These Facts About Agama Lizard Will Amaze You.
Agama lizards are reptiles; sometimes called rainbow lizards because of the colorful displays put on by the dominant males. While most agamas are green and brown, dominant males show off by rapidly turning their bodies blue and their heads bright red or yellow. Most agamas live in small groups with the dominant male ruling over several females and sub-males. While sunning themselves each morning, the dominant male will claim the most elevated spot, with subordinates in lower areas. Agamas hunt by vision and prefer to wait for an insect to come by. Their sticky tongues help them hold onto prey. Agama Lizard feeds on ants, grasshoppers, beetles, and termites. Though primarily an insectivore, the agama will eat small mammals, reptiles, and vegetation if necessary.
Its size varies from 13 to 30 cm (5.1 to 11.8 in) in total length. It can often be seen in the heat of the day. In the breeding season, the males develop dramatically colorful markings, the head and neck and tail turning bright orange, and the body dark blue. Outside of the breeding season, the male is a plain brown. The females and juveniles are always more cryptically marked. This lizard can be found climbing rocks and walls. Its primary source of food is insects.
Habitat: They live in the savanna and rocky outcrops, particularly in arid regions. The majority of agama lizards are terrestrial though some are rock-dwelling and a few species inhabit trees. The agama is usually found among rocky outcrops, stone buildings, or termite mounds.
Habits: Agama lizards are diurnal species. They often form colonies, although some are solitary or exist in pairs. Parties of rock dwelling agamas are commonly seen pressed against sheer rock faces early in the morning, soaking up the sun’s rays to help regulate their body temperature. Agamas are extremely quick and are excellent climbers, making spectacular leaps when racing from rock to rock.
Reproduction: All African agamas lay soft shelled eggs that hatch outside their bodies (oviparous), excavating a hole in soft ground as a nest. The young lizards must fend for themselves, and cannibalism among males has been reported. A female often lays two clutches of eggs annually. Male agama lizards exhibit gaudy combinations of head and body colors during the breeding season, courting females and defending their territory. Males frills, crests, and throat fans to make themselves attractive to females.
Food: Agamas are insectivorous, mainly feeding on ants and termites, as well as beetles, flies and moths. They sometimes leap forward repeatedly to snatch flies from the fur of mammals resting among rocks, such as lions, steenbok and hyrax. Some species supplement their diet with seeds and leaves.
Predation: Snakes, birds of prey, small mammals and even young leopards on occasion manage to catch agama lizards. Their only defense is to run for safety among crevices in rocks, in holes in the ground, or to flatten against the ground in an attempt to conceal themselves. The bright attire of male agama lizards rapidly fades to match the surrounding environment when threatened.
The males are territorial, claiming small to medium-sized patches of land which they defend against other mature males. Juveniles and females reside within the territories unchallenged. The mature males become agitated when confronting each other, nodding vigorously, arching, skipping sideways, and clashing tails. The loser is chased out of the territory. During mating season, males do “push-ups” to attract females.