Chuckwalla Lizard

In this activity, students will watch a video about the unique features and habits of chuckwallas and answer questions.



By completing this activity, your students will be able to:

  • Identify key adaptations that help a chuckwalla survive the harsh desert environment.
  • Explain how chuckwallas located in South Mountain are different from those found elsewhere.


  1. How does the chuckwalla use its body to help it survive? Why does it do this?
  2. How do you think the South Mountain chuckwallas developed such a unique physical appearance? What might be the purpose?

More About this Lesson Plan

The Arizona Game and Fish Department produces an Emmy-winning television show called Arizona Wildlife Views. Individual segments from this show are made available to stream for free on YouTube. In an attempt to make these videos more classroom-friendly, we have reviewed a number of these video clips to provide useful information and strategies for bringing them into the classroom. This includes questions that can be discussed during and after the video has been watched as a class.

This specific video introduces students to an iconic Arizona lizard, the chuckwalla. Students will learn about some of the unique adaptations that help this reptile live in desert environments as well as what specific feature makes the chuckwallas found on South Mountain different than all the other chuckwallas.



  1. Who or what is it that the male chuckwalla will defend? What can you use to make spotting chuckwallas easier? What do chuckwallas like to sit on? (Pause at 0:35 to discuss)
  2. What is a crevice? Why do you think chuckwallas like crevices? (Pause a 0:48 to discuss)
  3. What is a defense mechanism? What is one of the chuckwalla’s defense mechanisms? (Pause at 1:04 to discuss)
  4. What is unique about the chuckwallas on South Mountain? (Pause at end to discuss)


  • Susan Logan, Veterinary Science Instructor,
    AAEC High School, Phoenix, August 2017

Standards Correlation

This lesson has been correlated to the following Arizona Department of Education academic standards:

  • Kindergarten

    1. K.L1U1.6
    2. K.L1U1.7
  • 3rd Grade

    1. 3.L2U1.6
  • 8th Grade

    1. 8.L3U1.9

Education through AZGFD

See resources for teachers, including lesson plans. Learn about hunter education, and classes to earn bonus points.

teacher resources

The goal of the AZGFD education program is to promote awareness, appreciation and stewardship of the state’s wildlife resources by using wildlife as a context for learning.

see resources

hunter education for bonus points

Classroom and online instruction, and field days for hunter education. Online “Ethically Hunting Arizona” class allows hunters to earn a lifetime bonus point.

register for a class

Subscribe to our Newsletter