We came across this beautiful lizard sunning itself on a rock on a warm spring day in Saguaro National Park, just outside of Tucson. This is a Western collared lizard, a common and beautiful lizard found in the western half of the United States, from Missouri to the Pacific Ocean and as far north as Colorado.
Western collared lizards are named for the distinctive dark bands that circle their necks. Including their tail, these lizards measure from 8 to 14 inches. Their diet consists mostly of insects. When escaping, they may run upright on their hind legs.