Sudan Plated Lizard: 21 Facts You Won't Believe!

Discover interesting Sudan plated lizard facts such as its broad tail is about half the body length.

The Sudan plated lizard is a species of reptile endemic to the continent of Africa. It is found in the eastern, southeastern, and central parts of Africa in the countries of Sudan, Togo, South Africa, and Ethiopia. This reptile prefers to live in savannahs, thickets, semi-arid areas, and steppes. It is often seen close to crevices and termite mounds. This lizard is not a very social animal but gathers in small numbers around water bodies to breed and feed. A Sudan plated lizard reptile lives for five to 10 years in the wild and can live for more than 20 years in captivity. Insects are its main diet source with vegetables and fruits also being eaten. The most novel feature of this broad-tailed reptile is the keeled, square, rough, and lateral scales with yellow centers. The shield on the head is also fused to the skull. The Sudan plated lizard is also known by several other names like the western plated lizard, Broadley's rough-scaled plated lizard, and the great plated lizard as well as the scientific name, Gerrhosaurus major. This reptile has a status of Not Evaluated by the IUCN.

For more relatable content, check out these lava lizard facts and water dragon facts for kids.

Sudan Plated Lizard

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Insects, fruits, small lizards, vertebrates, rodents, and vegetation

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

2-6 eggs

How much do they weigh?

Up to 1 lb (0.4 kg)

How long are they?

12-28 in (30.5-71 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Tawny, grayish brown, cream, dark brown

Skin Type

Dry, keeled, square, plate-like, thick and smooth scales, and osteoderms

What are their main threats?

Humans, birds of prey, monitor lizards, and large snakes

What is their conservation status?

Not Evaluated

Where you'll find them

Rocky areas, thicket, semi-open areas, moist savannah, coastal woodlands, dry savannah, crevices, and rock piles







Scientific Name

Gerrhosaurus major





Sudan Plated Lizard Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Sudan plated lizard?

The Sudan plated lizard (Gerrhosaurus major) is a lizard.

What class of animal does a Sudan plated lizard belong to?

The Sudan plated lizard belongs to the Reptilia class of animals.

How many Sudan plated lizards are there in the world?

It is unclear exactly how many Sudan plated lizards there are in the world since their populations have not been evaluated and because these reptiles are very popular as pets.

Where does a Sudan plated lizard live?

Sudan plated lizards are endemic to the continent of Africa, mainly to the eastern and central parts. These reptiles are obviously found in Sudan, but also in the southeastern and eastern regions of Africa from Togo to South Africa to Ethiopia. The Kruger National Park also has some Sudan plated lizards.

What is a Sudan plated lizard's habitat?

Sudan plated lizards like to inhabit rocky areas, thickets, semi-open areas, moist and dry savannahs, semi-arid grasslands, and steppes. They exist from sea level to elevations of 5,577 ft (1,700 m).

These wild reptiles favor heat and are often seen near hills rock piles, termite mounds, and crevices. They like to burrow and dig into the soil.

Who do Sudan plated lizards live with?

Sudan plated lizards are not exactly social reptiles, but they are very often seen running around together near water bodies. This is because the spaces near water make for good feeding and breeding grounds.

How long does a Sudan plated lizard live?

Sudan plated lizards live for five to 10 years in the wild and in captivity. Some personal accounts however suggest that these lizards can live for more than 20 years in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

Sudan plated lizards reproduce by mating and laying eggs. Usually, two to six eggs are laid by the female lizards in loose soil or termite mounds that have comfortable temperatures of around 85 F (29.4 C). The eggs are known to hatch after three to four months.

Breeding Sudan plated lizards in captive situations is very difficult because of the low clutch size and the unfamiliarity of an artificial habitat.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of Sudan plated lizard species is Not Evaluated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Sudan Plated Lizard Fun Facts

What does the Sudan plated lizard look like?

Sudan plated lizard size is considered to be moderately big and the broad tail is almost half the length of the body. These reptiles have short limbs and stout bodies. They have an overall armored appearance. The tail, as well as the body, is covered with keeled and plate-like scales (osteoderms) in transverse bands. There are yellow spots on these scales which gives them a striped pattern. These reptiles also have a head shield that is fused to the skull. Their armors resemble those of Mesozoic reptiles. The lower eyelids have smaller scales compared to the rough scales on the head. The back scales are more pronounced and the feet soles are only slightly keeled. The throat and the chin can be cream or yellow and the eyes are big. A lateral fold runs along the lizard's length allowing for momentary expansion.

Sudan plated lizards are primarily colored tawny, dark brown, or grayish-brown with smooth undersides that are pale. Male adults of this species tend to be bigger than female adults. Male lizards also form brightly colored throats during the mating season.

Sudan plated lizards have primarily tawny or brown-colored bodies.

How cute are they?

Sudan plated lizards are okay-looking animals. They are popular among reptile enthusiasts for their shy and docile nature. They do have a certain patterned beauty with their osteoderm scales in transverse lines with dark or yellow center spots.

How do they communicate?

Being lizards, Sudan plated lizards communicate via visual, tactile, and chemical means. This means they are capable of communicating via body language, by smelling each other pheromones and the environment, touching each other during mating behaviors, or sensing vibrations.

How big is a Sudan plated lizard?

Sudan plated lizards can be anywhere between 12-28 in (30.5-71 cm), which makes them three to eight times smaller than water monitors.

How fast can a Sudan plated lizard move?

Being lizards, they can probably move around 15 mph (24 kph).

How much does a Sudan plated lizard weigh?

Sudan plated lizards weigh up to 1 lb (0.4 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Males and females of the Sudan plated lizard species do not have specific names.

What would you call a baby Sudan plated lizard?

A baby Sudan plated lizard is called a neonate, a hatchling, or a juvenile before it becomes an adult.

What do they eat?

In the wild, Sudan plated lizards eat insects, fruits, small lizards and vertebrates, rodents, and vegetation as food.

Sudan plated lizard food list in captivity can include live crickets, roaches, dubia, earthworms, hornworms, mealworms, super worms, and occasionally, mice. The food list can also include fruits and green vegetables.

Sudan plated lizards themselves are preyed on by birds of prey, monitor lizards, and large snakes.

Are they poisonous?

No, Sudan plated lizards are not poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, Sudan plated lizards make good pets. They are docile, shy, and become tame rather quickly. These reptiles are not made for regular petting or touching however because their tails are heavy and their bodies are covered in hard scales.

Did you know...

Plated lizards make good pets and adapt well to captivity.

Plated lizards are omnivores, mainly eating insects and other small animals. They also eat fruits and vegetables.

Sudan plated lizards are diurnal reptiles, coming out mostly at night.

A Sudan plated lizard bite is unheard of because they are not aggressive and are very shy.

Why are they called Sudan plated lizards?

The 'plated' in the name comes from the hard plates on the bodies of these reptiles. And they are endemic to many places in Africa, Sudan being one of them, hence the name.

How to look after a Sudan plated lizard?

A Sudan plated lizard enclosure should have the minimum dimensions of 48 in L x 24 in W x 24 in H (122 cm L x 61 cm W x 61 cm H). They like to burrow and dig into the floor, so a captive Sudan plated lizard habitat should have ample bedding and also hiding places. The ideal temperatures for the daytime and nighttime are 70-85 F (21.1-29.4 C) and 60 F (15.6 C) respectively. There should also be a basking area in the enclosure maintained at 105-115 F (40.6-46.1 C). A heat lamp and a nice quality UVB lamp (T5 HO, desert) should also be provided for sufficient Sudan plated lizard lighting. The level of humidity should at least be 80% and there should be plenty of heat.

Calcium dusted insects and vegetables make for a good diet for these lizards. Hatchlings need to be given insects and plants daily, juveniles can be given plants daily and insects five days a week, and young adults should be fed insects three days a week and plants four days a week. Finally, adults can survive without any food for one day of the week and be given insects two days and plants four days.

Live crickets and dubia roaches make for decent insect food and the vegetables that can be fed to these lizards include mustard greens, collard greens, escarole, endive, spring mix, grated sweet potato, and carrots. Even fruits like berries and mangoes can be given as treats. One must be careful to avoid indigestion and ulcer-causing citrus food like oranges and other fruits that are acidic. Fresh, clean water should always be made available and some pet keepers also give pinkie mice as treats.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles from our sand lizard interesting facts and Gila monster surprising facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable sudan plated lizard coloring pages.



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