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Common Name: Western Whiptail

Scientific Name: Aspidoscelis tigris


Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Reptilia

Order: Sauria

Family: Teiidae

Genus: Aspidoscelis

Species: A. tigris


The Western Whiptail is a slim lizard that has a long thin tail, a pointed snout, and faint stripes. Their colors range from orange-brown to gray-brown. Their back and sides are dark with spots and light bars. They also have reddish patches on the sides of their stomach and smooth scales. Males are dark gray, or black on the sides and chest with a pale throat. These lizards can grow up to 13 inches, which is pretty big (to me anyway).The tail makes up most of its size; 9 inches.


This animal lives in hot, dry places and mostly stays near coverage, almost never going out into open spaces; only to cross for more coverage. (they are incredibly fast and never stop moving.)In its environment you might see it digging rapidly in loose soil while foraging. You might also notice that they’re constantly flinching; moving their heads from side to side and flicking their tongue almost every second. They are mostly found in areas such as north central Oregon, southern Idaho, south of California (Baja California), Nevada, east to Colorado, Utah, south west and western Arizona, New Mexico, and western Texas. In these places you can find them in forests, woodlands, chaparral, and riparian areas.


The Aspidoscelis tigris mate in the springtime (April) and lay about 10, sometimes 20 eggs in late spring or summer (August). What’s most unusual about these animals is they can mate with the same sex. This group of lizards doesn’t seem to have a Conservation status, meaning that their population is still strong and abundant.


Their diet consists of small invertebrates like spiders, scorpions, centipedes, termites beetles ants insect larvae, grasshoppers, and –yes small lizards. They often forage actively, always seeming to be in a competition even if they’re not.


These lizards rely on their speed and the coverage of shrubs. But if they are pursued they will seek refuge in burrows. They usually don’t do this, but if their life depended on it then they’d have to. Some of their predators include snakes, larger lizards (cannibals!), some birds, and road runners.


Author: Clarissa S

Published: 03/2009


Sources:, lizards/pages/a.t munda.html,,


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