Desert Iguana

 It is now May, and reptiles are out in abundance, including the exuberant Desert Iguanas. (Dipsosaurus dorsalis). From late spring to early fall, they are arguably the most common lizards in Baja. During the winter months, they burrow down into the earth and seem to evaporate out of existence.

Desert Iguanas exhibit one of the most dramatic seasonal changes that I have ever witnessed. For example, last June, on a day trip to Isla Cerralvo, I could not take a step without scaring at least one iguana, and then that iguana would run for the nearest bush and stir up three more iguanas. Such insanity was a big surprise because, when we had last gone to Cerralvo just a few months earlier in March, I hadn’t seen even one iguana. I can’t help but think that, in the winter, Cerralvo’s earth must be 50% iguana.

Desert Iguanas are somewhat large lizards that range from cream-colored to grayish-brown in appearance. Individuals can change colors a little, depending on their temperature. They eat mostly leaves, buds and flowers, although they will occasionally eat insects as well. When they are out, you can see tons of tracks littering the dirt roads, which are made as they drag their large tails through the sand, scampering from bush to bush.

Part-time residents of La Ventana may never see Desert Iguanas, since these lizards are just as seasonal as many of the humans.  – If you want to talk or walk reptiles, email