Hi, Mr. Nature here–with a nice lizard that’s not really anywhere near as big as the camera makes it look.
This is the chuckwalla, of the American Southwest. It lives in the desert and defends itself by scrunching in between rocks and inflating itself, making it very, very hard to get him out. It’s a member of the iguana family, and a vegetarian. There are several species with assorted colors and markings; and like many iguanids, the chuckwalla can change its colors a little bit, depending on the temperature and his mood.
I remember these critters from the Mark Trail Sunday color comics in the paper. You could really learn a lot from that comic strip.
I expect a chuckwalla would make a very pleasing reptile pet, provided you were careful to keep him warm and dry enough. Desert lizards, alas, can be tricky to keep healthy. So it’s probably better to stick with more adaptable animals.