Southern Tree Agama

Southern Tree Agama

Many of you will know the Southern Tree Agama by its easier to remember name of Blue-headed Lizard. Another name for this lizard is the Black-necked Agama but I can’t see any justification for that name.

They are most often seen low down on the trunk of a tree from where they survey the surrounding area for food items. The Southern Tree Agama is territorial, so you are only likely to see one pair per tree. The camp sites in Kruger National Park are a great place to find them if you aren’t lucky enough to have one in your garden.

How big does the Southern Tree Agama grow to?

They grow to a length of around 40 cm which makes them quite a large lizard. The over-sized heads of the males are particularly obvious. During the breeding season the males have their most striking colouration with their bright blue head and “shoulders”. Their tails are an orangey-yellow colouration. Outside of the breeding season their colours are not as vibrant. The females do not have the blue colouration. They are more olive-brown with some black markings.

What do they eat?

During the day these species can easily be seen but at night, or at any hint of danger, they disappear into a hole or crack in the tree. Southern Tree Agama’s eat insects, with termites and ants being top of the list. They also eat other insects such as beetles and caterpillars.

The Southern Tree Agama is a harmless creature although I would imagine that it would give you a nasty bite if you tried to handle it. Even though this lizard eats ants it has a rather large mouth. Despite spending most of their lives in trees the female lays her eggs in the soil. Up to 12 eggs are laid at a time and they take around 90 days to hatch.

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