Continent: Africa
Distribution: Republic of South Africa, Swaziland, Angola, Kenya, Tanzania, S Mozambique, E/S Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire), Uganda  tenuior: Grasslands of E Zaire, east through Uganda and Kenya to the Usambara Mts., Tanzania.
Type locality: Kampala, Uganda.  
Type locality: “in Cap. B. Spei lutosis, mihi non visa”
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© Peter Uetz

Source: The Reptile Database


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Cape grass lizard

The Cape Grass Lizard, also known as the Cape Snake Lizard or the Highland Grass Lizard,[2] is a species of lizard in the genus Chamaesaura. It widely found in southern Africa, inhabiting grasslands.[1] In one of the countries it lives in, Swaziland, it is listed as a Near Threatened species.[3]

The Cape Grass Lizard is ovoviviparous.[1] A discovery has shown females are not breeding at the same time in a year.[4]

This lizard has three subspecies. They are the C. a. anguina, the C. a. oligopholis, and the C. a. tenuior.[1]


The Cape Grass Lizard is widely distributed in the grasslands of southern Africa. It has been reported in South Africa, Swaziland, Angola, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, the Republic of the Congo, and Uganda.[1] The grasslands that the Cape Grass Lizard inhabits often have wildfire.[4]


The Cape Grass Lizard is ovoviviparous,[1] meaning eggs will stay inside the mother until they are ready to hatch. The average clutch size is three to seventeen eggs.[4] A discovery has revealed that females are breeding throughout the year. This adaptation is probably to prevent the total loss of reproductive gain in a year due to fire.[4]


The Cape Grass Lizard has three known subspecies.[1]

  • C. a. anguina - This subspecies was first described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758.[1]
  • C. a. oligopholis - Laurent described this subspecies in 1964.[1]


The Southern African Red Data and the IUCN Red List do not mention the Cape Grass Lizard. However, the Swaziland Red Data has the lizard listed as Near Threatened. The Transvaal Grass Lizard is also listed as a Near Threatened species.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Chamaesaura anguina LINNAEUS, 1758". The Reptile Database. Retrieved 2008-01-01. 
  2. ^ "Chamaesaura anguina". UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre. Retrieved 2008-01-01. 
  3. ^ a b "Swaziland's Biodiversity - Reptiles Checklist". Swaziland National Trust Commission. Retrieved 2008-01-01. 
  4. ^ a b c d du Toit, Annemarie; P. le Fras N. Mouton and Alexander F. Flemming (October 2003). "Aseasonal reproduction and high fecundity in the Cape grass lizard, Cordylus anguinus, in a fire-prone habitat" (– Scholar search). Amphibia-Reptilia 24 (4): 471–482. doi:10.1163/156853803322763936. Retrieved 2008-01-01.  [dead link]
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