Southern Tree Agama

Acanthocercus atricollis atricollis

As their name would suggest, the Southern Tree Agama is a mainly arboreal lizard, coming to ground only to move from one tree to another and to feed on ground-living insects. They inhabit open savanna landscapes, especially those dominated by thorn and miombo (Brachystegia) trees, and feed on ants, termites, caterpillars, grasshoppers, beetles and other invertebrates. Adults grow to between 12 and 15cm long, excluding the tail. Breeding males are very colourful and not nearly as well camouflaged as the females, non-breeding males and young.

Southern Tree Agamas are diurnal, sleeping at night in hollow trunks or under loose bark. Males are territorial and will fight each other viciously. Their breeding season spans spring and summer, when females dig a hole in moist soil in which they lay between 5 and 14 eggs that hatch in about 3 months.

The Southern Tree Agama occurs patchily from eastern Africa southwards to South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.  The IUCN considers this species of least concern. In South Africa they are commonly encountered in the provinces of Limpopo, Mpumalanga and nothern Kwazulu-Natal. They are very tolerant of humans and is a common sight in the rest camps of the Kruger National Park.

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24 thoughts on “Southern Tree Agama

  1. exploringcolour

    Hi, I’m putting together a colour post on ‘Pink and Blue’ and would love to use the photo at the top of the page. As you know I credit to your name as well as linking to your post and blog. If you’d be happy for me to use it, would you mind sending me a larger photo at 700 pixels wide to ecowburn at gmail dot com. Just if you’d like to. Thanks, Liz

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      1. exploringcolour

        Nice of you to get back thanks. I’ll be doing the posts over several days so I can include it in a later post so long as you send it before I’ve finished. Cheers, Liz

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  2. John

    It´s a very beautiful lizard!😊 In Sweden we only have three species of lizards, and they are all pretty small, and very quick! There are, of course, lizards from other countries to buy on business, but I strongly oppose the keeping of wild animals in captivity. I have indeed had a corn snake myself. It took a while before I made the decision to buy it, my own motivation was not to buy me, it does anyone else. I think that in some way you should stop selling exotic animals, but how will it go when they are bred in all countries. I’m not better than others and I would like to buy a snake again, maybe a tiger python, (black-tailed python) if I have room for it.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      The exotic pet trade really has become such a big money spinner that I think it will be a very long time before it comes to a halt. One can just hope that the animals being sold are captive-bred and that they are not being caught in the wild. Sadly that is often not the case and many kinds of birds, amphibians and reptiles are heading for extinction in the wild because of it.

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