Plated lizards, underrated or just meh

Though not my first plated lizard this handsome fella was given to me over the weekend by a local friend who rescued him from a home where he was no longer wanted. He seems to be in decent enough shape, but I was told his diet previously consisted of solely insects which was no bueno.
He is an adult Sudan plated lizard from… you guessed it, Sudan in Northern Africa. Actually their range is fairly extensive; so much so that they’re also called the western plated lizard, and their range even extends into south Africa. Plated lizards of several different species are found throughout Africa and the desert species have very similar care to bearded dragons in most respects. They can however be a little more tolerant of higher humidity spikes, and they spend much of their time in the wild hiding under and between rocks. They get their name “plated” from the bony plate structures under their skin that basically encase their body in armor. Their diet is that of an omnivore just like the bearded dragon so they will eat a wide variety of both plant and animal matter. They look similar to skinks and are often compared to them, but I feel that is unfair to the glory that is a plated lizard. Also, they are not closely related to skinks. Unfortunately, because imports are so cheap there has not been a lot of interest in establishing captive breeding programs which means most if not all of the animals in captivity came from wild populations. They can be very skiddish in the cage at first, but they calm down rather nicely with regular handling and can make excellent pets.
This fella here should color up some when he warms up and then even more during breeding season and he is pretty much full-grown now at about 19 inches. They can drop their tails but they are not as prone to doing so as say a leopard gecko might be. It’s pretty much a last resort since they use the tail as a defense mechanism to shield their body from predators when hiding in rock crevices.
I look forward to getting to know this guy and hope you do to.
P.s. I tried to find a range map illustration for these guys to share with you but was unsuccessful. If anyone is able to find one please PM me a link.
I’ve dubbed him Juggernaut




Almost forgot to put up this nifty skull pic I found…

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Ive contemplated getting one for awhile now but the wife says i gotta stick with what we have till we upgrade the reproom. Awsome lizard with an awesome name.

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I had never heard of them until this thread, and I’m nerding out by all the information you provided! That little dude is super cute! I can’t wait to see the photos you post of him when it warms up. He kinda reminds me of a tiny dragon (the scales of a medieval dragon) and a newt (well the head anyways)?

Thank you for posting a full photo of him too in the enclosure. I would never have imagined that’s how long he was (even though you stated how long he was - measurements don’t do well with me).

Do you plan on starting a breeding program with him?

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Ya know if happen to come across an available female I will definitely give breeding a shot. And to be honest they’re not going to be super colorful, but they do get a bit of color in the sides with some nice oranges. Depending on their locale they can vary quite a bit. Some are just solid brown and those look pretty cool in their own right. To me the brown ones look like bronze dragons lol.

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I didn’t think a lizard could be cute, but omg :heart_eyes:

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There is quite a lot of variation between them. I really like the way the scales underlay each other like a medieval gauntlet.

Definitely underrated

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I agree that plated lizards are very underrated as pets. They are hardy, easy to care for and seem intelligent to me. It is unfortunate that they have not been captive bred much. My personal favorite is Gerrhosaurus flavigularis, the yellow-throated or yellow-striped plated lizard. This is an east African species that tames down very easily and is quite active.

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I have had several plated lizards over the years and agree, very under rated. Easy to care for, great personality, long lived. I’m kind of glad they are though, less exploitation.

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At the same time if they were more appreciated more people would work to breed them and wild populations wouldn’t need to suffer as much h from exportation.

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Wow cool. I think I may have heard of these before but dont really know much about them. My inner zoologist/biologist is awakened after seeing the pretty pics of these neat creatures. Ill definitely have to do some research and learn a thing or two on these guys.

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Juggernaut finally let’s me pet him without bolting. Hes still not a fan of being picked up but hes getting there.

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they are amazing and long lived. Here’s one of mine

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Not colorful?!? That guy looks like he’s wearing golden chainmail. Beautiful!

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Brilliant videos J.
Thank you for sharing it :love_you_gesture:

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@welshmorphology I would love to see your photo set up for these kinds of shots.