Peter's rock agamas were first documented in Florida in 1976 and have since established in Monroe, Miami-Dade, Collier, Lee, Broward, Palm Beach, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River, Brevard, Okeechobee, Orange, Seminole, and Volusia counties. This species of nonnative lizard was introduced via the pet trade as either escaped or released pets (Wilson and Porras, 1983; Nunez et al., 2016).
The FWC encourages members of the public to report observations of nonnative fish and wildlife, but additional reports of agamas from counties where they are established are not needed.
Like all nonnative reptile species, agamas are not protected in Florida except by anti-cruelty law and can be humanely killed on private property with landowner permission. This species can be captured and humanely killed year-round and without a permit or hunting license on 32 Commission-managed lands in south Florida.
Peter’s Rock agamas are not native to Florida and are regulated as Class III wildlife, meaning a permit is required to possess them for exhibition or sale. A permit is not required to possess them as personal pets.
While this species may be possessed as personal pets in Florida, responsible pet ownership is important. Don’t Let It Loose! Never release nonnative animals into the wild, including agamas. Doing so can negatively impact native wildlife and ecosystems, as well as be dangerous for your released pet. Owners may surrender unwanted pet agamas through the FWC’s Exotic Pet Amnesty Program, which facilities the rehoming process for surrendered nonnative pets to qualified adopters.
Adult male Peter’s rock agamas are approximately 20-30 cm (8-12 inches) in length, whereas the females are roughly 9.4-12.3 cm (4-5 inches). Breeding males have an orange or red head, indigo blue or black body, and a tail that is bluish white at the base with an orange middle segment and black tip. Pregnant females on the other hand, typically have orange patches on the body. Non-breeding males and females tend to have the same coloration with brownish, rough-scaled bodies, light-colored lines on the head and neck, and a whitish band on the back of the thighs that extends onto the sides if the tail.
Agamas feed mostly on ants, grasshoppers, crickets and beetles and other insects. This species has also been observed feeding on a variety of smaller prey animals including snakes, lizards, birds and mammals, as well as their own offspring (Anibaldi et al., 1998).
This species is native to tropical, sub-Saharan Africa.
Populations of this species exist mostly in southern and southwestern Florida with the largest, established populations occurring in several counties across central and south Florida. See where the species has been reported in Florida.
Because of their size and high population densities, they may pose a threat to small native insects and reptiles both by preying upon native species and competing with them for resources. Peter’s rock agamas are often easy to see but can be difficult to catch. Eradication of established populations in Florida is likely not feasible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I remove agamas from my property or hunt them in Florida?
Agamas are not protected in Florida except by anti-cruelty laws and can be humanely killed on private property year-round with landowner permission. If you are not capable of safely removing agamas from your property, please seek assistance from a professional nuisance wildlife trapper.