The common agama, also known as the red-headed rock agama or rainbow agama (Agama agama), is a lizard belonging to the Agamidae family that can be found throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. Swahili name: Kikoti askari siku; Mjusi kafiri. The species name was previously used to a paraphyletic group of taxa, however mitochondrial DNA study of different populations reveals that they are distinct species.
The three former subspecies A. africana, A. africana boensis, and A. africana mucosoensis are now considered distinct species, and A. africana savattieri is considered synonymous with A. africana.
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Physical Characteristics of the Red-Headed Rock Agama
The rock agama’s entire length ranges from 13 to 30 cm (5.1 to 11.8 in). Males are typically 7.5 to 12 centimeters (3.0 to 4.7 inches) taller than females. Famed for it’s fantastic, blended, blue hues and striking burnt sienna head, the male’s livery differs from the female.
The tail stripe usually has six to seven black patches running down its length. A dominant male has a blue body and a yellow tail, whereas females, adolescents, and submissive males have an olive-green head. However, red-headed rock agamas change color depending on their moods and seasons.
Fantastic Facts About Red-Headed Rock Agamas
- Male red-headed rock agamas are known as spider man lizards during mating season due to their red and blue hues
- Female red-headed rock agamas reach sexual maturity after 6 months while for males it takes 2 years.
- Head bobbing or ‘press ups’ are agamas way of communicating.
- Many adult males can be seen without tails due to sparring with other males.
- Agama means unmarried in Latin, probably used to illustrate the species polygamous lifestyle
Habitat of the Red-Headed Rock Agama
Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Chad, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, and Madagascar are all home to red-headed rock agamas. Deserts, savannas, woods, and mountains are all home to these lizards. They can also be found in cities and suburbs.
Habits of the Red-headed Rock Agama
Red-headed rock agamas are diurnal species that are active all day except for the hottest hour of the day, when even shady locations can reach 38°C (100°F). Food hunting and sunbathing are the order of the day.
Males are territorial and must compete with other males for space. Agamas live in social groups that consist of a leader male, a few females, and subordinate males. Only by eliminating the existing lead male (the “cock”) or establishing a colony outside of all other cocks’ territory can subordinate males win their own group.
The existence of a physical item, such as a tree or boulder, on which the lizards concentrate, usually marks the center of a cock’s territory. Fights between guys are more likely in metropolitan places because space is at a premium.
Insects are the main food source preferred by red-headed rock agamas. Grasshoppers, ants, beetles, and termites are largely included in the diet. Berries, flowers, fruits, seeds, eggs, grasses, reptiles, and small animals are among the foods preferred by red-headed. Rock agamas follow traits of omnivores in their diet but are labeled insectivores (read for definition).
Only the cock is allowed to mate with the females in his region, as red-headed rock agamas are polygynous. These lizards typically reproduce during the rainy season, but they can reproduce all year in regions with consistent rainfall.
The female will dig a hole 5 cm deep with her snout and claws in sandy, wet/damp soil that is covered with grasses or other plants. She receives sunlight for the majority of the day after fertilization. After mating and nest building, the female will lay a clutch of 5 to 7 eggs, which will hatch in 8-10 weeks.
Because red-headed rock agamas’ embryos are thermoregulated, all male eggs will be 29°C, while female eggs will be in the 26–27°C range. After hatching, the young will have a snout-vent length of 3.7-3.8 cm and a tail length of 7.5 cm. They are self-sufficient from the moment they are born. Males take two years to attain reproductive maturity, while females take 14-18 months.
Red-Headed Rock Agamas as Pets
Because Red Headed Agamas are an active species, they should be housed in groups of at least three and given lots of room.
A 48x24x24 inch vivarium is required to accommodate a trio (1 male, 2 females); the more space you can supply, the better. For the substrate, use a soil/sand mixture, and place rocks around the vivarium to create hides, making sure they’re stable and won’t trap your lizard. You can also adorn the enclosure with cork bark, sandblast branches, and artificial flora.
Red Headed Agamas require a lot of UVB rays in their enclosure, thus a 10% desert lamp is recommended. To heat the enclosure, a basking light will be required. You can use a transparent basking bulb during the day and a heat mat at night for background temperatures.
Ceramic heaters and red basking lamps can be used both day and night. A basking area of roughly 35C (95F) is required, with an ambient temperature of roughly 26-29C. (80-85F). Allow temperatures to decrease to between 23 and 25 degrees Celsius at night (74-78F).
The usage of a thermostat is required to manage the temperature of the enclosure at all times of the day and night.
How do I Feed a Red-Headed Agama?
Red Headed Agamas are easy to feed because there are plenty of live meals available. Your Agama can eat crickets, locusts, mealworms, butterworts, and a variety of other insects. Adults can be fed every other day; however, young lizards require daily feeding.
Providing stomach loads of insects as well as a vitamin dusting can help keep your Red Headed Agama healthy. Every day, provide new, clean water.
Threats and Conservation Status
At this time, there are no recognized threats to Red-headed rock agamas.
Q & A About Red-headed Rock Agama
Do Red-headed Rock Agama contain poison?
They’re more of a surprise than a bother. Red-head rock agama aren’t known to be hostile or destructive to property. The lizard is not poisonous or disease-carrying, and it may even be useful to homes because it eats native insects.
Are Agama lizards suitable as pets?
Because of their beautiful coloring, red head agamas are particularly popular lizards. They’re relatively easy to take care of. Remember to do your homework before purchasing any pet to ensure that it lives a happy and healthy life.
What is the maximum size of a Red-Headed Agama?
They grow to be around 12 to 14 inches long from head to tail as adults, with males being slightly larger than females.
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