Chinese Crocodile Lizard - Rare Pond Predator
Is it a crocodile, or a lizard? The Chinese crocodile lizard is an amazing, little-known, scaly, orangy lizard which spends part of its life in water in the temperate forests of China. Discovered in 1928, male Chinese crocodile lizards average 16 inches (40cm) in length, while the females of the species are normally just slightly smaller.
These rare creatures have a varied diet which consists of many of the diverse fauna that live in and around the rivers they like to lounge near - including tadpoles, insects, dragonfly larvae, and snails; anything but vegetables! The Chinese crocodile lizard is a strict carnivore.
Also found in small ponds, these lizards enjoy a spot fairly high on their local food chain - there is generally only one Chinese crocodile lizard living in each small pond, preferring to hunt and eat alone. Like the much larger crocodiles you're more familiar with, these amazing lizards can spend long periods of time, in excess of 10 minutes, below the surface of a pond or river absolutely motionless, holding their breath, and waiting for their prey to float by, unaware.
Considered "vulnerable" by conservationist groups, there are less than 1000 thought to still dwell in their natural Chinese home. Though these animals have been kept by some people as pets, there are strict laws restricting their trade and sale.