Aug 202013

Lovely Lizards Seen in Deccan Plateau


OK the first word that comes to your mind when you think “LIZARD” Or “REPTILE”? I am sure half of you would not even read further after saying a BIG YUKK :( :( . I mean most of us can only think bad about lizards. But let me ask you this: How can something created by Mother Nature be ugly and without purpose? I wrote in my earlier post about Reptiles of Rajasthan, when I visited Tal Chapar sanctuary, more famous for Raptors and Black bucks. (The Antelope, not the black money wale bucks).

I find all kind of reptiles to be fascinating and attracted towards them, be it the Checkered Keelback the first snake I photographed in wild or the Monitor lizard that I saw in a well known IT park in Hyderabad.  Let me also add that most of the lizards are harmless to humans and are not poisonous as is incorrectly believed. Hyderabad which is a major city in Deccan Plateau is home to many beautiful lizards, and all of them are found in Mrugavani National Park, some of which I have seen are.

  1. Oriental Garden Lizard (Calotes versicolor)
  2. Fan Throated Lizard (Sitana ponticeriana )
  3. Peninsular Rock agama ( Psammophilus dorsalis)
  4. Blanford’s rock agama (Psammophilus blanfordanus)
  5. Bengal Monitor Lizard ( Varanus bengalensis)
  6. Common Indian Chameleon ( Chamaeleo zeylanicus)

This is by no means an exhaustive list of lizards found in South India, but only a few that I have personally seen and photographed. In this post I am giving pictures of the first 5, as I do not have a good picture clicked by me or one of my friends of Common Indian Chameleon.

Recently I was in Mrugavani National Park once again with some friends and specifically requested the safari driver to show me some monitor lizards.  I must praise this guy he promised me the same and showed me not one but 2 monitor lizards, the first was an adult, but he hid quickly in the shrubs and I could not click it.  The second one was a juvenile, and one could see the generation gap easily. This guy wanted all the limelight or was scared of humans. Hence he continued to bask in the sun and enjoy the monsoon sun giving me good opportunity to click some quick picture.

Oriental Garden Lizard

An Oriental Garden Lizard Basks in Sun

Oriental Garden Lizard

I am watching you- An Oriental Garden Lizard Keeps an Eye on me

Once we came out of safari, I saw these 2 colorful Agamas enjoying a breakfast of abundant insects thanks to the bounty of showers earlier in day. They have bright orange-red color making them appear very angry.

Red Lizard black stripe

Angry Lizard : Peninsular Rock Agama


Blanford's rock agama Psammophilus blanfordanus

That is one insect less to bite you- look in his mouth Blanford’s rock agama (Psammophilus blanfordanus)

That is one insect less to bite you- look in his mouth Blanford’s rock agama (Psammophilus blanfordanus)

I actually thought the 2 Agamas are same, but my friend and famed naturalist and bird photographer Shreeram MV, informed me that they are actually two different species of Agama – Peninsular Rock Agama and Blanford’s Rock Agama (Psammophilus blanfordanus). The one with black body and insect in mouth is Balndford’s Rock Agama and the close up shot and the first picture is of the Peninsular Rock Agama. I actually thought that the black color is part of its camouflage in Blanford’s case, but it turned out to be a distinct species.

Angry Red Lizard Deccan Pleatue

Not sure about you, but I felt this guy looked like a Bandit

But the best was yet to come; on a rock in the flower bed was this pair of smaller lizards, who were so blended with their surroundings that it took me a full minute to find out where they are even after they were pointed to me.  These guys turned out to be the fan throated lizard or found in the rocks of Hyderabad commonly.  As I was trying to get close the female vanished but the male defied my presence and tried to scare me by opening his fan. I clicked a few pictures, thanked him and left him alone.

Sitana ponticeriana A pair of fan throated lizards

Fan Throated Lizards

Sitana ponticeriana Fan Throated lizard Male

The male was not happy with me and started puffing his fan to scare me

Sitana ponticeriana fan throated lizard with fan on display

OK I got the point I am leaving Mr. Lizard




What do you say? Are these lizards not beautiful? They play a very important role in nature by eating abundant insects and in turn becoming food of Raptors and other birds including larger lizards and snakes.  That is how Mother Nature has built life on our planet; everybody has a role to play, sometime as a prey and sometime as predator.

Varanus bengalensis Bengal monitor lizard

A Baby Monitor Lizard enjoying Sunbath



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You may also like to read this post about Reptiles of Rajasthan

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  20 Responses to “Lizards Seen in Hyderabad in South India”

Comments (20)
  1. Gorgeous! Didn’t know of this sanctuary. Did you go in in a vehicle or on foot?

  2. Wonderful click

  3. Wow lovely captures, lizards quite wonderful creatures.

  4. nice pictures and excellent details 🙂

  5. they look innocent .,. and all love to them but keeping similar distances 😀 ..I dont like them .. but these captures do give me enough reasons not to question their existence in the planet 😀 in fact I liked them through your lenses 🙂

  6. Fantastic shots. They look scary.

  7. Great captures Prasad. Which camera do you use?

  8. the orange lizard looks so beautiful…although i am herpetophobic, but i cant resist admire their beautiful click

  9. wow brilliant clicks.. creatures that scare me a lot, looking good here :p

  10. And colorful too! Lovely collection.

  11. My! what images!! really great photographs up there, Prasad. You really do succeed in making us see the beauty in them. 🙂

  12. Amazing captures and a wonderfully complementary narration to go along. As someone who generally shies away from these creatures, you almost made me fall in love with them. Thank you. 🙂

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