The southern alligator lizard is a member of the Anguidae family native to the west coast of the United States. The brown, reddish, gray or yellowish body of the species is slender and snake-like and features a large head, forked tongue and short legs.
The lizard grows to an average of 3 to 7 inches, not including a tail of up to twice its body length. The species occupies a variety of habitats, including coastal sage, chaparral, grasslands, oak, juniper and pine woodlands and forests. The species uses its powerful jaws to feed on arthropods, lizards, slugs, small mammals, young birds and eggs. They have been known to defend themselves against humans.