Changeable Lizards (Calotes versicolor) seen loitering here

Calotes versicolor (Changeable Lizards, Garden Fence Lizards) –

These attractive-looking Calotes versicolor are really attracted to our little garden paradise! They’re frequently seen loitering around, probably because our garden is packed with all kinds of tropical plants, from the low-growing annuals or perennials to the shrubby plants, scrambling vines and tall palms. There are ample vegetation around for them to rest, hide, sunbath or just waiting to stalk their prey. I always get excited whenever I chance upon them among the plants or at the chain link fence bordering our front yard, and will rush inside our home for the Canon PowerShot A60 camera.

Macro of Calotes versicolor (Garden Fence Lizard Changeable Lizard) This macro image of the Changeable Lizard or Garden Fence Lizard was recently shot on January 30, 2008, from outside the fence looking into our garden.

I’m so happy to be able to get such a close-up snap of it for the first time. Usually, it’ll move away too quickly when I approach nearer for a capture. Now, I get to admire them up-close on my personal computer whenever I want – how wonderful! :)

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata (amphisbaenians, lizards, and snakes)
Suborder: Sauria (lizards)
Superfamily: Iguania (the iguanas and chameleons)
Family: Agamidae
Genus: Calotes
Species: versicolor
Binomial name: Calotes versicolor
Common name: Changeable Lizard, Garden Fence Lizard, Oriental Garden Lizard, Bloodsucker Lizard, Crested Tree Lizard.

Calotes versicolor (Garden Fence Lizard, Changeable Lizard, Oriental Garden Lizard), shot January 30, 2008Description: These Changeable Lizards are so named as they can change their colors quite quickly. The main color is usually a light brown to greyish olive and speckled with dark brown bands, though can change to iridescent green, or hued in bright orange, red, blue and black, reflecting their moods and environment.

These bright changeable colors are peculiar to the male during the breeding season, whereby its head, neck and shoulders turn bright orange to red, thus given their other common name, Bloodsucker Lizard. Aptly named Crested Tree Lizard too, where both males and females have a dorsal crest extending from the neck to almost the tail.

A large matured Oriental Garden Lizard will measure about 15-16 inches, with the slender and stiff tail itself taking 11 inches. Unlike other lizards, they do not drop their tails (autotomy), though do shed their skins like other reptiles. They have large heads, dilatable dewlaps and undeveloped gular sac. Like chameleons, they can rotate each eye independently. They are distinguished by two small groups of spines, perfectly separated from each other, above each tympanum, and possess massive and strong shoulders, and laterally flattened body. Their teeth are designed for gripping prey, not for tearing. Thus, the prey is swallowed whole after being shaken and stunned.

Food: Mainly insects, spiders and small vertebrates, including rodents and other lizards.

Breeding: Males become strongly territorial during breeding season. It will battle with any intruding male if necessary to attract a female, by brightening its head and neck to orange or red, plus inflating its throat dewlaps, turning sideways and bobbing its head. After copulation, a female will later lay about 10-20 eggs and bury in moist soil. The eggs are hatched in about 6-7 weeks. The new hatchlings are able to breed at about a year old and the generation continues.

Habitat: Found in a wide range of habitats – jungle shrubs and trees, the undergrowth in open habitats including highly urban areas, home gardens, hedges and parks.

Distribution: Widely distributed in Asia. Native to SE Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, India (including the Andaman Islands), Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, West Malaysia, Vietnam, Pulo Condore Island, Southern China (Yunnan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hong Kong, Hainan Island), Indonesia (Sumatra), Mauritius (Reunion, Rodrigues) and introduced to Oman and Singapore.

Links: For added information, check Wikipedia and here.

Here are more images of Garden Fence Lizards, captured from our garden. Enjoy! :)

Calotes versicolor (Garden Fence Lizard Changeable Lizard), captured December 16, 2007 Garden fence lizard on vining Bauhinia Kockiana, shot October 2, 2007

A baby garden fence lizard, shot October 23, 2007 Another baby Calotes versicolor (Garden Fence Lizard) on our Ixora coccinea 'Dwarf Red', March 17 2009

Calotes versicolor, camouflaging on Mickey Mouse Plant, April 14 2014

Last edit: May 30, 2016

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10 Responses to “Changeable Lizards (Calotes versicolor) seen loitering here”

  1. Sue Says:

    Hi I am really concerned about my lizard, I did have two but one died about a week ago. It broke my heart and now the other one doesn’t look so good, He/She is the same one as you have in the picture.
    How long do they live for?
    What can I do to help her/him? Myself I think it’s female.
    Please will you get back to me as soon as you can with any ideas. I really do not want to loose her.
    Thank you

  2. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi Sue! I’m really sorry to hear about your loss. Sorry too that I have no inkling whatsoever about caring for these lizards because I’ve never reared one before. Hope everything will turn alright for your other surviving pet.

  3. andria Says:

    hi, im wondering how do i find out if my calote (taylor) is a boy or girl, i just named it a semi-gender name just in case if it was a boy / girl. and do they camoflodge?

  4. Jacqueline Says:

    Sorry, don’t know about distinguishing their gender, Andria. Camouflage?…yes, they do that brilliantly, hence the name, Changeable Lizards. Incidentally, I think our four images at the end of the article did somehow depict that trait, don’t you think so? ;)

  5. Edwin Says:

    hi, i want to ask about one thing. The changeable lizard will bite people or not? because i scare about to touch it. my changeable lizard is still baby.

  6. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi Edwin! I really don’t know as I’ve never attempted to touch it…too scared. Anyway, there’s no chance as it just scoots off whenever I approach it. ;)

  7. Does anyone know anything about Calotes Tree Lizards? Says:

    […] never heard of them before but this website has quite alot of info on them Changeable Lizards (Calotes versicolor) seen loitering here | John&Jacq~s Garden Reply With Quote   + Reply to Thread « Previous Thread | […]

  8. JIM Says:

    Hi Edwin, Just saw one behind our office pantry. Tried to catch it and YES it bitten me… Not painful at all. I think she just tried to protect herself since I scared her too much! :-)

  9. darwin Says:

    haaha! at last! i found what type of iguana i have! ^^ tnx to this site… ^^

  10. Jacqueline Says:

    Great to know this article had been helpful, darwin! Thanks for letting us know.

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