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Sudan Plated Lizard Fact File

Gerrhosaurus major

Weight

0.45kg

(1lbs)

Length

30-40cm

(12-15.75in)

Lifespan

Wild 5-10 years

Captive 20 years

Diet

Omnivore

Insects, Fruit, Flowers

Conservation Status

IUCN

Least Concern

The Sudan plated lizard is also known as the great plated lizard, African plated lizard or rough-scaled plated lizard with all of these names making mention of the hard plate like scales which cover the body of these lizards.

They are a native of Africa where they can be found in savanna and rocky habitats. Often they will seek shelter in a burrow or termite mound.

As an omnivore the Sudan plated lizard will typically feed on insects, fruits, flowers and even smaller lizards.

They face few threats and are still considered common but may be captured for sale in to the pet trade.

Read on to learn more about these rad reptiles.

Appearance

The Sudan plated lizard is named for the large rough scales which are arranged in a straight, grid-like pattern along the back of their body.

Along the side there are visible folds of skin. These are not covered by the hard scales and as such allow an egg carrying female to expand her body. This is also helpful after a large meal.


Their rough scales are an adaptation which allow the Sudan plated lizard to wedge itself between rocks when looking to escape predators.


These lizards are sometimes called the tawny plated lizard a reference to most specimens being colored brown but others are greenish. On the underside they are lighter in color. They may have yellow spots across their back.

At the end of the body is a long tail which is typically twice the length of the body.


An average Sudan plated lizard will measure 30-40cm (12-15.75in) long with an average weight of 0.45kg (1lbs). Males are larger than females and they have a bright color on their throat.

Diet


These lizards are omnivores which feed on fruits, flowers, invertebrates and some small animals including smaller lizards.

Sudan Plated Lizard

Range

Africa is the native home of the Sudan plated lizard. They are not restricted to Sudan and can be found in a number of countries including – Benin; Cameroon; Central African Republic; The Democratic Republic of the Congo; Djibouti; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Ghana; Kenya; Malawi; Mozambique; Nigeria; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Sudan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Togo and Uganda.

Habitat

Sudan plated lizards are found in savanna and rocky habitats. They will hide under stone slabs and shelter among rock cracks and in termite mounds.

These animals have shown an ability to persist in areas which have been subject to development and can survive around resorts or in fruit plantations.

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Reproduction

Males become highly territorial during the breeding season.


Females will lay 2-4 eggs under logs, in rock crevices or in the soil. These are often moist areas. These eggs are incubated for 3-4 months.

At hatching a Sudan plated lizard measures 10-15cm (3.9-5.5in) long.

Behavior

These animals live in a burrow or termite mound which is shared with other animals. This may include snakes or dwarf mongoose. These burrows may be located in a crack within a small rocky mound.

Often these animals will live in large groups but they are not overtly social.

These animals are active during the day. They will escape to their burrow during the hottest parts of the day.

Sudan Plated Lizard

Predators and Threats

Natural predators of the Sudan plated lizard including reptiles such as carnivorous lizards and snakes and birds.

If threatened by a predator they will run for cover in a rocky crevice helping to stop them being pulled out from among the rocks and their heavy armor keeps them safe.

It is rare for this species to bite a threat.

This species is commonly encountered but no full assessment of their population has been created.

These animals are captured for the pet trade and rarely breed in captivity. As such much of the captive individuals are taken from the wild. Habitat loss is another threat for the species.

Quick facts

This species is also known as the great plated lizard, African plated lizard and rough-scaled plated lizard.

Sudan Plated Lizard

Photo Credits

Top

Ranjith-chemmad, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Middle One

Microphonics, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Middle Two

Dennis Bruijn, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Bottom

Bjoertvedt, CC BY-SA 4.0

<https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

References

Jackson, T. and Chinery, M., 2012. The illustrated encyclopedia of animals of the world. London: Southwater.

Oaklandzoo.org. 2021. Oakland Zoo. [online] Available at: <https://www.oaklandzoo.org/animals/sudan-plated-lizard> [Accessed 11 September 2021].

Branch, W.R., Howell, K., Ngalason, W. & Msuya, C.A. 2021. Broadleysaurus majorThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2021: e.T13152261A13152266. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2021-2.RLTS.T13152261A13152266.en. Downloaded on 11 September 2021.

ReptiFiles®, LLC. 2021. Sudan Plated Lizard Care Guide. [online] Available at: <https://reptifiles.com/sudan-plated-lizard-care/> [Accessed 11 September 2021].

Honolulu Zoo Society. 2021. Great Plated Lizard – Honolulu Zoo Society. [online] Available at: <https://www.honoluluzoo.org/animals/great-plated-lizard/#1554507392643-58ef7896-8228> [Accessed 11 September 2021].

Riverviewparkandzoo.ca. 2021. Plated Lizard. [online] Available at: <https://www.riverviewparkandzoo.ca/en/zoo/plated-lizard.aspx> [Accessed 11 September 2021].

Africa Alive! | Animal Conservation | ZSEA. 2021. Plated Lizard | Animals At Africa Alive. [online] Available at: <https://www.africa-alive.co.uk/animals/plated-lizard/> [Accessed 11 September 2021].

Brevard Zoo. 2021. Sudan Plated Lizard. [online] Available at: <https://brevardzoo.org/animals/paws-on-play/wildlife-detective-training-academy/sudan-plated-lizard/> [Accessed 11 September 2021].

Africa Alive! | Animal Conservation | ZSEA. 2021. Plated Lizard | Animals At Africa Alive. [online] Available at: <https://www.africa-alive.co.uk/animals/plated-lizard/> [Accessed 11 September 2021].

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