Zoo Atlanta helps in conservation of one of world’s rarest lizard species

ATLANTA — Zoo Atlanta is doing its part to help conserve one of the world’s rarest species of lizards.

Officials with Zoo Atlanta say 11 endangered Guatemalan beaded lizards hatched recently and arrived at a zoo back in their native land of Guatemala.

The lizards, three males and eight females, will join a breeding colony to increase the population of the species.

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There are estimated to only be 500 to 600 of the lizards in its native Motagua Valley in Guatemala.

Scientists are working to introduce zoo-bred offspring into areas of recovering habitat surrounding the fully protected Reserva Natural Heloderma.

Zoo Atlanta says their efforts to help conserve this species date back more than 25 years.

In that time, Zoo Atlanta has hatched 41 offspring of the reclusive species.


Guatemalan beaded lizards spend most of their time below ground and eat bird and reptile eggs.

They pose no threat to humans and conservation efforts and community outreach have greatly reduced fear-based killings.

Local landowners near the reserve where they will be released have agreed to protect them and continue efforts to restore their native habitat outside the reserve.

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