Cordylus cordylus

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Cordylus cordylus
Cape Girdled Lizard Cordylus cordylus Cape Town.jpg
Cordylus cordylus00.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Cordylidae
Genus: Cordylus
Species: C. cordylus
Binomial name
Cordylus cordylus
Linnaeus, 1758

Cordylus cordylus (the Cape girdled lizard), is a medium-sized lizard indigenous to the southern Cape of South Africa.

The Cape girdled lizard has a golden-brown body with spiny, keeled, body scales - especially on its tail.

It is indigenous to the Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces of South Africa, from Saldanha and Cape Town eastwards as far as Lesotho. It lives in large colonies (with social hierarchies), on rocky crags and outcrops, as well as on mountain summits. The lizards hide in rocky cracks, but come out in the morning and evening to forage. If threatened, they retreat to their holes and cracks in the rocks, wedge themselves in and lock their bodies there by inflating their lungs. Jammed into the cracks like this, with their thorny tail wrapped protectively over their faces, they are incredibly difficult to prise out. They can often be seen sunbathing on top of prominent rocks. In the autumn, the females give birth to one or two young, which stay very near the mother for the first year. They feed on insects on which they run out and pounce.


Further reading[edit]

  • Branch, B., 1998. Field Guide to Snakes and other Reptiles of Southern Africa: Ralph Curtis Books Publishing, Sanibel Island, Florida, 399 p.
  • Fitzsimons, V. F., 1943. The Lizards of South Africa: Transvaal Museum Memoir, Pretoria.