Plated Lizard

Gerrhosaurus majorplated lizard

Description: Plated Lizards typically range in size from 1½-2 feet. The tail alone can be up to twice the length of the body. Dorsal scales are smooth, while ventral scales are keeled. There is an overlapping flap of skin that runs laterally along the side of their body in the area where the smooth and keeled scales meet which allows for body expansion to wedge themselves in grooves of rocks when threatened or scared.

Range: Southern and Eastern Africa.

Habitat: Being a desert species, they prefer dry, arid climates. They can usually be found in rocky habitats, allowing them to bask in the sun on hot days. 

Wild: Plated Lizards are omnivores, eating plants, leaves, fruit, smaller lizards, and a variety of insects including centipedes, millipedes, spiders, and scorpions.
Zoo: Crickets and fruit

Reproduction: In midsummer, females lay 4 large, leathery, oval shaped eggs that hatch after 3–4 months of incubation.

Fun Fact: This lizard will not usually bite when threatened and would rather use its plated tail in defense. As an escape tactic, the plated lizard will run a distance than suddenly halt–with its tail raised–to confuse the pursuer. It will also wedge itself into a crevice to escape a predator.