However, the ones were interested in locally, scientifically known as Agama stellio vulgaris, are about 20cm long. Living mainly off insects and spiders, with a little light salad on the side, they hide in vegetation or under rocks waiting for their next meal to pass by. Their hapless prey first knows its come to a sticky end when it gets caught on the end of the lizards mucous covered tongue.
From there on in its bitten by the first set of teeth and then crushed by the second before being swallowed.
We all know that lifes a game, and winner takes all, but the boss of the 25 strong family groups really knows how to let us know whos in charge.
Its all about colour you see. The females, as usual, are at the bottom of the social ladder. Theyre a brown colour all over unless theyre carrying eggs, in which case their head turns blue to warn off any prospective admirers. On the next rung up are the subordinate males who are most of the time brownish with an olive green head. At the top of the ladder is Mr. Big and theres no doubting that hes different from the rest of the crowd. Not only is he bigger at 25 cm. but hes brighter in both senses of the word. His body is blue and he has a red or yellow head and tail which says dont mess with me.
Should any lizard try to muscle in on his territory, the behavior that follows shows remarkable similarities to that found in your local bar. It starts off with a bit of head nodding, a precursor to some serious nutting. If the competitor doesnt take the hint then it gets a bit more serious and moves onto a kind of push up where the whole of Mr.Bigs torso begins to bob up and down as he starts to get angry and turns a darker shade. It should be obvious to all but the uninitiated by now that its time to back off, but if the new boy on the block still doesnt retreat then Mr. Big starts to get really upset, hops around a bit, then charges across, spins around Kung Fu style and smacks him hard with his tail. This continues in a show of bluffs, threats and out and out combat until the best man wins. My money, however, is on Mr.Big.Its nice being at the top though. You get the biggest burrow, all the nicest sun-basking sites and all the best women. Though not usually liking water, the lady of the species prefers to mate when its damp, so it could be a long wait around here. Assuming shes damp and in the mood, shes ripe for reproduction at the age of 18 months though it takes the gentlemen a little longer to be interested. However, after the tender age of 2 years theres no stopping them. They sneak up behind her and nod their little heads up and down in eager anticipation. If madam accepts, then she arches her back, lifts up her tail and a couple of minutes of manic thrusting follows. After this, madam scurries immediately away into the shade, although sir requires a few moments to regain his composure before continuing with life under a rock. Sound familiar ?
Usually, half a dozen eggs are laid in a hole in damp sand and a couple of months later they dig their way out and immediately start eating anything they can find. If their nest was a warm one, over 29 degrees, then theyll all be hot-blooded males. The cooler the nest, the more Ice Maidens. After a couple of solitary months they find themselves a group to join and start the story all over again.