Great Plated Lizard

(Gerrhosaurus major)


Great plated lizard

Animal Info

There is one great plated lizard here at the Zoo, a male born in 1987. He came to the Zoo in 1996. 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.

Status in the Wild

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status: Unlisted.


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. In conservation care, older animals will eat small mice/rodents and commercial canned dog food.

Did you know?

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.

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