Armadillo girdled lizard

Armadillo girdled lizard

Along the western coast of South Africa, Armadillo girdled lizard is particularly found in desert areas. It is commonly known as golden armadillo lizards, spiny-tailed lizard and girdled lizard. On the basis of its own genus, it was moves to molecular phylogeny in 2011.

Armadillo girdled lizard CHARACTERISTICS:

The Armadillo girdled lizard has followed distinctive characteristics:

  • Armadillo girdled lizard has stocky and flattened body.
  • Its color is light brown to dark brown.
  • It has yellow color on its underbelly with a blackish pattern.
  • Blackish pattern also visible under the chin.
  • In snout-ventlength (SVL), its size is 7.5 to 9 cm (3.0 to 3.5 in).
  • Its maximum size is 10.5 cm (4.1 in) according to snout-ventlength (SVL).
  • The title of ARMOUR is given to this reptile because it has an ability to roll itself into secure ball when it feels any threat.
  • In this balling condition, its neck, body and tail are covered with its spiny scales and its soft belly is also safe in this position.
  • With a dark brown upper lip, it has a broad and triangular head.
  • It has ringed tail with large spines which helps to protect from danger.

Armadillo girdled lizard has specific type of behavior:

  • It is diurnal.
  • Armadillo girdled lizard hides in crevices and rock cracks.
  • It likes to live in social groups that have 30 to 60 individuals.
  • Males protecting its territory and mate with their females that living there.



They are including among those lizards that do not lay eggs while they give birth one to two young. Young take feed by their mother. At most, once a year females give birth. In spring season, mating takes place.


Mostly, Armadillo girdled lizard likes to eat small invertebrates, such as insects and spiders. Sometimes it takes plant material. Commonly they fed crickets and termites are their most common prey items especially Microhodotermes and Hodotermes. It also eats rodents and small lizards.



In the pet trade, Armadillo girdled lizard is commonly used. Their wild populations are considered to be threatened. When available, they are very expensive. In captivity, lizard can live up to 25 years.


It has some unusual ant predator adaptations. With this adaptation, it takes its tail into mouth and rolls them like a ball when they feel any threat. In rolling condition its spines cover their body and protect it.

Armadillo girdled lizard RANGE:

They range from:

  • The Orange River south to the Piketberg Mountain and occur along the west coast of South Africa.



For pet trade, its illegal collection is the biggest threat. Armadillo girdled lizard, is easily caught because it is a fairly sluggish mover. Therefore they live in groups to make them safe.


Armadillo girdled lizard is including among the list of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). This specie is carefully monitored under this convention of international trade.

Armored lizard’ were ancestors of today’s turtles:

Armadillo girdled lizard is known as a primitive turtle due to the presence of two distinctive holes on both sides against head. This is a clue that this lizard has the evolutionary heritage of turtles.



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