The Southern Alligator Lizard (Elgaria multicarinata) is a familiar backyard reptile on the west coast of the U.S., with a big mouth and a tail that is incredibly long. Speaking of tails, alligator lizards are capable of “caudal autotomy,” or dropping their tails as a survival strategy. If you look closely at an individual’s tail, you can tell whether it’s an original or a regrown replacement based on clues like the tail’s length, width and color. Regrown tails will even sometimes be forked (split into two tails)!
Art and fact by Ian Haliburton
[Edited by Isabelle McDonald]
Forest Alligator Lizard – Elgaria multicarinata multicarinata. (n.d.-b). California Herps. https://californiaherps.com/lizards/pages/e.m.multicarinata.html