Sudan Plated Lizard


ORDER: Squamata

FAMILY: Gerrhosauridae

GENUS: Gerrhosaurus

SPECIES: major

DESCRIPTION:
A large, stout plated lizard, with a short head and large eyes. Length is 30-48 cm (12-19 in). Lower eyelid is covered with small scales and there are rough scales on the head. Scales on the back have pronounced keels and the soles of the feet are covered with slightly keeled scales. The animals are yellow-brown on the upper surface; each scale is often dark-centered, creating a speckled to striped effect. The chin and throat are usually yellow or cream, and the underside is grey to light brown. Both sexes have 9-13 femoral pores.

GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
Savanna and steppe areas of eastern and southeastern Africa, from Ethiopia to South Africa and to Togo in the west.

DIET:
Feeds on soft fruits and flowers, beetles, grasshoppers, caterpillars, and millipedes. Will take smaller lizards as well.

LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
Lives in burrows; it may dig these itself or use old termite nests. Sometimes will share its home with a dwarf mongoose or a snake. They also live in cracks in small rocky mounds. Lays 2-4 large, oval eggs in moist soil.

SPECIAL ADAPTATIONS:
Plated lizards have a groove running laterally along the length of the body.This groove contains skin that is not covered with plated scales and allows for expansion. Will part with its tail to escape a predator.

INTERPRETIVE INFORMATION:
Also known as the African Plated Lizard (Grzimek), Sudanese Plated Lizard (Vivarium), or Rough-Scaled Plated Lizard (Branch's Field Guide). Since Sudan Plated Lizard is the ISIS name for G. major that is what is being used in zoo records.

OUR ANIMALS:
2 sudan plated lizards.

STATUS IN WILD:
Not listed as endangered.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

  1. Branch, Bill. 1988. Bill Branch's Field Guide to the Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa, Ralph Curtis Pub, p.151.
  2. Grzimek, Bernhard. 1975. Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia Vol. 6. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co, New York City, NY, pp. 271-2.
  3. Kirkpatrick, David. 1993. "Plated Lizards of the Genus Gerrhosaurus: An Alternative to Iguanas" originally in HerpTales, September, Internet.
  4. Martin, Kristi. "Reptiles of Oakland Zoo" talk given January 23, 1999.

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