Invasive red-headed African lizard spotted in GT

| 24/06/2024 | 9 Comments
Source: DoE

(CNS): An invasive red-headed rock Agama was spotted in George Town on Wednesday, and the Department of Environment is urging people to call in any further sightings to help prevent what could be another invasive reptile threatening Cayman’s endemic lizards and iguanas. One of these animals was first spotted here in January, a long way from its native Sub-Saharan Africa, but there had been no more officially recorded sightings until this week.

There are concerns that the small reptile, which is popular in the pet trade, could establish a presence here, creating a problem akin to the invasive green iguana. The male agama, with its striking colours, is especially impressive, which is why it has become a popular pet. But having been introduced to southern Florida originally as a captive pet, it is now extremely common there.

The first red-headed rock agama was spotted at the beginning of this year in the industrial area of George Town, next to the container yard where international shipments were coming in. The sighting was reported to the DoE’s Terrestrial Resources Unit.

The DoE, which has been keeping an eye out for the lizard, believed this was likely to have been a one-off accidental import. Within an hour of the sighting, they were able to find and remove the animal successfully. They were also successful at trapping this latest uninvited guest.

“The red-headed agama is primarily insectivorous, but they have been known to eat small mammals, small reptiles, and vegetation such as flowers, grasses, and fruits,” the DoE explained in a posting on social media alerting the community to the latest sighting.

“It behaves much like our native curly-tailed lizard (or lion-lizard) and would pose a serious risk to such native reptiles through competition of resources as well as a potential vector of disease. Once established, the agamas are much harder to control than green iguanas due to their smaller size.”

Anyone who sees this lizard or any other exotic-looking animal in the wild is asked to contain it if possible and contact the DoE Terrestrial Unit immediately by WhatsApp at 925-7625 or email at

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Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (9)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    OMG…this sounds serious! Send the Royal Navy

  2. Anonymous says:

    If these lizards are allowed to breed with locals they will start demanding voting and NAU rights before long and then our politicians will start sponsoring them and paying their grocery bills.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Which invasive MLA is this?

  4. Anonymous says:

    DoE, why don’t you tell us about it’s preferred habitat etc? Give us some more information to work with please.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Build the wall!


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