Oriental Garden Lizard

Oriental Garden Lizard

Eastern garden lizard, Bloodsucker, Changeable lizard, Oriental garden lizard, Eastern garden lizard, Indian garden lizard, Common garden lizard, Bloodsucker, Changeable lizard

4 languages
Calotes versicolor
Population size
Life Span
5 yrs
37 cm

The oriental garden lizard, eastern garden lizard, Indian garden lizard, common garden lizard, bloodsucker, or changeable lizard (Calotes versicolor ) is an agamid lizard found widely distributed in indo-Malaya. It has also been introduced in many other parts of the world.














Not a migrant


starts with


The Oriental garden lizard is an insectivorous lizard found in indo-Malaya. It has also been introduced in many other parts of the world. The lizard is generally a light brownish olive, but it can change its ground-color to bright red, to black, and to a mixture of both. This change is sometimes confined to the head, at other times diffused over the whole body and tail. During the breeding season, the male's head and shoulders turn bright orange to crimson and his throat black. Males also turn red-headed after a successful battle with rivals. Both males and females have a crest from the head to nearly the tail, hence their other common name "Crested Tree Lizard".



Oriental garden lizards occur in SE Iran, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China (South) (Yunnan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hong Kong, Hainan Island), India (including the Andaman Islands), Indonesia (Sumatra), Malaysia (Western), Maldives, Mauritius (Reunion, Rodrigues), Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Thailand, Vietnam (including Pulo Condore Island). These lizards are found in a wide range of habitats and appear to adapt well to humans. They are commonly found among the undergrowth in open habitats including highly urban areas.

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Oriental garden lizards spend most of their time in low shrubs and tree trunks trying to stay undetected. They are solitary and diurnal; on a hot sunny day may often be seen on a twig or on a wall, basking in the sun, with mouth wide open. After a shower of rain numbers of these lizards may come down on the ground and pick up the larva and small insects that fall from the trees during the showers. Oriental garden lizards have teeth that are designed for gripping prey and not tearing it up. So they swallow their catch whole after it is stunned by shaking it about.

Group name
Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Oriental garden lizards are carnivores (insectivores). They eat mainly insects such as crickets, grasshoppers, ants, and small vertebrates, including rodents and other lizards.

Mating Habits

6-7 weeks
10-20 eggs

During the breeding season, males become highly territorial. They discourage intruding males by brightening their red heads and doing "push-ups". Each tries to attract a female by inflating his throat and drawing attention to his handsomely colored head. The female lays from 10 to 20 soft oval eggs in hollows of trees, or in holes in the soil which they have burrowed, afterward covering them up. The eggs are long, spindle-shaped, and covered with a leathery skin. The young hatch in about 6-7 weeks and are able to breed when they are 1 year old.


Population threats

Oriental garden lizards are widely distributed throughout their range and don't face any major threats at present.

Population number

The Oriental garden lizard population number is unavailable at present from open sources and its conservation status has not been evaluated.

Ecological niche

Oriental garden lizards play an important role in their ecosystem. They help control populations of a wide range of insects and also provide food for local predators.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • Oriental garden lizards belong to the family Agamidae which includes over 300 species of iguanian lizards indigenous to Africa, Asia, Australia, and a few in Southern Europe. Many species are commonly called dragons or dragon lizards.
  • Unlike other lizards, Oriental garden lizards do not drop their tails, and their tails can be very long, stiff, and pointy. Like other reptiles, they shed their skins.
  • Like chameleons, Oriental garden lizards can move each of their eyes in different directions.
  • Oriental garden lizards are also known as “Changeable lizards”, due to their ability to change colors during the breeding season.
  • Oriental garden lizards have well-developed, strong legs and a very good vision.


1. Oriental Garden Lizard on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oriental_garden_lizard

More Fascinating Animals to Learn About