Meet the Zoo: The Shinasaurus

August 20, 2012

It's been called the lizard of "great sleepiness" due to long stretches of immobility, but we prefer to call our Shinasaurus crocodilurus a crocodile lizard. Plated tails are not the only qualities these lizards share with crocodiles: they're both adept swimmers. 


An animal with an impressive name like Shinasaurus crocodilurus might give the impression it is a rather imposing beast. However, visitors to the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Prospect Park Zoo can see that the Chinese crocodile lizard is really a very small, but interesting, reptile.

The shinasaurus may be small, but it brings the wow-factor to the zoo-going experience, and its beautiful coloration and dramatic look make it popular with observers.

Chinese crocodile lizards are secretive reptiles that live exclusively in misty, damp, forested regions of China including Hunan, Guangxi Zhuang and Guizhou provinces. This semi-aquatic lizard spends its time in shallow water hunting for food. Its diet in the wild consists of insects, fresh water snails and tadpoles.

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