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What is a Great Basin Whiptail Lizard (Aspidoscelis tigris tigris)

What is a Great Basin Whiptail Lizard

Great Basin Whiptail Overview

The Great Basin Whiptail Lizard is a species of lizard that lives primarily in the southwest region of the United States and parts of northern Mexico. Depending on the subspecies, you can find these lizards as far north as northern Idaho and even parts of Oregon.

These slim-bodied lizards are found in hot and dry areas with foliage to hide in but can also be found in wooded areas depending on which subspecies you run into.

Unlike other species of Whiptails that only have females, the Great Basin Whiptail is a species that will have both female and male lizards.

These are non-venomous lizards so if you happen to get bitten by one, consider it a very very rare occasion as they will run away from humans into cover. Because it is non-venomous, the worst part of the bite is going to be the quick pain from the teeth and then making sure you wash it properly to make sure it doesn’t get infected.

What is a Great Basin Whiptail Lizard

Sign at Valley of Fire State Park in Overton, Nevada

Related Article >> Snakes in Nevada


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Size and Body Description

Pointed snout and very long tail. Body and upper tail spotted; moves with a “jerky” gait on long hind legs with long toes. Stripes on back of juveniles vanish with age. Young whiptails have bright blue tails.


8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm.) long


The Great Basin Whiptail Lizard primarily feeds on spiders, scorpions, centipedes, termites, and occasionally smaller lizards


Great Basin Whiptail Lizard breeding season begins in May and will carry on into June where the female will lay a single clutch of eggs.

Due note that based on where the Whiptail Lizards lives is what will determine how many clutches it can lay in a year. If the lizard lives in the northern areas of its range, it will only lay one clutch a year in June with the eggs hatching sometime in August.

If the lizard lives in the southern area of its range, it has the potential to lay two clutches of eggs due to them being able to lay eggs as soon as May.


Semi-arid deserts. Open areas with firm soil, sparse plant cover. Requires high heat to be active, becomes sluggish if the temperature falls below +100°F (+38° C).

The Great Basin Whiptail Lizard is found in Colorado, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, California, Utah, and northern Mexico.


As of writing this, there are no major protections for the Great Basin Whiptail Lizard because their population is considered to be stable.


Fast runner, up to 15 mph (28 km/h). Changes direction easily; escapes very high ground temperatures by retreating to burrow.

Active in the daytime; can climb into bushes after caterpillars. Numerous enemies: hawks, snakes, other animals. Unlike most lizards, actively hunts for its prey.

References Used

What is a Great Basin Whiptail Lizard