Melissa Kaplan's
Herp Care Collection
Last updated January 1, 2014

Collared Lizards

Crotaphytus collaris

©1995 Melissa Kaplan


North America.

20-30 cm (8-12" [14" according to Wynne 1981]).

Known in some areas as the "mountain boomer" because it was mistakenly though to emit a sound that echoed through the mountain valleys, it is the state lizard of Oklahoma. Collareds are noted for their upright running on their hind legs, giving them the appearance of miniature T. rex's (though this may rarely be seen in captivity as their enclosures do not provide enough room for such runs). They also have an interesting way of waving their tail, much like a cat, before grabbing at prey. They are capable of hard bites, but generally tame quickly. Collareds are relatively long-lived lizards.

The prominent black bands behind the head give it is common and scientific names; body green and head may be bright yellow. Male has brightly colored throat (blue, green or even orange) and may have blue patches on his belly, with generous sprinklings of white, yellow or red. Females are generally fawn or gray, taking on red or salmon-colored speckling during breeding season.

Collareds require very large, very hot enclosures. A strong temperature gradient is essential for this rocky desert species, with a place for hot basking and a place for cooling off. You should provide higher basking areas, thus creating a vertical and horizontal gradient. Daytime 75-90, Basking 95-104; Nighttime 70-85.

A substrate of gravel and rocks will suit them. As they tend to the nervous side, hiding places are a must at different places along the gradient. (Note: tails can be drop though it generally takes a hard tug for them to do so.)

UVB-producing fluorescent lights are essential for calcium metabolism in addition to the incandescent lighting used to provide heat.

Collareds are largely carnivorous, with young started on crickets and freshly molted worms, and larger specimens fed upon small rodents (pinks to small mice). Most will also take greens and vegetables (try high calcium and other nutritious foods such as collard greens, mustard greens, figs, raspberries, papaya, mango). As they tend to be aggressive feeders, they will cheerfully chomp any small vertebrate, including other lizards and snakes with whom they reside whom they can overpower.

This oviparous species lays 1-12 (average 4-6) in the spring/early summer, hatching after about 10 weeks incubation.



Mattison, Chris. 1992. The Care of Reptiles and Amphibians In Captivity. Blandford Press, London. 306 p

Breen, John. 1974. Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. TFH Publishing, Neptune City, NJ. 575 p.

Stebbins, Robert C. 1985. Peterson Field Guides: Western Reptiles And Amphibians. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, MA. 322 p

Related Articles

Collared Lizards of the Genus Crotaphytus

Lighting and Heating

Prey Sources

Need to update a veterinary or herp society/rescue listing?

Can't find a vet on my site? Check out these other sites.

Amphibians Conservation Health Lizards Resources
Behavior Crocodilians Herpetology Parent/Teacher Snakes
Captivity Education Humor Pet Trade Societies/Rescues
Chelonians Food/Feeding Invertebrates Plants Using Internet
Clean/Disinfect Green Iguanas & Cyclura Kids Prey Veterinarians
Home About Melissa Kaplan CND Lyme Disease Zoonoses
Help Support This Site   Emergency Preparedness

Brought to you thanks to the good folks at Veterinary Information Network, Inc.

© 1994-2014 Melissa Kaplan or as otherwise noted by other authors of articles on this site