Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Oriental Garden Lizard

The oriental garden lizard, changeable lizard or crested tree lizard, is widely distributed in Indomalaya. It is about 14.5 inches long, including the tail. They have a crest from the head, nearly to the tail. The coloration is variable, sometimes brownish, grayish/olive or yellowish. It generally has broad brown bands across the back interrupted by a yellowish lateral band. Black streaks radiate from the eye and some of them continue over the throat. During breeding season the male's head and shoulders turn bright orange to crimson and the throat turns black. Like chameleons, they can move their eyes in different directions. It is very common in Sri Lanka and is generally larger there.  
Oriental garden lizard in Minneriya NP.
We saw this lizard in a tree in Minneriya National Park in Sri Lanka. 
Cropped photo of same lizard. 
We saw another one of the same lizards on a tree at our hotel in Tangalle. These photos give a better sense of the crest going down the back.


  1. I hadn't realized how much it looks like an iguana. I think it's that spiny crest on the back that the photos really highlight.

  2. Really appreciate Bob, your concern towards this wonderful creature Garden lizard. It's Calotes versicolor, belonging to class reptilia representative of other members include crocodile,turtle,tortoise and snakes. They are seen through out the year. In india breeds during onset of monsoons. Iguana, uromatrix and monitor lizard are similar to this lizzard but varies in their characteristics due to different habitat and habit. Some species os lizzard like Sphenodon or tautara are poisonous species only found in Newziland. Iguana contain poisonous bacteria in their Saliva. Oriental lizzards are totally harmless and safe. They play important role in an ecosystem as controlling pest and they are food for many predators. Thanks.