African Plated Lizard

Scientific Name Gerrhosaurus major

Native To Southern and Eastern Africa

Habitat Rocky desert and semi-arid steppe regions

Diet Omnivores: crickets and other small insects and plant matter. Occasionally small vertebrates

Size and Age 45 to 70 cm. Can live to be 15 years in the wild, but as old as 25 years old under human care.

Natural History

African Plated lizards are highly fortified animals with tough, naturally occurring amour that keeps them safe and invulnerable to most of their predators. Living in dry, rocky terrain, they spend their day foraging for food and basking in the heat. If they happen to spot a predator, they will run to the nearest grouping of rocks and wedge themselves into a crevice of some sort. Once lodged in place, the predator is unable to pry them from their hold, as their tough scales are hard to penetrate and grip the rough texture of the rock.


Conservation Status

Vulnerable to the pet trade and habitat destruction. If you are going to get a reptile as a pet, ensure you do your research and know what that animal will need to be taken care of.

Interesting Facts

  1. They are the most heavily plated lizard in their family with thick armour like scales covering the body and head plates fused to the skull.
  2. They are a diurnal reptile (active during the day) and bask in the sun often
  3. Plated lizards have a fold running down their body without scales so that if they eat a lot their bodies can expand despite being so heavily armoured.