Alligator Lizard

Theme area:  Amazonía
Scientific name:  Dracaena guianensis
Class:  Reptiles
Continent:  South America
Habitat:  Tropical forest
Diet:  Carnivorous
Weight:  3 kg
Size:  up to 120 cm
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Alligator Lizards are found in the Amazonian regions of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. They inhabit seasonally flooded lowlands, marshes and the banks of rivers and streams.

They spend much of their time in water and their bodies have adapted to survive in this environment. They have a long, flattened tail, with a caiman-like dorsal crest that is very useful for swimming and diving. They have strong jaws to feed on their prey, which is mainly snails.

They are solitary and good climbers, as well as being good swimmers. They often climb trees to bask in the sun, generally near water so that they can escape if they are in danger. During the night, they hide in bushes. After mating, the female lays 3 to 10 eggs in a hole in a river bank and covers them with soil to protect them. When the hatchlings hatch, after 5 to 6 months of incubation, they must fend for themselves as there is no parental care.

Numbers of these species have declined mainly due to the loss of its habitat caused by pollution and deforestation.

Conservation Status
Extinct in the wild
Critically endangered
Near threatened
Least concern
Insufficient data
Not evaluated


They were hunted for their skins until a law was passed to protect them and the trade was stopped.
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