Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

August 15, 2012

Desert Spiny Lizard at the Door

Filed under: backyard, behavior, Non Birds — richditch @ 2:40 pm
Desert Spiny Lizard at the Patio Door

Desert Spiny Lizard at the Patio Door

Nikon D300, Nikkor 300/2.8 AF-S, ISO 800, 1/125th second at f/2.8

I know, I just posted about the Gambel’s Quail coming to our patio door to peer inside. But they’re not the only curious visitors in our backyard. Meet “Larry,” one of the Desert Spiny Lizards that makes its home in our yard. We named him something simple to make it easier to talk about him and keep our references straight. The color on the throat indicates that he is a male.

My wife Carol insists on feeding as many animals as possible, and a few years ago was successful in training a whiptail lizard to come to the patio  for mealworms. The whiptail was a regular for two or three years, and when she no longer came around we assumed she had reached the end of her lifespan.

A year ago Carol managed to toss a few mealworms to a Desert Spiny Lizard on the patio – the trick is to slide the door open without causing the lizard to jet off in fear. Last year’s lizard tended to visit right around sunset. When “winter” arrived in Phoenix and the lizards retired from activity we thought that was the end of feeding them.

But a couple weeks ago a Desert Spiny Lizard showed up on the patio and hung around in the open and during the day, and it knew enough to stay on the patio at the far edge when the door was opened far enough to toss out some mealworms. We assume this is the same lizard from last year and are surprised it would remember this behavior. Larry is better this year at hanging around, and has become more bold. He has even started looking inside if the worms don’t come out fast enough.

After this visit I cleaned the glass so I hope I’ll get some cleaner shots soon.  In the meantime here’s Larry on the wall separating our place from the house next door. It was taken with the window opened just far enough for the lens to get a clear view. Larry was showing off for a larger female about 10 feet away on the top of the wall, but I couldn’t get a clear shot of it.

Desert Spiny Lizard

Desert Spiny Lizard

Nikon D300, Nikkor 300/2.8 AF-S plus TC20E III (2x), ISO 800, 1/250th second at f/8



  1. Pretty handsome lizard this Larry!

    Comment by Chuck Gangas — August 15, 2012 @ 4:19 pm

  2. Awesome I just took some lizard pictures myself:)

    Comment by choppers666 — August 18, 2012 @ 1:15 pm

  3. I bet Bert or Ernie would like to have a go at Larry. Our cat Sophie will catch lizards and bring them inside to play.

    Comment by Jim — August 22, 2012 @ 3:23 pm

  4. Bert and Ernie don’t get to play outside.

    Be sure Sophie doesn’t bring in any of those Western Diamondbacks!

    Comment by richditch — August 22, 2012 @ 4:19 pm

  5. I like Lizards and these are wonderful Rich!

    Comment by Mia McPherson — August 25, 2012 @ 8:53 am

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