The country of Angola is located in Southern Africa and has a long tropical coastline with the Atlantic Ocean. The interior of the country is a mixture of the Sub-Saharan Namib Desert and a maze-like system of rivers. This mixture of desert and water gives the country a unique array of native reptiles. This article will discuss some of these native reptiles and their physical characteristics, habitats and ranges, their current conservation status and the major threats that they face.
The Native Reptiles Of Angola
Desert Plated Lizard
The Desert Plated Lizard, scientific name Gerrhosaurus skoogi, is a species of lizard that is a member of the Gerrhosauridae family of lizards that are native to mainland Africa and the island country of Madagascar. The species has a light brown/grey colored body, with small black eyes and a lighter colored underside. This species habitat is located in the scrub covered sand dunes of the northern part of the Namib Desert. This species is found in two countries, Angola and Namibia. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List the Desert Plated Lizard has been listed as a species of least concern since 2009 and its current population trend in unknown. This species is currently facing no known major threats that would affect it.
The Namaqua Chameleon, scientific name Chamaeleo namaquensis, is a species of lizard that is a member of the Chamaeleonidae family of chameleons. This species is one of the larger species of chameleon that is found in southern Africa, as it can grow to be up to 9.84 inches (25 centimeters) in length. This species is usually a brown or grey color with some lighter patches on its side, dark patches on its upper-side and red or yellow stripes on its throat. It also has a very short tail compared to other chameleons, large dorsal spines and a pointed casque on the back of the head. This species is mostly a ground-dwelling species that has habitats in sandy areas that have scrub vegetation, but it can also be located in coastline dunes and rocky deserts. This species if found in the North Cape and Western Cape provinces of South Africa, Namibia and Angola. According to the IUCN Red List the Namaqua Chameleon has been listed as a species of least concern since 2009 and its current population trend in unknown. This species faces no known major threats, despite being traded internationally as part of the pet trade since it is managed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITIES) treaty.
The Peringuey's Adder, scientific name Bitis peringueyi, is a species of venomous viper snake that is a member of the Viperidae family of venomous snakes. This species is considered a small snake that grows to be around 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 centimeters) in length. This species has mostly strongly keeled scales on its whole body which can come in colors ranging from chestnut brown to a sandy-grayish color. The body is also marked with numerous yet irregular patterned spots that are pale or dark colored. The species also has a belly that is usually a dirty yellow or white color and a tail that is usually tan but can also be black. This species is found in undisturbed desert areas that have loose sand that are located by the coast. This species only occurs in two populations that stretch from the Rotkop hill in southern Namibia to the southern part of Angola. According to the IUCN Red List the Peringuey's Adder has been listed as a species of least concern since 2009 and it currently has a stable population trend. This species currently faces no major threats and its only concern is being collected as part of the pet trade, but this is only a minor local threat is some areas.
Conservation Of Angola's Reptiles
There are many actions being taken to help protect the native reptiles of Angola. The trade of some of these species are regulated international by CITIES and some species are also bred in captivity to prevent those in the wild from having to be captured. The government of Angola has also set up a number of national parks and nature reserves, where some of these reptile species can be found, so that they and their habitat are protected.