Chinese Crocodile Lizard

Shinisaurus crocodilurus

The Chinese crocodile lizard lives in the southern Guangxi Province of China. It takes its common name from its tail, which resembles that of a crocodile. The name of its genus, Shinisaurus, is after its discoverer, Professor Shin, of Sun Yat-sen University, who collected the crocodile lizard at one of his student field trips to the Guilin region. Shinisaurus hibernates from November till March. Its young are born alive; they are very active and begin to feed soon after birth. Males are generally more colorful than females. This lizard is semiaquatic, being able to submerse for long periods of time, causing a great reduction of its respiratory rate. It also spends long periods of time out of the water, frequently remaining motionless for hours, without responding to any events in the environment. Because of this behavior, the indigenous people call shinisaurs "the lizard of great sleepiness". Noticing that this lizard remains immobile for hours, occasionally for days, they were led to the belief that it could cure insomnia.

The above picture was taken in the zoo of Columbus, OH, in August 2002.

Genus Shinisaurus
Family Shinisauridae
Infraorder Diploglossa
Suborder Sauria
Order Squamata
Class Reptilia
Subphylum Vertebrata
Phylum Chordata
Kingdom Animalia
Life on Earth