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chuckwalla

[chuhk-wah-luh] /ˈtʃʌkˌwɑ lə/
noun
1.
an iguanid lizard, Sauromalis obesus, of arid parts of the southwestern U.S. and Mexico, that feeds on desert plants.
Origin
California Spanish
1865-1870
1865-70, Americanism; < California Spanish chacahuala < Cahuilla čáxwal
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for chuck walla

chuckwalla

/ˈtʃʌkˌwɒlə/
noun
1.
a lizard, Sauromalus obesus, that has an inflatable body and inhabits desert regions of the southwestern US: family Iguanidae (iguanas)
Word Origin
from Mexican Spanish chacahuala, from Shoshonean tcaxxwal
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Encyclopedia Article for chuck walla

chuckwalla

any of five species of stocky, slightly flattened lizards belonging to the subfamily Iguaninae (family Iguanidae), found on arid, rocky hills of southwestern North America. The common chuckwalla (S. ater), which occurs in the southwestern United States, reaches 50 cm (20 inches) in length, but some of the species inhabiting islands in the Gulf of California get much larger. All species of chuckwallas are predominantly herbivorous, eating a variety of desert plants, including leaves of the creosote bush (Larrea tridentata). Because lizards cannot digest cellulose, the material in the cell walls of plants, chuckwallas have a rich gut flora of microorganisms that break down the cellulose, making the ingested plant material digestible. Chuckwallas also occasionally eat insects. Most chuckwalla species seek refuge in crevices. A combination of small spiny scales on the dorsal surface and the ability to inflate their bodies render them very difficult to remove once they have wedged themselves in

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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