Northern Alligator Lizard / Lézard-alligator Boréal
The Northern Alligator Lizard is olive brown or gray with a few or many small dark spots.
It has dark longitudinal stripes on the belly. There is a prominent fold of skin on each
side of the body, something common to all species in this family. Alligator Lizards can
grow to 25 cm in total length, counting the tail which makes up approximately half of the
The only other lizard found in British Columbia is the
Western Skink which has a broad brown
stripe down the back with a whitish stripe on each side. The tails of the juveniles are
The Northern Alligator Lizard occurs across much of southern British Columbia, from west
of the mountains to Vancouver Island. To the south it is found along the coast to
Northern Alligator Lizards prefer open wooded areas and sometimes grassland areas. They are
often found under bark or rocks.
Mating occurs in the spring and females give birth to live young 7-10 weeks later. One
female can give birth to up to 15 young, although half this number is more common.
The Northern Alligator Lizard is active at cooler temperatures than most other lizards,
which probably explains its presence in Canada. It is carnivorous, feeding on insects,
spiders and snails. The Northern Alligator Lizard is extremely wary and darts for cover
at any sign of danger. If attacked, the lizard's tail will break off at a fracture plane.
The twitching tail distracts the would-be preadator while the lizard escapes. A new tail
is eventually re-grown.
This species is widespread in BC and is considered to be not at risk.