Reptile

Sungazer

Area: 
South Africa
Habitat: 
Grassland and desert
Food: 
Mostly insects, sometimes mice
Size: 
Up to 15 1/2 inches
Babies: 
Young are born live, measuring 4 to 6 inches long
During the winter, sungazer lizards hibernate in their burrows.
A Hole in the Sun

 

Sungazer lizards get their name from their habit of sitting with their nose up pointed at the sky. It looks like they're staring at the sun! Like all reptiles, sungazers are cold-bloodedAn animal whose body temperature changes with the temperature of the air or water around it, as a turtle or fish.. To get warm in the morning, they sit and let the sun's rays heat them up. But no one really knows why they always sit in that heads-up position.

 

Sungazers dig burrows for homes. There may be up to 40 sungazers living in one spot, but each has its own hole. The lizards spend the day catching the sun's rays and snatching insects that pass by. Sometimes, a sungazer hunts for food a few yards away from its hole, but never goes very far. The burrowNoun-A hole in the ground made by certain animals, like rabbits. Verb-To dig a hole in the ground. is the lizardAnimal that has a long, scaly body, four legs (usually), and a long tail. It is cold-blooded and has a backbone.'s safe spot.

 

The spiney scales covering a sungazer's body are good protection from most predators. After all, who would want to get a mouthful of spikes? Believe it or not, jackals, badgers and birds of preyNoun: An animal that is hunted as food by another animal. Verb: To attempt to take an animal for food. hunt these lizards. If they can get ahold of a sungazer, they have ways of getting around the sharp parts. But getting ahold of a sungazer lizardAnimal that has a long, scaly body, four legs (usually), and a long tail. It is cold-blooded and has a backbone. isn't so easy. When it sensesBody parts that receive messages and send them to the brain; the eyes, ears, skin, nose, and tongue are sensory organs. danger, the lizardAnimal that has a long, scaly body, four legs (usually), and a long tail. It is cold-blooded and has a backbone. dashes into its burrowNoun-A hole in the ground made by certain animals, like rabbits. Verb-To dig a hole in the ground. and shakes its spikey tail as a warning to leave it alone. If a predatorAn animal that hunts and kills other animals for its food. grabs the lizardAnimal that has a long, scaly body, four legs (usually), and a long tail. It is cold-blooded and has a backbone.'s tail to pull it out of the hole, the lizardAnimal that has a long, scaly body, four legs (usually), and a long tail. It is cold-blooded and has a backbone. puffs its body up with air so that the sharp pointy scales dig into the side of the burrowNoun-A hole in the ground made by certain animals, like rabbits. Verb-To dig a hole in the ground.. The harder the predatorAn animal that hunts and kills other animals for its food. pulls, the tighter the sungazer becomes stuck in the tunnel!