The Armadillo Lizard is a Mini-Dragon That Curls Up Like An Armadillo

5 mins read
Wikimedia Commons; Tim Pierce/Flickr

Learn why the armadillo (Ouroborus Cataphractus), is one of the most unusual creatures on Earth, and how it has led to its decline.

The armadillo lizard is a unique reptile that has a unique exterior and unique defenses. These lizards, named after their animal name, have sharp armor-like features on their bodies. They are also known to curl up when threatened just like armadillos. The armadillo lizard’s armor isn’t the only interesting characteristic of this lizard.

To protect themselves from predators and harsh elements, Armadillo Lizards hide in large groups in the desert rock crevices of South Africa. They enjoy the sun and can be found basking in the warm rays of the sun.

These insect-eaters are also very easy to catch. This makes them great pets.

You will find the Ouroborus cataphractus (armadillo-girdled lizard), in the Succulent Karoo area of South Africa between the rocky mounts. These reptiles are also known as the golden armadillo and can seem to be dangerous. However, they are slow-moving and will try to run away from other creatures.

The colors of Armadillo Lizards range from brown to light yellowish-brown. The body of this species of lizard can be easily identified because it is covered with sharp, heavy spines from head-tail. The underside is the only part that isn’t covered by thorny skin.

This is why these lizards curl up in defense mode. An armadillo will curl up into a ball if it feels threatened.

When it is curled up, all of its body parts automatically protect its belly. They can remain in this position for as long as an hour. This unique defense protects the armadillo from predators such as snakes, big birds, or mongooses.

These dragon-like creatures can grow up to four inches long for males and females and can live up to a little more than a decade.

Although they eat small insects and invertebrates, their primary food source is termites or microhodotermes viator (and Hodotermes mossambicus), which is a similarity to armadillos. Termite mounds are often located far from lizards’ homes. Sometimes, armadillo lizards may need to travel up to 60 feet to reach them. This is a significant distance for an animal this size.

These lizards are dependent on termite populations for their food, due to their penchant for eating termites. The armadillo is vulnerable to environmental changes, such as changing rainfall patterns or the introduction of invasive plants that are harmful to the environment.

Armadillo lizards are one of few species of lizards not to lay eggs. They give birth to only one or two offspring per year. The gestation period lasts between 6-8 months. Ouroborus cataphractus mother can sometimes take up to a year between giving birth and feeding their offspring. This is a rare trait in reptiles.

The armadillo is known for its unique living habits. The armadillo is a social creature. It will form groups of up to 60 lizards, sharing their natural habitat’s rock crevices. It is rare to find an armadillo lizard alone in the wild.

Researchers discovered that individuals don’t always stick with one group. Males, females, as well as juveniles, move a lot between different groups. Because predators are less likely to hunt prey in large groups, they can provide extra protection by living in large groups. These large families can also lead to more hungry mouths.

These reptiles were studied and found that termites consumption is less common in winter when there is less food available. Scientists believe this behavior reduces competition for food among members of the group.

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