Orange-Throated Whiptail

The Orange-Throated Whiptail (Aspidoscelis hyperythra) is a slender, harmless and graceful lizard with a beautiful blue tail and sometimes an orange neck. Its Spanish name is Huico (pronounced “wee-ko”).

The whiptail is extremely fast and relatively small, growing up to around 2.5 inches, not including its frequently very long tail, which is composed of segments and is sometimes longer than the lizard itself! When being attacked by a predator, the tail can break off at any one segment to confuse the enemy and help the lizard escape. The tail grows back over time.

Its diet is mostly termites but also sometimes cockroaches, spiders and moths. It is more active during the summer months. In the winter, in La Ventana we mostly see juveniles and occasional adult females, but rarely adult males.

This striking local resident is diurnal and prefers relatively dense vegetation but can be readily observed in dry grass fields and frequently yards. During warm, sunny or overcast days, however, they can be seen foraging in the leaf litter. Unlike many human residents, whiptails seem to prefer low or no-wind days.