Sungazer Care Sheet


Scientific Facts

Common NameSungazer or Giant Girdled Lizard
Scientific NameCordylus giganteus
SizeUp to 35-40cm
Life SpanUp to 25 years
HabitatArid grasslands, semi-deserts
Country of OriginSouth Africa
Image result for sungazer

Image Source

The sungazer (Smaug giganteus, syn. Cordylus giganteus), likewise famous as the giant zonure, giant dragon lizard, or giant girdled lizard, is the most populous species of the Cordylidae, a family of lizards from sub-Saharan Africa. In 2011, based on a broad microscopic evolution of the Cordylidae, accompanying with seven distinct species previously referring to the genus Cordylus,  it was attributed to the current genus Smaug.

The species is popular as the sungazer because of its peculiar thermoregulatory function of raising the frontal portions of its material by lengthening its front legs, commonly adjacent to the access of its tunnel as if staring at the sun. The species is famously recognized all around its division and is described by numerous various prevalent titles in diverse expressions. The most general descriptive nickname is ouvolk, provided by Afrikaans landholders who equate the thermoregulatory lounging form of the lizard to discharged laborers, who consume enormously of their time hunkering in the daylight. The sungazer is further perceived extensively as mbedla by Zulu-speaking people and pPathakalle by Sotho-speaking individuals.

Appearance and Size

Previously famous as Cordylus Gigantes, the Smaug giganteus is the most abundant lizard in the girdled lizard crowd. Van Wyk has surveyed grown-ups to be on standard 8 inches extended. The lankiest transcribed sungazer was estimated adjacent to 15 inches lanky. Their builds are nearly perfectly wrapped in sharp flakes. They possess four huge thorny layers at the rear of the crest and approximately four or five flakes extruding on the surface. Layers on the posterior side are comparatively greater than peripheral layers, which is a twist that is more substantial than layers below.

Image result for sungazer

Image Source

The tail is capped by dense, huge, pointed layers reducing in measurement from the bottom to the peak. Sungazers are deep copper-colored to pale tan on the back surface and blonde or yellowish beneath. Junior sungazers resemble the identical as grown-ups with the exemption that junior sungazers seldom have spots of orange-brown complexion. Males are commonly compared to females in the image. The merely notable discrepancies are that males have inflated layers on the surface of their forelegs, which females don’t possess.

Smaug giganteus utilize numerous techniques for security similar to other girdled lizards. The sharp layers masking their bases serve as a shielding guard toward predators. To dissuade invaders, they dash to whenever they are frightened and likewise apply their tailpieces when inside the tunnels since they don’t frequently gamble away from their dens. They wield their massively steel-plated ends, which may induce blood, at the trouble.

Geographical Range

Sungazer is domestic to South Africa. They are restricted to a little space comprising three regions. The central and durable group is observed in the northern parts of the Free State, and more diminutive communities are seen in the western parts of KwaZulu-Natal and the southwestern parts of Mpumalanga.


Sungazers, contrary to other girdled lizards that reside on stones, obtain superficial tunnels in a free meadow. They are day-loving-animal (productive throughout the daylight) and are frequently noticed lounging on the terrain near the tunnel or, limited oftentimes, on an insect hillock.

They reside in communities and excavate holes into the alluvial soil of the inland plateau Themeda meadow in South Africa. The name Sungazer originates from their custom of squatting at the retreat access glancing up at the sunlight. They sleep (lethargic position comparable to hibernation) throughout the frosty and are unusually noticed at all within May and mid-August.

Common Behavior

Giant Girdled Lizards are common lizards that dwell in crowds equating 2 to 6. This is bizarre because stable crowd existence is not typical between lizards. It has been revealed that communities are not significantly formed completely of family members, and inter-category migration is prevalent. Males, females, and youngs each depart and mix various crowds. This change transpires both throughout and distant of the breeding period. 

Males are remarkably possessive. In communities with various males, the range is separated between them. Even though there are a few hostilities among males in a crowd, it is much quieter than the aggressiveness exposed to a foreign male. Females and youngsters do not have settled colonies. Males protect areas that involve more extra than one female. Females travel between various regions, coupling with various males.

Image result for sungazer

Image Source


Giant Girdled is friendly lizards that inhabit in associations. Yet in confinement, they explicate pleasant course, where females manage to yield a tunnel while males transfer den controlled by females. Their communism is moreover established by the bearing of epidermal spleens in the femur and sewer glands, which are organs recognized for their pleasant performance in lizards. This indicates sungazers can discharge substances (endorphins) for language.

Diet Habits

Numerous cordylid species are camouflage scavengers. They consume most of their day perching (or rearing) in one spot, anticipating for a victim to make progress. Sungazers likewise utilize the identical approach to ransack. They generally stay adjacent to their tunnels as they abide by the victim. They supply on insects, mostly bugs, favoring scarabs beyond every else. Hunting is at its most eminent enthusiasm throughout spring and summer (September to March) and, which is their brumation season, it’s most profound while autumn and winter (April to August).

Reproduction and Life Cycle

Sungazers remain in respective groups of males and females, commonly nearby within the identical region. Males and females are frequently comparable to grammatically. You can recognize them exclusively by observing beneath their forelimbs. The males have articulated, inflated layers that females deficit. The male path to females is produced more accessible by their existence inside the equivalent space, adjacent to the females’ tunnels. It’s approximated that a domain may comprise a conventional tunnel weight of 6.14 specimens, with a mean variation of 0.87 carrying 1.83 lizards per tunnel.

The reproduction in Giant girdled lizard is about entirely periodically. It generates biennially (once in couple ages) or triennially (once in three cycles). Males and females of Sungazers pass into biological generative developments during the year as the period advance. These biological generative sequences promote the concept of most lizards being effective in May/June and resting in September/December. In the event of Sungazer generative modifications that enable coupling to take a position to begin in April, at the period of frosty and stretches during until approximately mid-autumn, merely before Christmastime or brumation.

Image result for sungazer reproduction

Image Source

Male giant girdled lizard exhibit cells restoration and maturity in spring when it commences becoming more heated. This is followed by an expansion in testosterone balance. The rise in testosterone balance spurs the creation of generative microorganisms (sperms). The procreative follicles are then deposited in the pipes (cylinder-like containers) of various measurements in the swollen testicles. Testicular maturity and generative microorganism procreation attain their zenith approximately late-season/mid-autumn, which is tip coupling season.

As frosty climate advances, coupling ends, and the biological generative moves begin to retreat. Testicular maturity and the boost in testosterone balance are correlated with rising atmospheric conditions, and retreat is connected with lowering atmospheric colds.

Female giant girdled lizards are viviparous. This suggests they deliver lineage to exist juveniles similar to mammals, which is a scarce bizarre as lizards are identified to be oviparous (yield eggs), as much as it’s not unique. Arrangement of the frame towards fertility blossoms in fall, into wintertime, continuously spring. This means of development is the mutation of essential vitamins towards generative microorganisms.

Nourishment and strength consumption, particularly before winter, resemble to perform a significant role in the establishment of productivity. It is throughout brumation (winter) that essential anatomical and biological modifications happen in the prospect of coupling, and sequentially productivity during spring. Maturation stages in viviparous lizards, counting Sungazers, are generally lengthy, relevant to couple years. Sungazers females deliver parturition to within one and two juveniles.

Family life

Sungazers commonly dwell in groups of tunnels, including more extra than one specimen per retreat. It was likewise seen in confinement that tunnels are generally owned by more than one sungazer. With females breeding biennially or triennially, they are considered to settle a bunch of energy into taking charge of their junior. This indicates there is plenty of childcare from the female.

How to Breed

For those people who have had progress in reproducing, the accurate preparation of both males and females appears to be the sole most essential determinant.

Image Source

Following the frosty season of hibernation, intimately adult males will produce feasible cells simultaneous the start of a more temperate climate. The enhanced sunlight and huge volume of precipitation throughout the flowering and vacation periods appear to induce the males into mating. Females deliver nativity to within 1 and 3 active juveniles from January – April.  A study on natural communities would symbolize that multiplying transpires solely every 24 – 36 months. The capability to deposit down sufficient lipid reserves throughout the season of action appears to conclude whether the female will be biologically fit to breed the subsequent period.

Added plausible cause for this profound generative scale is that as a colony-living lizard, the endurance pace is most possible more prominent than other non-public existence lizards, and therefore, considerably bigger stores can be bought into several juveniles as offsprings essential not scatter to defend for themselves. Giant girdled lizards bear live junior and yield juvenile averaging within 11 – 15 centimeters. Fortunately for the females, the juveniles are yielded with delicate vertebrae that contract as they grow mature.

Juveniles will stay beneath the security of their parents and inside the protection of her tunnel for some months. Juvenile creatures have frequently been witnessed, both in the natural and in confinement, limping a drive on the rear of their parents. It is not recognized for certain why they do that, but whichever more excellent point to absorb up the light or to evade predation than on the rear of your bulletproof origin? Attention must be considered as males have occurred famous for salvaging on kids, even their distinct!

At the instant, you are inadequate to reestablish the community variety conditions; these lizards would be applied too; to remedy this problem, hold fixed up tiny reflectors in my pet’s chambers to provide the impact that there are several different species in the range.

Male giant girdled lizard is unusual with other males of the Cordylid family in that they have swelled flakes on their front legs. In conformity with several different species, the male giant girdled lizard further has more extensive femur vesicles on the rear limbs when correlated to those of the female. Males may likewise discharge a slippery matter from their aperture domain. Unless males and females are comparable in character both in phrases of proportion and shade.

Care Sheet

Image result for giant girdled lizard cage

Image Source


When over the terrain, these species utilize a bunch of range. Experts would suggest a terrarium of at most limited 5cm x 7cm for a couple. Altitude is not as necessary since these species do not escalate much. You would seemingly be more suitable off purchasing a system built terrarium or producing your personal then obtaining that extensive of a container. Loads of stones should be in their container; you do not genuinely require to compose basking sites over territory because if they desire to disappear, they will just retreat. They look to choose to drill below level stones warmed by a warming torch the most. They will likewise appreciate an artificial shrub in their enclosure to burrow in or beneath, don’t consume your terms by installing a real one in there, they will strip it up tolerably fast with their hooks


Four-series demand a profound underlayer that they can retreat in (7.6 -12.7 centimeters would be great). Utilize soil on one surface of the terrarium and pound gravel on the opposite surface; they drill in both views nearly the identical, so you could apply either variety or a blend. The soil you will employ will transpire from outside. If you apply this, make certain there are no substances in it. A hobbyist would recommend the application of peat moss for these courses, it can become remarkably grimy and could create breathing difficulties.


Their lounging points must be extremely stuffy! Nearly 66 is absolute. Make certain they have a more relaxed place to go apart from the temperature, though. If they can drill beneath a stone that is warmed by a warming lantern, they will be extremely pleased tiny fellows. They do not require any warmth throughout the evening as abundant as the chamber remained in the mid-20s.


They have no particular moisture specifications and do not yet demand excess steam when they are discarding; they can cast considerably efficiently without it. It may be profitable to increase the moisture throughout the mating period


These individuals desire their brightness shiny and warm. Use 75 watt light tubes with a glass cover. At most limited two suitable lounging places on the peak of stones would be great. UVB is not specifically important; these lizards consume a portion of season subterrene. As lengthy as you supply them sufficiently, you must not require applying UVB.

One or a couple of 75-watt warming tubes with glass shades are adequate.


Dietary specifications for this species are considerably diversified. The chef nutrition comprises of all style of insects, from grasshoppers and crickets to bugs and mantids. They will likewise demand herb stuff, such as shrubs, dropped berry, and bulb caps. Provided the opportunity, and if they can reach them, they will further consume tiny reptiles. Except some sources give specifying of it, young mice will likewise be considered. 

When having these species in confinement, greatly of their nutrition is readily sufficed.  Roughly 20 sole ages before, there was surprisingly small in the form of insects to support confined reptiles, but some experts worked to take roaches, locusts, and other local bugs to supplement some modification to their essential intake of mealworms.


Their soil or gravel will require to be effectively substituted 2-3 times a cycle. They do not hold a particular “bath place” and will work the entire enclosure. They do not require to be served quite oftentimes, 1-2 times a week, but more must be supplied throughout the mating period. They excavate a field, and the moments that they are over terrain are in the daylight before midday.


Sungazaers are interesting animals. Their anatomy and performance are bewitching. The truth that their whole figures are masked in prickly thorns and such when attaining, they elevate their crest as if staring at the sunlight resembles to capture a group of individuals. So much so that it is considered J.R.R. Tolkien was invigorated by Smaug giganteus when forming the persona of ‘Smaug’ in the fiction The Hobbit.

Sungazers have continued been handled in the supermarket (conventional medication) by Africans, mostly by the Basotho tribe. Recently conventional physicians of most societies in South Africa applied them. Portions of the lizards are crushed within a particle to create remedies that are considered to enable fellows to possess various associates without complaint from the spouse or sweetheart.

An enchantment for Sungazer is so prominent that it is in request in the worldwide pet business. Individuals and organizations throughout the land have shipped these animals from South Africa. They hold a surprisingly high value, but that doesn’t hinder somebody from purchasing them.

Sungazer has charmed individuals so greatly that lately, there has denoted a request propelled by Dr. Ian Little, who is a manager of the Threatened Grassland Species Programme of the Endangered Wildlife Trust. The appeal is for Sungazer to be presented to South Africa’s national lizard.


Sungazers are unquestionably looted on by various vertebral predators, although their spiked barriers may hinder several likely opponents. As with numerous common creatures, a huge number of warning partners patrolling for risk can reduce the likelihood that a predator will advance unnoticed. 

When a sungazer lizard notices a killer, its response quickly informs each of them to the peril. This individual is relatively indolent and gradual-moving, so remaining in a neighborly community provides them more opportunity to leave, and most of their course is consumed adjacent to fissures in which they can burrow. They may mean most exposed to raptors of the victim. 

People may be the largest intimidation, as these creatures are frequently obtained improperly for the pet enterprise. Giant girdled progress somewhat gradually and are readily taken by hand if they are exposed in public. Remaining in assemblies gives them remarkably unprotected to mass-collection.

Economic Roles

Sungazer lizards consume bugs and distinct pests and may represent a decent part in regulating the pest populace. They are presumably not consumed in adequate amounts by different creatures to create a meaningful result as an origin of food.

Economic Concern for Humans: Resolute

These lizards possess a unique character and are fairly simple to grab. They are caught and traded in the business pet enterprise to different nations. Although accumulating this lizard is prohibited, implementation is complex, and thieves ordinarily hide them outside of South Africa. While prohibited and regionally disparaging to lizard communities, this accumulating is a root of interest for a few individuals and an origin of business and entertainment for somebody purchasing the lizards as favorites, possibly unaware of the illicit feature of their investment.

Economic Concern for Humans: Contradiction

This species has no adverse impacts on personal benefits.


Giant Girdled Lizards are home-grown, solely observed in one distinct nation or environmental range, to South Africa. It is discovered in the altitude fields of the northeastern Free State as entirely as a little community in southwestern Mpumalanga. The community state is unexplained but believed to be diminishing. Internationally and generally, they are presently categorized as Vulnerable.

Giant Girdled Lizards solely breed every additional cycle and merely provide one or couple growth produced juvenile. The community is in deterioration due to territory disruption as an effect of the regeneration of meadow to rural areas (mealie, strawberries, and other product growing), drilling, and unauthorized accumulating for the pet business and conventional drug enterprises. Regeneration/transmutation (particularly farming) of the natural field is the most prominent menace to the species.

How can you help?

  • Help with enhanced knowledge of the demand for environmentally beneficial growing applications. 
  • Do not support the custody of reptiles as favorites (particularly native exemplars, which is not permitted).
  • Sponsoring is needed for widespread exploration, study, protection execution, and appreciation. 
  • Aid protection regulations such as the Endangered Wildlife Trust

CIT Solemnizes Lizard Transcribed for Tolkien Dragon Smaug

Image result for sungazer jrr tolkien

Image Source

CIT Coin Invest has announced its newest money in the “Shades of Nature” category. For the prime event, it is given to a reptile, more specifically to a lizard whose Latin title “Smaug giganteus,” the Sungazer,  is a comparatively modern discovery. 

The lizard earned its designation in 2011 solely.  The South-African-born J.R.R. Tolkien was sparked by this imaginary monster Smaug. An appropriate option, recognizing that the reptile, not completely different from a dragon, is endemic to South Africa. Scientists believe that the retitling of the reptile, which is on the Red List of Threatened Species, will draw more people and press awareness so that the vital supplies can be established to protect the species, which is likewise familiar with vivarium-owners, in the native.

A distinctive peculiarity of the Sungazer is its huge, capitulated, peak-shaped spikes. These are excellently obtained on the money recognition of the controlled clever casting system, which gives the described creature astonishingly expressive. The outcome is created by connecting special ease with an evident-like coating on even the smallest exteriors of the spikes. Gratitude to a particular exterior approach in succession with the most eminent casting feature “data,” B. H. Mayer Mint achieved in shaping out even the tiniest points in particular.

The lizard’s high maintenance synthetically attains out from the comparably invented framework, whose plating greatly visibly features it. This money is, therefore, extremely exceptional not solely in its statement but further concerning the casting technology.

Fun Facts

  • The Sungazer Lizard favors certain alluvial soils because their chosen specialty merely appears to be undermining tunnels.
  • Gian Girdled may signify a portion of the food network as loot for different species crowds, which can cover raptors of the victim, giant reptiles like serpents, and several mammals such as mongoose, honey badgers, foxes, and jackals.
  • When frightened, this lizard will generally jump to their hole, but as they escape down toward their base, they make certain to say farewell with their dangerous end. This commonly induces the intruder not to advance the pursuit into the buried roof.
  • The species that exhibit the nearest likeness to Smaug giganteus in the corresponding genus are Smaug vandami and Smaug breyeri. Ouroborus cataphractus, which is from a separate genus, further seems comparable. They each worked to be included beneath the identical genus Cordylus.
  • Their shade ornaments resemble those of the meadow habitat they invade, which presents them mix in and be undetectable to their predators.


What do Sungazer lizards eat?

Sungazers consume bugs, particularly insects. Youngsters feed chiefly pismires and different tiny pests. 

Can you own a girdled lizard?

Giant Girdled lizards obtain exceptional favorites because, contrary to most lizards, they survive in community crowds and savor socializing with one another. It is extremely suggested if you prefer the lizard as your pet that you have more than one mutually for the creatures’ well-being.

What are lizard habitats?

Lizards remain in wastelands, woodlands, meadows, swamps, and rugged areas. Most lizards exist on the terrain or in woods.

What attracts lizards in your home?

Lizards are busy in the evening and surmount surfaces and can escalade shutters, where they capture insects that are drawn to brightness emanating from inside a residence or a veranda lamp. Lizards consume insects.

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake Care Sheet

Panther Chameleon

Panther Chameleon Care Sheet