Namib Rock Agama, Agama planiceps

Meet the Namibian Rock Agama

Imagine you’re taking a stroll in the desert in Namibia, the sun is beating down, and the air is dry. Suddenly, you spot a flash of red, blue & yellow, about the size of your hand, darting between the rocks. It’s colorful, agile, and seems to be quite at home in this harsh environment.

Congratulations, you’ve just met the Namib Rock Agama!

A Colourful Character of Namibia

male agama planiceps on granite rock
The male Namib Rock Agama, Agama planiceps

Agama planiceps is a fairly small lizard, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in color. The males are the show-offs in this species. They have fiery orange heads, metallic blue bodies and fiery orange tails with a glint of gold in between.

The females, on the other hand, are more modest, with mottled grey and yellow heads, orange flashes on their shoulders and brownish-grey colored bodies that help them blend into the rocky desert landscape.

female namib rock agama on granite
Female Namib Rock Agama

Home is Where the Rock Is

These lizards LOVE rocks. They spend their whole time in the rocky outcrops and crevices of the Namib Desert. The rocks provide them with shelter from predators and the harsh desert sun. They’re excellent climbers, using their sharp claws to scramble up and down the rocks with ease.

This ability allows them to reach high places for sunbathing and to escape from predators quickly.

Sunbathers & Shade Seekers

Namib Rock Agamas are ectothermic, which means they rely on their environment to regulate their body temperature. They love to bask in the sun during the cooler morning hours, soaking up the warmth to get their bodies moving. But when the desert heat becomes too intense, they retreat to the shade of the rocks to cool down.

Diet: Bugs & Greens

Namib Rock Agamas are omnivores. They eat a variety of insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates. But they also enjoy a good salad! They often nibble on leaves, flowers, and fruits when they’re available.

famale agama planiceps
Female Agama planiceps

Playing Dead: A Survival Trick

When faced with danger, the Namib Rock Agama has an unusual survival trick: it plays dead. By staying completely still, it can trick predators into thinking it’s not a tasty meal after all. This clever trick, combined with their proximity to plenty of narrow cracks and crevices to hide in, is what enables them to survive in a region full of potential threats.

So, there you have it. The Namib Rock Agama, a small but resplendent desert dwelling reptile, is a master of survival in one of the harshest environments on Earth – his coat of many colours adding a dash of vibrancy to the rocky landscapes of the Namib Naukluft Park.

In particular, watch out for these handsome devils during your stay at Agama Lodge where they are a common sighting and very obliging photographic models…