The Asian Grass Lizard

Writer and conservationist Annette J Beveridge

By Annette J Beveridge

An arboreal, diurnal species distributed throughout southern and south-eastern Asia, the Asian grass lizard (Takydromus sexlineatus) is a species easily recognised by the length of its tail. This distinctive long tail – approximately three times the length of the lizard’s body might be considered a hindrance but it distributes body weight and balance by making points of contact when climbing through grass stalks. They can easily jump from one stalk to the next.

Asian grass lizard description

The lizard has a pointed snout and small head. The tongue is black or pink. Sometimes, small scales can be seen beneath the chin which resemble a beard. The lizard’s limbs are of a normal size but notice the long and thin digits.

The underbelly is cream but the colour on the back will vary – green – beige. Some have brown stripes. Both male and females look similar but males can be identified through the presence of white spots on the side of the body and the pre-anal pores. The male’s tail is also thicker past the vent.


These lizards are most commonly found in grasslands. Each morning, they bask in the sunlight and are often seen swaying in the tips of grasses. This greater height affords protection from some of the ground predators. Asian grass lizards are not found in the arid areas but prefer habitat where seasonal rain occurs.

At night, they coil around the grass base or hide beneath logs for protection.

If a predator approaches, the Asian grass lizard remains completely still until danger has passed. If under immediate threat, they will quickly flee to safety diving into the deeper foliage. These are agile lizards and incredibly fast. If attacked, they can drop their tail which serves to distract the predator. The fact that these are such distinctive reptiles may go against them as they are often sold as pets. Fortunately, the species is not at risk.

Nature Experiences

The Hunt for the Ocellated Lizard

Editor Annette J Beveridge

By Annette J Beveridge

My brother and I spent a great deal of time searching for the elusive ocellated lizard while living in Spain. He had practically stumbled across an impressive male in the rough scrubland nearby and had rushed over to my house excited about his latest discovery. Both keen conservationists, I was eager to find one too and knowing these beautiful lizards were ‘almost’ on the doorstep was tantalising.

Near to the house, an area of desert-like scrub stretched for miles all the way to a small beach town on the far distant horizon. The terrain was hot, arid and in places, difficult to navigate. Having done a little research, I knew that the habitat – made up of dry, bushy shrubs, sparsely dotted trees, scrubby woodland in places and rocky, sandy areas, were perfect for this lizard.

We started searching in earnest trying to glimpse any movement. I searched for abandoned rabbit burrows too knowing that these lizards would make use of them. The heat sapped our energy. There was little shade and the sun was torturous at times. Spending hours in 40+ degree heat is really not easy. At times, I had to give in.