The chaparrals around the world are home to a great many reptiles, both lizards and snakes.
Reptiles have many adaptations that allow them to thrive in the desert chaparrals. Most of their adaptations are related to the extreme temperatures and the lack of water found in these regions.
Most reptiles protect themselves from over drying in the hot temperatures by their extra thick skin.
Another key adaptation of reptiles to warm climates such as the chaparral is that they are cold –blooded, which means that they need the warmer outside temperatures to keep their bodies warm.
They also have waterproof bodies, where they produce uric acid instead of urine.
Reptiles use their tongues to smell, and that is why you would often see them with slitting their tongues in and out of their mouth either when they are slithering around or when they are still.
Most reptiles in the chaparral are carnivorous and night hunters. They are able to sense their prey from the heat that is released from the prey’s body.
The reptile eggs are often very hard-shelled. This keep the young protected from the prey from similar predators.
Lizards have some unique adaptations that allow them to survive the chaparrals. They are able to adjust their color according to the changing temperatures, which is called metachromatism. These creatures cannot regulate their temperatures from inside their bodies, and that is why they rely on outside temperatures to help them.
Therefore, when desert temperatures become extremely hot, these creatures become lighter, which allows them to reflect the heat off their bodies, thereby keeping them warm. When it gets cooler, they become darker, thereby allowing them to absorb as much heat as possible.
Closely related to metachromatism, is their ability for thermoregulation. This means that they can turn their bodies towards the sun, such as when they are basking on top of rocks or trees in the sun.
Lizards in the chaparrals are also great burrowers. They can dig underground holes, which keep them shielded from the heat. They either dig their own burrows or use those left behind by other animals.
Some of the most common reptiles found in the desert chaparrals are the Rattlesnake, the chaparral whipsnake, the California striped racer snake, and the alligator lizards; but there are many more reptiles in chaparral regions around the world.