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Great Plated Lizard


Southern and eastern Africa.


Grassy regions dotted with granite hills in South Africa at altitudes below 1000 meters.


It has a cylindrical body. There are very rough scales on the head. Scales on the back have pronounced keels. The belly has scales that are arranged in rows of 10. The soles of the feet are covered with slightly keeled scales. The lizard is yellow-brown on the upper surface in some cases with black stripes. The chin and throat are usually yellow, and the underside is dark brown.

Great Plated Lizard Click to View Bigger Picture

The plated lizard is shy and timid. It lives in underground tunnels which it sometimes shares with a Dwarf mongoose or a snake. It has an ability to arch its back and dig in with its claws. This makes it impossible to remove the lizard from its burrow without injuring it. Great plated lizards are diurnal.


The female lizard lays only 2 large eggs at a time.

Great Plated Lizard
Class: reptile
Genus: Gerrhosaurus
Species: major
Length: 22 1/2 inches
Average Lifespan: 15
Wild Diet: Grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars, millipedes, small lizards, and fruit.
Predators: Primarily snakes.
USFWS Status: Not Listed
CITES Status: Not Listed
Where at the Zoo? Small Animal Building: Desert Zone

Learn more about reptile or animals from Africa!
Or, cross-reference the two!

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