CINCINNATI — A female armadillo banded lizard gave birth to a healthy baby at the Cincinnati Zoo recently, but that almost wasn’t the case.
Five of the rare lizards were discovered in November 2019 by Customs and Border Protection agents at a Northern Kentucky express consignment facility, hidden in a shipment from South Africa bound for Southern Florida.
The lizards were being smuggled inside stuffed animals in a package labeled “toy animals, t-shirts, and markers” and were found when the package was x-rayed.
The armadillo banded lizards are not permitted to be exported from South Africa without proper documentation.
The lizards were identified by U.S. Fish and Wildlife inspectors and given to the Cincinnati Zoo for care and treatment.
They are currently thriving in their new environment and will be a part of the Dragons exhibit when the zoo reopens.
The armadillo banded lizard is one of the few lizards that give birth to live young instead of laying eggs.