It looks like a snake and moves like a snake but it’s not a snake. Today we’ll learn more about the legless lizard in this edition of Pet Pointers.
These prehistoric looking animals evolved from legged lizards millions of years ago. Often mistaken for a snake at first glance, upon further inspection this creature is obviously a lizard. Reptile educator Diana Sleiertin tells us more about the differences between these two reptiles.
“One of the primary physical characteristics is the moveable eyelids and the ear flaps. Snakes do not have eyelids or earflaps. And while it is hard to see while looking at them they do a definitive body section which you can see with these abdominal slits here and so from here to here is his body and the remaining portion is his tail, which as you know by looking at snakes they do not have a definitive body separated by a tail.”
Legless lizards can be found on every continent except Antarctica and in every climate so it’s not uncommon to occasionally see one in wild areas of the United States. But urban sprawl is taking a toll on their natural habitat decreasing their numbers. If you do see a legless lizard in the wild its best to leave it alone. However if you find one on a smooth paved road it is ok to move it gently to the grass.
In captivity legless lizards can live into their 50s if care for properly and should only be kept if you are willing to make a lifetime commitment.
Before you bring home any pet, whether it’s a reptile or a mammal, do some research and be sure you have the time and resources to care for them properly.