Wild Fact #828 – The Spotlight Hog (errrr… Lizard) – Agama Lizard

A question about the little lizard in the background of yesterday’s Wild Fact about the Elephant Shrew has sparked today’s post about the Agama Lizard.  I was not certain about the exact species but I am fairly certain that the little lizard in the background was indeed an Agama, which can found across Africa.

There are at least thirty seven different species found in Africa and happen to be the most common lizard found on the continent.  I guess it is so common that it had no choice but to take away from the elephant shrews two minutes of fame during the photo shoot.  Now let’s take a minute and learn what an agama actually is.  They are mainly insectivorous lizards that are active during the day, however, they will also supplement their diet with fruit, grasses and even the eggs of other lizards.

Perhaps one of the reasons the agama is so prevalent in Africa is due to their ability to adapt.  Originally, they would be mostly found in the forests of Africa, however, as their habitat was destroyed and towns and villages created, the little lizard had to either adapt or perish.  Obviously they chose to adapt and can often be found living in houses and coming out only to feed.  If you happen to spot an agama out in the open and proceed to chase it, don’t be surprised to see this little guy book it out of there quickly on its hind legs.

So what about the bright colours? Often when animals are brightly coloured it is to warn other animals to stay away since they are poisonous.  This is not the case for the agama.  I just brought that up to make myself sound smart. In fact, most agama lizards  are a dull greenish colour.  It is only the dominant males that will have the beautiful colours.  This means that sub-ordinate males and females have the boring green colours.  As with most animals, this colour is a status thing and let’s all the others know who is boss!

That just about does it for the agama lizard.  Have a great day!

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