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Girdled and Plated Lizards: Cordylidae

Physical Characteristics

The plated lizards and the girdled lizards, which have often been separated into their own individual families, are heavy-bodied lizards. The plated lizards have tails that are much longer than the body and are covered with long, rectangular scales. Girdled lizards include the flat lizards, girdle-tailed lizards, and the grass and snake lizards. They have shorter tails that are only about the same length as the rest of the body and are usually covered with spiny scales. The flat lizards have greatly flattened bodies and have few if any spiny scales. The grass and snake lizards have tiny, barely usable limbs that look more like little spines than arms and legs. These lizards slither like snakes.

Many species of plated and girdled lizards are drab-colored and blend into the background. In others, the females and juveniles are dull, but the adult males are brightly and beautifully colored. The girdle-tailed and flat lizards range from 5 to 13 inches (13 to 33 centimeters) in length from head to tail tip; adult grass lizards grow to about 22 inches (56 centimeters) in length, and adult plated lizards reach from 6 to 28 inches (15 to 71 centimeters) in total length.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceDinosaurs, Snakes, and Other ReptilesGirdled and Plated Lizards: Cordylidae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Cape Flat Lizard (platysaurus Capensis): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, GIRDLED AND PLATED LIZARDS AND PEOPLE