Chinese crocodile lizards (Shinisaurus crocodilurus) are a very unique species of semi-aquatic lizard native to China and Viet Nam. During summertime they can be exposed to temperatures as high as 38C while in winter they will ‘hibernate’ in rock crevices and underground to avoid temperatures as low as -4C. In the wild they occupy pools and slow flowing rivulets and their diet reflects their semi-aquatic nature. In the wild they will feed on a variety of worms, tadpoles, caterpillars, insect larvae and snails. They are relatively slow moving most of the time so require food that is equally slow. They spend a large amount of time resting in water or on branches overhanging water and if spooked will dive into the water and submerge for an extended timeframe in order to avoid predators. They are a charming and placid species that can be handled and will readily feed from fingers but do avoid their teeth which are remarkably sharp. As they mature they develop rich yellows and reds along their flanks and belly.
They are facing severe environmental pressures from habitat loss and collecting for the pet trade so they are now restricted on Annex 1 of CITES meaning they require an article 10 certificate in the near future.
They are a live bearing species with a litter size of between 2-7 offspring once per year but are difficult to breed in captivity due to problems in determining the sexes and encouraging mating. There are a handful of dedicated individuals in Europe that are successful in breeding them and anyone considering purchasing one of these remarkable lizards needs to seriously consider breeding them as an eventual aim to help the captive population.
|LATIN NAME||Shinisaurus crocodilurus|
|ADULT SIZE||12-16in (30-40cm)|
|TEMPERATURE REQUIREMENTS||20-24C, with a basking site at 30C, they also need a winter 'hibernation' period at ~10C|
|ADULT ENCLOSURE SIZE||48 x 18 x 24in (120cm x 45cm x 60cm) minimum (needs to be semi aquatic)|