A stout lizard and the body is slightly flattened with a broad head, the tail is covered in whorls of spiny scales. It can reach about 30 cm in length of which the tail is about half. The body tends to be some shade of grey in colour and the back marked in diamond shaped blotches or lateral stripes or bands which range from a pale creamy yellow through to a rich orange. There are frequently similar coloured blotches on the flanks which sometimes join with the back markings to appear as complete bars. The tail is usually completely banded. In females the throat is generally a pale grey, but in males, particularly in the breeding season, it can become almost totally black.