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The armadillo lizard (Cordylus cataphractus), also known as the armadillo girdled lizard, is a wide-headed reptile with a rather stocky physique. These light yellow or brownish-yellow creatures live only in South Africa. The western region of the nation is their home range. Unlike the lizards of most species, armadillo lizards have rather companionable dispositions and typically live alongside one another in units.
About the Armadillo Lizard
Armadillo lizards are big on bug eating, as their diet revolves around insects, insects and even more insects and other small critters. Their favorites include millipedes, beetles and southern harvester termites. They sometimes feed on spiders. Occasionally, armadillo lizards also eat plants such as fruit and foliage. The "armadillo" moniker comes from the species' protective stance. If an armadillo lizard is scared and feels at risk, he'll roll up his body up to create the appearance of a tight ball -- very similar to how an armadillo's tough shell looks. Their entire bodies are topped with thorny scales. When an armadillo lizard rolls himself into a thorny ball, he simply becomes too painful -- literally -- for predators to eat.
In terms of animal predators, birds of prey are a prominent threat to armadillo lizards. Some examples include ospreys, eagles and falcons.
Human beings are also a threat to these diurnal reptiles. Armadillo lizards are occasionally unlawfully trapped for the pet trade. Since these lizards tend to move slowly, it is often quite easy for people to catch them. Armadillo lizards also are rather conspicuous, since they spend most of their time in groups. It is not too common to spot an armadillo lizard going solo.
Crevices in Rocks
Armadillo lizards spend much of their time tucked away within crevices of rocks, usually with other members of their group. These lizards typically are extremely prudent and cautious, and at even the slightest hint of a threat they usually head immediately to the crevices to hide.
- University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web: Cordylus Cataphractus
- ARKive: Armadillo Girdled Lizard
- International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List: Cordylus Cataphractus
- Blue Planet Biomes: Armadillo Lizard
- Chicago Herpetological Society: The Art of Armadillo Lizards
- African Zoology: Foraging Mode of a Group-Living Lizard, Cordylus Cataphractus
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images