Kashmir Rock Agama (Laudakia tuberculata)- a common, medium-sized (5-6 inch), brownish lizard found in the Himalayas. It is terrestrial and lives in holes and crevices and stone walls. The stone ‘dangahs’ or retaining walls in Morni have these olive-brown lizards living in the holes left as an outlet for releasing the percolated rainwater. Kashmie agama is omnivorous and feeds on ants, butterflies, grasshoppers, crickets and other insects as also tender leaves, flowers and seeds of wild plants. It nips off the buds of flowering plants and is not a welcome garden guest! It is diurnal and can be spotted basking in the sun almost perfectly camouflaged against the rock. It is not poisonous but is known to have a painful bite. It breeds from May to August and lays upto 20 eggs in a single clutch.
The Kashmir Agama has a flat, elongated depressed light-brown head with prominent ridges on both sides extending longitudinally from above the eye to the nostril. A low spiny ridge from below the eye leads to the tympanum (ear drum). The tympanum is large and distinct and is marked by prominent scales along the circumference. The snout is of moderate length. The trunk is depressed and flat and back is covered with small keeled scales. The tail is long (upto 10 inches), depressed at the base and gradually becomes conical and tapers to a point. The limbs are strong. The third and fourth fingers of the forelegs are the longest and equal in length, the second and fifth are shorter and equal in length, the first is the shortest. The fourth toe of the hind leg is the longest and longer than the third and the fifth that are equal in length, the second is considerably shorter and the first is the shortest. All fingers and toes are slightly compressed and armed with strong claws.
The ground-colour of the upper parts is a dusky brown and the lower parts are whitish. The back is speckled with black/yellowish spots on both sides of a light vertebral line. The throat is reticulated with greenish veins.
- The Reptiles of British India; Albert C.N.G. Gunther (1863)