizona, Utah, California, Nevada, Northwestern Mexico

HABITATScrublands, deserts, rocky streambeds

Desert Iguana

Physical Description

Desert iguanas are typically 10-16 inches long and have a tail that is about 1 ½ times longer than the length of their body from snout to vent. They are pale, grey-tan to cream in color with a light brown reticulated pattern on their backs and sides.


Predators they may encounter include birds, foxes, and snakes.


Their average lifespan is 7-10 years though some have been known to live longer in human care.


During breeding season in early spring, the desert iguanas sides become pink colored in both sexes to show they are receptive to breeding. The female will lay 1 clutch of approximately 3-8 eggs which will hatch in early September and will not need any parental care.

Fun Facts

  • Desert iguanas are active during the day and are able to withstand extremely hot temperatures of even up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • They will burrow underground to hibernate during the winter when temperatures are too cold for them.

Conservation Messaging

In our Reptile and Amphibian (RAD) center you will find many different reptiles and amphibians including venomous and poisonous species of snakes and frogs. Many of these animals fall victim to habitat loss in the wild. Many of the species here are found in South American habitats which are subjected to deforestation, damming of rivers, water pollution, and poor agricultural and management practices.

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