Oriental garden lizard

A lizard with vibrant hues – a living canvas of green, brown, and sometimes even blue

Raj

A widespread reptilian species with a striking presence in gardens, agricultural fields, and urban landscapes throughout Southeast Asia and parts of South Asia. Its distribution extends through various countries, including India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines, making it one of these regions’ most commonly encountered lizards.

These lizards are known for their agility and the males’ bright breeding colors. They possess a distinct crest of spines running down their back, which is more pronounced in males and adds to their impressive appearance during the breeding season. The male Oriental garden lizards are also distinguished by their bright throat colors, ranging from red to deep orange, used to attract females or intimidate rivals.

The Oriental garden lizard is a diurnal creature, most active during the day when it basks in the sun to regulate its body temperature. Its diet is primarily insectivorous, preying on various insects and small invertebrates. However, it is known to exhibit opportunistic feeding behavior and can occasionally consume plant matter, making it an omnivore.

One of the most remarkable features of the Oriental garden lizard is its ability to change skin color. This change is not as dramatic as that of a chameleon. Still, it is significant enough to aid in camouflage or reflect the lizard’s physiological condition, such as stress or territorial display.

Breeding season brings about another interesting behavior in these lizards. Males perform a series of head-bobs and push-ups to attract females and to establish dominance over a territory. During this time, their colors become more vivid and their interactions more conspicuous.

The adaptability of the Oriental garden lizard is noteworthy. It thrives not only in forests and grasslands but also in human-modified environments. This adaptability and their role in controlling insect populations benefit their ecosystems and nearby humans.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Afghanistan
2019
Bangladesh
2019
Bhutan
2019
Brunei
2019
Introduced
Cambodia
2019
China
2019
Hong Kong
2019
India
2019
Indonesia
2019
Iran
2019
Kenya
2019
Introduced
Laos
2019
Macao
2019
Malaysia
2019
Introduced: Sabah
Maldives
2019
Mauritius
2019
Introduced
Myanmar
2019
Nepal
2019
Oman
2019
Introduced
Pakistan
2019
Réunion
2019
Introduced
Seychelles
2019
Introduced
Singapore
2019
Sri Lanka
2019
Origin Uncertain
Thailand
2019
United States
2019
Introduced: Florida
Vietnam
2019

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No