Agama lizards are often called rainbow lizards because of the bright display of colors in the dominant males of this species. Here are a few facts about these lizards.
Did You Know?
The male Agama lizards fight amongst themselves to gain supremacy over a territory, and only the winner gets to mate with the females in his group.
Agama lizards are one of the most commonly found lizards in the African and Eurasian continents, and are well adapted to urban as well as forest areas. They thrive in an environment which provides ample amount of food, proper basking sites, and hiding places like thatched huts or rock crevices. Agama agama is the most widespread and frequently spotted species.
This AnimalSake article lists some facts about the behavior, habits, and life cycle of the Agama lizard. Have a look…
► Agama lizards have whitish undersides, and are usually brown, olive green, or gray in color. They grow to about ten to fourteen inches long; the males being larger than the females.
► The cock or dominant male displays bright coloring, in which his body turns dark blue, and the head, neck, and tail turn bright-orange or red. This hue is prominent during the mating season, and you can easily spot the cock in a group of many. All the other members appear dull and pale.
► When resting or threatened, the cock will turn brown like the others. However, while basking in the sun, it will again become vibrant, and will occupy the best spot in the area, followed by the subordinate males and then the females.
► Agama lizards are active during the day and usually bask in the morning sun to regulate their body temperatures. If the temperatures soar higher, then they withdraw to shady places or burrows. If threatened, they can run quickly and hide among crevices, or may attempt to conceal themselves by changing their bright colors to blend with the surroundings.
► Agama lizards are gentle creatures, except for the dominant male who is extremely protective of his territory against other mature males. A cock will defend his territory, and display of different colors and behavior has been identified during combat. Before a fight, the head of the cock turns brown, and white spots appear on his body.
► The male will become excited. He will nod vigorously, hop sideways, bob and arch his body to display aggression, and give the challenger an opportunity to call it quits. This behavior will be displayed several times, before an attack on the opponent.
► Agamas are insectivorous, feeding chiefly on ants and termites. However, they also eat caterpillars, moths, beetles, and flies. They can also eat grass, berries, seeds, and sometimes the eggs of smaller lizards.
► Agamas lie in wait of their prey in shade or dense vegetation. Once a prey comes in the line of their vision, they will actively chase and catch it. They may either snap the prey in their jaws or grab it with their sticky tongues.
► Their tongue tip is covered by mucous glands, which makes it sticky, and helps them hold on to smaller insects like ants and termites. They even leap in the air to catch their prey.
► The females reach maturity earlier as compared to the males. During the mating season, their colors become more intense. The cock raises and lowers his head, which appears as if he is doing push-ups to impress the female.
► The female often lays two clutches of eggs, in a hole about 2-inches deep that she digs in soft and moist soil. Egg-laying is done between June to September, and the hatchlings emerge after a few weeks.
► The sex of the eggs is determined by the temperature of the soil. Higher temperature will produce males, and lower temperatures will develop females.
There is no special conservation status listed for the Agama lizards due to their common occurrence. Snakes, young leopards, birds, or small mammals are their main predators.
Agama lizards are beautiful creatures that attract immediate attention due to their attractive colors. Don’t try to go too near to them, or they might just run off as they can spot a potential enemy from a long distance.