Red-headed Rock Agama

Lizard in Nigeria, Agama agama
Photo by: Riri Belle Photography

Lizard, the red-headedrock agama, Agama agama, is the most populous of the 60 or more species of lizards native to Africa and Eurasia. In sub Saharan Africa it is well suited to arid conditions. However, they need a basking spot of 90F and an ambient temperature of around 80F. Adults grow between 30cm – 35cm including the tail. As with most lizards the females are usually smaller than males. Like all reptiles, they are exothermic and rely on an outside heat source to stay alive. Ants, grasshoppers, beetles, and termites are included in its omnivorous diet.

Alàngbá as it is called in Yoruba, is not considered edible in the culture. A bacteriological examination carried out in the University of Ibadan revealed that 18 of the 160 animals examined were fecal carriers of Salmonellae, a zoonotic bacterium that causes cause illnesses such as typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever, and food poisoning.

The subordinate males, females, and adolescents possess an olive green head. A blue body and yellow tail and head characterize the dominant male, an attribute for which it is sometimes called rainbow lizards. Each female can lay up to 20 egg which will take 3 months to hatch. Average lifespan of agama is between 25 and 28 years.

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer