In Hiaki, the general term for lizard is wikui, but if you want to talk about a particular lizard or a certain type of lizard you’ll probably want to be a bit more specific. There are dozens of different species of lizards that make their home in the Sonoran Desert and the Hiaki language has words and names for most of them. Here are some examples:


Tasa’a wikui

This lizard measures about four to six inches in length and is characterized by a light brown color with black stripes along its body. Typically, it’s only seen during the hotter months of the year, which may be why it has the name that it does, as the Hiaki words for summer and hot are tasaria and tata, respectively. Tasa’a wikui is a favorite food of the red racer snake.



These tiny lizards are a dark grey color and are usually no more than two inches in length including their tails! Their small size makes it easy for them to slip through little cracks and under doors to get into houses, and their name roughly translates to “watches your house while you’re out of town”. If these lizards could speak, they might say something like Nee hipu tawala, kialikun ne kaakun aa weye, which means “I’m house-sitting, which is why I can’t go anywhere”.


(Ornate Tree Lizard)

This lizard is a similar color to hipuyesa’ala, but it has a much bigger and fatter body, as it measures about six to eight inches. It prefers to live in trees, particularly mesquite trees. The Hiaki believe that if veho’ori makes its home in a tree and there are enough living in it, lightning likes to strike the tree and get them during a storm.


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