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VULNERABLE Endemic SUNGAZER bred at the National Zoological Garden.

The National Zoological Garden in Pretoria has successfully bred the second recorded birth of a sungazer in an ex situ environment in the world, and it is also the first of its kind to survive in a conservation environment.

National Zoological Garden Sungazer Lizard

According to conservation staff the reptile is in excellent health.

Sungazers are also known as giant gilded lizards and are the largest lizards in the gilded lizard group of reptiles. These spiny reptiles get their name from their habit of raising their bodies up to the sun.

National Zoological Garden Sungazer Lizard

Four sungazers will now be on display at the NZG’s Dragons and Monsters display at its Reptile Park. This is the first time in the NZG’s 123-year history that sungazers are displayed at the zoo.

The first group of sungazers which arrived at the zoo in 2011, were in very bad condition. Their rehabilitation took several months. There are currently 25 sungazers at the zoo, thirteen of which form part of an active breeding programme. All except the four now on display are kept off-exhibit.

National Zoological Garden Sungazer Lizard

All the sungazers at the zoo were either confiscated due to illegal smuggling operations or had to be recovered from their natural habitat due to habitat destruction through mining, construction and farming operations.


Sungazers are classified as vulnerable by the IUCN, but their numbers appear to be declining.

These reptiles are endemic to South Africa.

Stay up to date with everything news related to the National Zoological Gardens Instagram: @natzoopta Facebook: @NZGPretoria


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