Giant Sungazer

Agamas, geckos, lizards, monitors and skinks indigenous to South Africa.

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Giant Sungazer

Postby Scottish Sungazer » Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:30 am

I have a real interest in the Giant Sungazer, Cordylus giganteus ( also known as a Girdle-tailed Lizard or Ouvolk ) does anyone have any information on this species including some pictures of the animals themselves and the habitat in which they live.

Many Thanks in Advance.
Best Regards,

Fraser Gilchrist
http://www.smauggiganteus.com
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Re: Giant Sungazer

Postby fredsmith » Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:17 pm

Not much info about these guys.

From Wikipedia...

Giant Girdled Lizard

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Cordylidae
Genus: Cordylus
Species: C. giganteus

Binomial name
Cordylus giganteus
Smith, 1844
Cordylus giganteus, the Sungazer, Giant Spiny-tailed Lizard, Giant Zonure, or Giant Girdled Lizard is the largest species of Girdled Lizard. They live in colonies and dig burrows into the silty soil of the Themeda grassland in South Africa. The name Sungazer comes from their habit of sitting at the burrow entrance and facing the sun. They are insectivores, but occasionally will eat small vertebrates. Sungazers reproduce every other year, and only produce one or two offspring. The decline in numbers is a result of habitat destruction (conversion of the grassland to farmland) and illegal collecting for the pet trade.

Sungazers are protected by spiny dorsal scales and large spines run along the back of the head. The tail is armed by whorls of large spines and is waved at predators that pursue it into a burrow. Adults are 150-180 mm from the snout to the vent. The back is yellow to dark brown and the sides are yellow. Males can be identified by the presence of enlarged scales on the forearm.

Captive bred Sungazers, usually juveniles, are occasionally imported from South Africa to the U. S. and command a very high price. They are long-lived, hardy captives, but rarely reproduce in captivity. Cordylus tropidosternum and Cordylus jonesii are occasionally marketed as “Dwarf Sungazers.”
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Re: Giant Sungazer

Postby Scottish Sungazer » Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:25 pm

Thanks fredsmith.

I maybe should have said, i do know this species pretty well. I am currently building a web site - www.cordylusgiganteus.com ( i hope it will be ready in a week or so )

Pictures are really what i am after.
Best Regards,

Fraser Gilchrist
http://www.smauggiganteus.com
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Re: Giant Sungazer

Postby Buck Rogers » Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:03 am

Sungazer is the common name used in South Africa for the Cordylus giganteus. So to call it a giant sungazer would imply that there would be a smaller species but that is incorrect. They fall under the family cordylidae and is the larger than other girdeled lizards, so don't be confused into thinking that there is a giant and a dwarf sungazer, though the size may vary in population. This species is under threat in SA due to habitat destruction and International pet trade, so it is highly ilegal to keep them in South Africa (and it should be like that in other parts of the world). What I am trying to say is that it will be highly unlikely that people will openly say that they keep this species on the forum so if you are wanting photos best would be to start a thread and ask people for photos, but I am unclear exactly what it is you are asking for?
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Re: Giant Sungazer

Postby Bushviper » Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:50 am

What sort of photos do you want? I do have access to some and could probably get pictures of the adults and babies which were born last week.
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Re: Giant Sungazer

Postby Scottish Sungazer » Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:24 am

That would be great bushviper. I would love to see them.

Buck Rogers - i am just looking for any pictures of this species, either out in the wild or in captivity.

To my knowledge, it is not illegal to keep this species in the UK. They are CITES II animals and all that is required is the correct import / export paperwork. Whether they SHOULD be kept is another matter all together. I believe if it is done properly, there is no harm.
Best Regards,

Fraser Gilchrist
http://www.smauggiganteus.com
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Re: Giant Sungazer

Postby Bushviper » Thu Mar 12, 2009 8:14 am

Sungazers are one of the flagship species for lizards. They hold a special place in our hearts and have even been depicted on our stamps in the past. The fact that we are almost not allowed to keep them and then seeing them on price lists overseas does evoke some resentment and anger. The have also been given special protection since last year and are now even more protected than before however habitat destruction is continuing unabated and this is the major threat they face.

To date only one person has ever bred them outside of South Africa as far as I know. That was In Alabama but Bert has passed away so that project was sold. Others have had babies born from gravid wild caught females. Possibly someone will be able to breed them regularly as they are fairly sought after.
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Re: Giant Sungazer

Postby Scottish Sungazer » Thu Mar 12, 2009 8:38 pm

It is an unfortunate fact of life that under 'mans' care, the world is slowly but surely being destroyed.

Being unable to keep native fauna is not restricted to South Africa. There are many good people, not just in this hobby, with the relevant knowledge and experience that are being prevented from helping their own native fauna, there is simply too much red tape and rules that most don't want to be bothered with all the hassle. I really think the only way to help the Sungazer, or any species for that matter, is to have a three pronged attack. 1) MOST IMPORTANT - protect and manage sufficent amounts of habitat in the wild. 2) Promote captive breeding, both in situe and ex situe and both privately and in zoo's. Not every private keeper has access to the help or funding that a zoo does. Help should be given to those individuals that have the relevant knowledge and experience to really add value to the breeding efforts of the animals in question and 3) Education of the wider general public.

I have seen several captive enclosures for Sungazers, hardly any replicate their natural habitat of the themeda. Most have a stone / gravel substrate and their enclosures are filled with rocks. Being given a burrow is again, destinctly lacking in most captive enclosures. I firmly believe that the reason why Bert was able to breed his animals was becuase he wasn't affraid to let them live outside. This meant they were subject to the temperatures and space required to stimulate breeding. Again, very few captive collections drop temperatures enough to instigate breeding behaviour.
Best Regards,

Fraser Gilchrist
http://www.smauggiganteus.com
Exchange information and observations on the Sungazer
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Re: Giant Sungazer

Postby Aluston » Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:14 am

http://www.crystalpalacereptiles.com/pr ... =GiantSunG
Very nice price :)
So, I tried to find dwarf sungazer (c. cataphractus) in Europe... and still trying...
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Re: Giant Sungazer

Postby Buck Rogers » Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:11 am

[quote=So, I tried to find dwarf sungazer (c. cataphractus) in Europe... and still trying...[/quote]

Cordylus cataphractus is an armadillo lizard, cordylus giganteus is a sungazer or giant girdled lizard. There is no giant and dwarf sungazer, it woul be like saying that a burmese and a children's python are giant & dwarf pythons (respectively).

The reason they are so cheap over in Europe and the states is cause we have some lovely smugglers in Africa who make a fortune sending large quantities of ILLIGALLY smuggled reptiles through out the world to be sold as 'captive breds' in pet shops. I am sorry for being an ass about this but as BV said it is a critically endangered animal that requires specific requirements which can not be met outside of Africa (bar for the dude in the US) and every year shipments go out and destroy our population. Purchasing these animals are destroying another country!

Anyway you have to know the facts before you can be a hypocrit yeah.
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Re: Giant Sungazer

Postby Aluston » Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:39 am

Anyway you have to know the facts before you can be a hypocrit yeah.


I do not trying to find the cheapest variant by any method. Also I respect natural treasure of any country. I just want to find a breeder, not a smuggler.
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Re: Giant Sungazer

Postby Buck Rogers » Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:45 am

There are no breeders of cordylus...
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Re: Giant Sungazer

Postby drummer » Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:58 am

Buck Rogers wrote:There are no breeders of cordylus...

:smt017
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Re: Giant Sungazer

Postby Aluston » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:18 pm

Buck Rogers wrote:There are no breeders of cordylus...


Why not? I think, that better ships breeded lizards than smuggled instead. Cause trade competition have more power than goverment laws IMHO.
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Re: Giant Sungazer

Postby Mongoose » Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:12 pm

Buck Rogers wrote:There are no breeders of cordylus...



Not... :smt017

And as for common names such as "dwarf sungazers" - remember, it's just a common name which derived from it being spikey like the Sungazer aka GIANT GIRDLED LIZARD or GIANT ZONURE.
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