These lizards are very common here, you usually see them perched right at the top of bushes, posts etc where they use the suns warming rays to heat their bodies and prepare for hunting. Most times they will remain absolutely still, relying on their camouflage to keep them safe from predators. They eat pretty much anything they can fit into their mouths including flowers and fruit (they love strawberries) insects, lizards and like I said, anything that fits their mouth.
Ive been trying to catch one for you for about 9 months and saw a huge nearly black one recently but my offsider was too scared to act as a decoy so I could catch it. At well over two feet long and wild, it may have been too much for me to handle anyway..
I caught it just as I always do, stealth!
They look at your eyes, scanning them for any sign that you've noticed them in which case they run like hell and you have very little chance of catching them. I averted my eyes as I put one hand around behind it and grabbed the very tip of it's tail. As soon as it feels your touch it turns to bite you so you have to be quick to lift it off it's perch before it bites…it missed me by only an inch, close! (I'm getting slow with old age)
With it's size and having a small head I think it was a young female only two or three years old. Her natural colour is camo brown with tans through to blacks but they change colour to suit their environments and only go red/orange like this for display, mating and when theyre really pissed off like this one is.
She really wanted to bite me… But they have no sharp teeth and the bite is nothing more than a clamping sensation resulting in little or no damage.
Underneath she's quite smooth with tiny scales much like the soft underbelly of most snakes and lizards.
On top though this is a very interesting lizard, those sharp points are modified scales and they are hard and sharp but the underlying skin is very soft and rubbery so the points move about easily. If you were biting or eating this lizard it wouldn’t be nice in the mouth but little else. It's full of bluff, it puffs up the collar under it's head, changes colour and hisses at you with mouth open hoping to make you think twice about eating it, if that fails it runs like heck.
I had my offsider take these shots then I put her carefully back where she came from to continue to terrorise the local bug and flower population.
I bet she gets a lot of tasty fresh flowers in her graveyard home.