Rare lizards with attitude born at ZSL London Zoo
Tuesday 21 February 2006
ZSL London Zoo is pleased to announce the arrival of seven rare baby Rio Fuerte Beaded lizards. This is the first time these lizards have been bred at ZSL London Zoo and only the third time in a UK zoo.
These babies may look cute but equipped with venomous pouches in their cheeks, they can certainly pack a punch.
Sadly, Beaded lizards are struggling in the wild, mainly due to loss of habitat. Both urban developments and clearing of land for agriculture contribute to their demise, together with illegal collection for the pet trade.
Currently about 20cm long, the new babies, classified as vulnerable in the wild, will now form part of an international conservation breeding programme aimed at increasing their numbers.
ZSL London Zoo is one of only three UK zoos to hold this species and the offspring from the recent breeding will be sent to other zoos around the world.
These lizards are venomous, therefore you need a licence to keep and breed them. If bitten the venom would be unlikely to kill, but there would be severe pain and swelling in the bitten area for about two or three days.
They have grooved, chisel shaped teeth and venom is injected via a canal along the jaw line connected to the venom gland.
Beaded lizards are found from Southern Mexico to Guatemala and live partially arboreal lives in forested areas. They feed on nestling birds and eggs.