Chinese Crocodile Lizard

This lizard gets its name from the appearance of its tail, which has an enlarged pair of scales running most of its length, similar to the tail of a crocodile. It is an endangered species due to habitat loss as well as being harvested for the pet trade and Chinese medicine. It was thought to inhabit only one mountainous province of China, where it lives in and around clear pools of slow-moving, shallow water. However, in 2003 a population was also discovered in the Quang Ninh Province of north-eastern Vietnam.


  • Scientific Name: Shinisaurus crocodilurus
  • Range: China and Vietnam
  • Status in the Wild: Endangered
  • Location in the Zoo: Reptile and Amphibian House
  • Cool Animal Fact: Called “the lizard of great sleepiness” by local people, this species often remains motionless for hours on end, and can even submerse itself underwater for long periods of time, reducing its respiratory rate.