East African Spiny-Tailed Lizard

(Cordylus tropidosternum)

Reptile | Africa

East African Spiny-Tailed Lizard

Animal Info

Seneca Park Zoo is home to three East African spiny-tailed lizards (Common name: tropical girdled lizard). Their habitat is located inside the Animals of the Savanna building.

Status in the Wild

International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status: not yet assessed.


These lizards are found throughout the southern coast of Kenya to eastern Zimbabwe and central Mozambique. They are ground-dwellers and prefer dry forest habitats.


East African spiny-tailed lizards are carnivores, and feed mainly on invertebrates.

Did you know?

Other common names for this species are “dwarf sungazer” and “tropical girdled lizard”.

This lizard protects itself by grabbing its tail in its mouth – this creates an armored girdle by forming a ring with the sharp spines sticking out.

The East African spiny-tailed lizard is ovoviviparous, bearing live young instead of laying external eggs.

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