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.
- Oriental Garden Lizard (Calotes versicolor)
- Fan Throated Lizard (Sitana ponticeriana )
- Peninsular Rock agama ( Psammophilus dorsalis)
- Blanford’s rock agama (Psammophilus blanfordanus)
- Bengal Monitor Lizard ( Varanus bengalensis)
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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