Desert Iguana Facts!

Desert Iguana Facts!

Desert Iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis)
Desert Iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis); Cholla Cactus Garden. NPS/Robb Hannawacker. Image credit: Joshua Tree National Park cc2.0

The desert iguana can be 13 to 16 inches (25 to 41 centimeters) long, with a large, round body and a long tail. It is usually pale grey and greenish-brown in color, enabling it to blend in with the rocks and bushes of the sandy desert areas it lives in. This iguana is mostly vegetarian, feeding on buds, fruit, leaves and flowers (especially those of the creosote bush), but sometimes it will also feed on insects.

A Desert Iguana photographed in Arizona near 4th of July Butte, August 2012. Image credit: Michael.Dodge cc3.0

The desert iguana can change its coloring to regulate its body temperature, depending on the environmental conditions. During the coolers hours of the morning, it’s a darker color so that it can better absorb heat. But during the day when it is hot, it will change to a lighter color to reflect sunlight and avoid overheating. The desert iguana can bear temperatures as high as 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 Celsius), but if it is unbearably hot, it will find shade in the bushes.

(Dipsosaurus dorsalis) Desert iguana
Desert iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis). NPS/Kristen Lalumiere. Image credit: Joshua Tree National Park cc2.0

Their coloring also changes with the time of year — during the breeding season, the sides of both the females and males become pinkish. Desert iguanas and their eggs are preyed on by birds, snakes, foxes, rats and also humans.

Desert Iguanas are featured in the following books:
25 Desert Animals
101 Facts… Desert Animals

The YouTube video playlist below contains a video about Desert Iguanas. Details of the videos featured are underneath.

The Playlist:

  1. Herping with Luka: Desert Iguanas and Chuckwallas!!! by oh0na
  2. Desert Iguana Eating Mealworm by doyendean
  3. Desert Iguana’s Dreamy Moves by waywardmuse


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