San Esteban Island chuckwalla.

San Esteban Island Chuckwalla

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The San Esteban Island chuckwalla is a really large lizard of the iguana family.

San Esteban Island chuckwalla.

San Esteban Island chuckwalla (Sauromalus varius), Toronto Zoo.

The San Esteban Island chuckwalla is endemic San Esteban Island. The chuckwalla has evolved to be much bigger than other iguanas (60 cm or so in length) because they live on an islands without predators. This phenomenon is called island gigantism or insular gigantism.

San Esteban Island chuckwalla.

San Esteban Island chuckwalla.
The small lizards in the picture are grassland whiptail lizards which are kept with the chuckwallas in the Toronto Zoo.

Chuckwallas eat a mainly vegetarian diet consisting of various leaves, fruits, flowers with an occasional insect for variety.

The San Esteban Island chuckwalla is endangered mainly because various animals that prey on their eggs (rats and mice) as well as on the lizard themselves (feral dogs) have been introduced to their island home.

Previously humans used to consume the chuckwalla’s meat but they can no longer be hunted because of their endangered status.

Further Readings:

San Esteban Island chuckwalla (Sauromalus varius) on ARKIVE.
San Esteban chuckwalla on Wikipedia.

No, in spite of what I might have said earlier chuckwallas do not run for political office.

Last updated: July 4, 2014

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