Tag Archives: Tree Agama

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.