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.
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.
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.
Oriental garden lizards are widely distributed throughout their range and don't face any major threats at present.
The Oriental garden lizard population number is unavailable at present from open sources and its conservation status has not been evaluated.
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.