Great plated lizard (Gerrhosaurus major)
Great plated lizards have a short head, large eyes and a tail that is usually twice the length of its body. The legs appear delicate because they are smaller than other lizards, such as iguanas. This reptile has rough scales on its head. The scales on its back have pronounced keels, and the belly scales are arranged in ten rows. There are deep grooves that run the length of the body which are low on its sides and contain skin not covered with plated scales. These grooves function as expansion joints for breathing, for females carrying eggs, or for distension after a meal.
Status in the wild
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status:
Ranges from eastern Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique. Lives on rocky hills where sparse vegetation grows. They will hide in the cracks of the hills or between rocks.
Young lizards will eat fruits, leaves and other vegetation as well as insects, spiders and other small invertebrates. Older animals will eat small mice/rodents and commercial canned dog food.
- The great plated lizard is diurnal, meaning it is awake during the day and would prefer to use its tail in defense rather than biting when threatened.
- They can live up to 20 years and grow up to two feet long.
- When threatened, they run into rocky crevices, which makes them almost invulnerable to predators.
- Males are larger than females and have a more brightly-colored throat.