Family : Agamidae
Species : Bronchocela cristatella
The Green Crested Lizard (GCL), in my opinion, is the most photogenic lizard in Singapore. The body colour is bright green, sometimes with a bluish tinge on the head. It has a jagged crest on its neck. The body length is about 13 cm but the total length (body + tail) can reach up to 55 cm ie. it has a long hanging tail that makes up 3/4 of its length!
This native species used to be the most common lizard found in parks, gardens and forests in Singapore. Unfortunately, its population is in decline possibly due to competition from the Changeable Lizard (Calcotes Versicolor) which was introduced in the 1980s into Singapore from Malaysia/Thailand. This is an example of how an introduced species could affect the fragile ecosystem of any country.
I was lucky to have seen them on a few occasions mostly at Venus Drive.
They are usually skittish and sensitive to movement. Hence, to have a higher chance of photography this beautiful lizard, we would need to be very careful approaching them.
When threatened, its body can turn into darker brown or grey in colour as seen in the image below:
Sometimes, I prefer to shoot them using full flash as I find that the colours of the GCL often stands out very well against a dark background.
On a lucky day, the GCL may allow you to get very close to them. Don’t waste this excellent opportunity to take some close-up shots to show the nice texture of its body.
GCL usually eats flies, grasshoppers, ants and other small insects. To catch its prey, it will generally wait patiently in silence in trees, branches or bushes. I had seen a GCL eating its breakfast only once. It was quick in attacking and equally fast in consuming its prey.
I read that GCL could become prey of snakes and birds but I have never seen one. Here are two links where they were eaten by snakes:
With its declining population, it is not unusual that some people have never seen a GCL in Singapore. I am one of the fortunate ones who spotted them a few times in 2008 & 2009 but not a single sighting from 2010 to 2011. My photography friend had never seen one until a recent macro photography outing in Pulau Ubin! I can understand how happy he was! Here are my last few sightings of this georgous green lizard at Venus Drive, Chestnut Forest & Pulau Ubin!