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Calotes Angleheads Dragon Lizards and Relatives: Agamidae

Spiny Agama (agama Hispida): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: Spiny agamas are medium-size lizards, about 12 inches (30.5 centimeters) long. They are usually gray-brown or bright green, but these colors can change. During the mating season, males have a blue head with a red throat and yellow shoulders. Females are plainer, with orange, brown, and cream-colored blotches. Spiny agamas have spines along their backs and two fanglike teeth in the front of their mouths. These teeth are strong enough to pierce tough insect shells and can give a painful bite.

Geographic range: The spiny agama lives in southern Africa.

Spiny agamas live in and between sand dunes. (Clem Haager/Bruce Coleman Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

Habitat: Spiny agamas live in and between sand dunes, or hills of sand piled up by the wind, in coastal areas and in dry semidesert areas, where some water is available.

Diet: Spiny agamas eat ants, beetles, and termites.

Behavior and reproduction: Spiny agamas live alone. They usually stay close to the ground, digging short tunnels at the base of bushes. They also climb small upright items, such as fence posts. Spiny agamas are sit-and-wait predators, meaning that they do not chase after their insect food. They wait until the insect wanders by and then catch and eat it.

During the mating season, spiny agama males become quite colorful. Males fight to defend their living and mating territories. They will mate with several females within this area. Each female will lay about forty-five groups of eggs, each containing about thirteen eggs.

Spiny agamas and people: Spiny agamas do not interact with people. There is a popular belief that these lizards climb trees to look skyward to see if it will rain.

Conservation status: The spiny agama is not threatened. ∎

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceDinosaurs, Snakes, and Other ReptilesCalotes Angleheads Dragon Lizards and Relatives: Agamidae - Physical Description, Behavior And Reproduction, Spiny Agama (agama Hispida): Species Accounts, Frilled Lizard (chlamydosaurus Kingii):species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, AGAMIDS