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Species of the month[edit]

Armadillo Girdled Lizard[edit]

Cordylus cataphractus

Cordylus cataphractus

Some facts on this reptile:

Length: 16 to 21 cm.

Diet: Insects, spiders and invertebrates.

Range: South Africa.

Habitat: Scrub and rocky outcrops.

Life-span: Up to 25 years in captivity.

Conservation status: Vulnerable (IUCN 3.1).

First described: By the German zoologist Heinrich Boie in 1828.

If you happen to see a spiny ball don't rush for a kick, for it may be a living Cordylus cataphractus. This lizard has a curious defense strategy against its enemies: it rolls itself into a ball like an armadillo, with the tail tightly held in its jaws. Thus it presents a spiny ring to the predator while protecting the softer, more vulnerable belly area. This lizard does not lay eggs like the majority of its kin; the female gives birth to one or two live young in the late summer. The young are born with a thin membranous body cover, which they immediately break open. The Armadillo lizard is a pet-trade favorite, and wild populations are threatened by poachers collecting it for sale. The genus Cordylus or "Girdle-tailed Lizards" belongs to the Cordylidae or "Spiny-tail lizards" family which includes about 70 thorny African species.

(Archived from Template:Species of the week)