Throughout central and western Mexico southward to northern Central America.
Found in semi-arid rocky regions; sparsely vegetated canyon bottoms, open forest, and washes. They are often found sunning on rock ledges.
Adult female Mexican Beaded Lizards grow to about 30 inches in length and weigh 4 to 5 pounds. Males are slightly larger, growing to 3 feet and weighing up to 8 ½ pounds.
The tail is the longest portion of the lizard, nearly 50 percent of the total length. The scales are bead-like and are predominately dark black or brown on the top and bottom of the lizard. Yellow spots are scattered along the tail and the neck.
Dietary Classification: Carnivore
Diet in Zoo: crickets, wax worms, pinkie mice
Diet in Wild: small mammals, birds, lizards, frogs, insects, and eggs of birds and reptiles;
They can live up to 20 years in the wild; possibly longer in captivity.
When eating, all their prey is swallowed whole, except for eggs, which are broken first. When food is scarce the Mexican Beaded Lizard lives off fat reserves in its tail. The Mexican Beaded Lizard and the Gila Monster are possibly the only two venomous lizards in the world.
The Mexican Beaded Lizard is protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna and is classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).