Giant Girdled Lizard

(Cordylus giganteus)


Giant Girdled Lizard IUCN VULNERABLE (VU)


Facts about this animal

The Giant Girdled Lizard can grow up to a total length of about 37 cm. It is brown in colour on the upper surface, merging to straw coloured laterally and ventrally. This lizard has four very large, spiny scales on the back of the head. The dorsal scales are large and spiny, differentiated from the lateral scales which are smaller but still spiny. The ventral scales are smooth and flat, laterally somewhat spiny as these are those of the neck. The tail has whorls of large, very spinose scales, decreasing in size from the base to the tip. Juveniles are generally similar in colour to the adults but with patches of orange-brown on the body.

Did you know?
that the "girdle" in this lizard's name refers to the thick, bony-plated scales that cover its skin in regular overlapping rows?


Name (Scientific) Cordylus giganteus
Name (English) Giant Girdled Lizard
Name (French) Cordyle géant
Name (German) Riesengürtelschweif
Name (Spanish) Zonuro gigante
Local names Afrikaans: Ouvolk, Reuse gordelakkedis
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Wilfried Berns



Range South Africa
Habitat Grassland
Wild population Unknown
Zoo population 41 reported to ISIS

In the Zoo

Giant Girdled Lizard


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 41 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


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Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Sebastian Wallroth

Why do zoos keep this animal

The giant girdled lizard is rated vulnerable by IUCN, and there are currently efforts to build up a coordinated ex situ breeding programme in Southern Africa. The main purpose of keeping giant girdled lizards at zoos is this educational, and as an ambassador species for arid land conservation.