Giant plated lizard

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Giant plated lizard
Giant Plated Lizard (Gerrhosaurus validus) (11688565126).jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Gerrhosauridae
Genus: Gerrhosaurus
G. validus
Binomial name
Gerrhosaurus validus
A.Smith, 1849
  • Matobosaurus validus

The giant plated lizard (Gerrhosaurus validus) is a lizard in the family Gerrhosauridae, which is found in dry to mesic habitats of southern Africa. They are wary and stay close to their rocky retreats.[1]


Two subspecies are recognised:

Physical attributes[edit]

Close-up of breeding male
video of Gerrhosaurus validus in the Wuppertal, Germany zoo

A large lizard with a flattened head and body, its length is a maximum of 75 cm (29.5 in). The soles of the feet have black rubber-like balls, an adaptation to living on rock outcrops. It is called the plated lizard because of the platelike scales on the back.[2] This lizard is very shy and hard to approach. When threatened, it will jam itself into rock crevices (aided by its flattened body) and inflate with air, making it impossible to extricate it.

It is omnivorous, consuming a fair amount of plant matter in addition to insects and even baby tortoises. It also tends to form loose colonies.[3]


  1. ^ Pienaar, U. de V. (1978). The Reptile Fauna of the Kruger National Park. National Parks Board of South Africa. pp. 92–94. ISBN 0-86953-022-4.
  2. ^ [1] Archived February 28, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ FitzSimons, V. 1943. The Lizards of Southern Africa.