Giant Zonure

Smaug giganteus

Did you know?

The Giant Zonures are also known as ‘Sungazers’ because they stare up at the sun when basking. The Genus Smaug, comes from the Old German verb smeugen (to squeeze through a hole) in honour of J.R.R. Tolkien, who was born in South Africa, as many believe his inspiration for the dragon ‘Smaug’ in the novel ‘The Hobbit’ was a Sungazer.

Home: Highveld region of South Africa.

Diet: Insectivorous; favouring grasshoppers and beetles.

Lifestyle: A diurnal species residing in separate colonies of males and females, but usually within close proximity, and prefer to burrow in silty soil within grasslands.  During winter they hibernate in their burrows.

Young: They breed every two or three years, give birth to two or three live young.  Juveniles reach sexual maturity at four to five years of age on average.

Lifespan: 25 years in captivity.

Conservation Status: Vulnerable and declining.  Threats include agriculture, habitat loss, illegal pet trade, and use in traditional medicine.​

Animal profiles

House Name Zoe
Age 7 years old (2010)
Sex Female
Place of Birth South Africa
Arrival at DMP July 2016
Personal Fact Loves eating insects


House Name George
Age                                        7 years old (2010)
Sex Male
Place of Birth South Africa
Arrival at DMP July 2016
Personal Fact Enjoys standing proud on a high rock



Giant Zonure