Legless Lizard

When most people think of a lizard they think of a being with legs, but there is one lizard that defies this description and it is aptly called the legless lizard. This species looks an awful lot like a snake and it belongs to the Anguidae family, which is a family that contains 80 species. Most of these species are found in North and South America. The legless lizard is also known as the glass lizard and they are found in Europe in regions such as the Balkans, Istria, Bulgaria, Crimea, and even parts of southwest and central Asia.

A rare species of legless lizard was recently captured in the Conecuh National Forest
A rare species of legless lizard was recently captured in the Conecuh National Forest

Habitat of the Legless Lizard

The legless lizard is usually found in dryer areas, and they seem to prefer places where there are plenty of rocks, brush, and other items that will provide them with cover. Many times these lizards will be found in dry stone walls, stone piles, and dry embankments. Legless lizards are often most active after it rain.

Diet of the Legless Lizard

These lizards can be seen in the wild as well as at many zoos, and therefore the diet of the animals will vary depending on where they live. When these reptiles are in the wild they are known to eat bird eggs, a wide variety of insects, earthworms, and even small mammals that they are able to catch. When the lizards are captive they often feed on mice, crickets, and a variety of worms such as earthworms and meal worms.

The Legless Lizard
The Legless Lizard

These reptiles hunt during the day and night and they are well equipped with their large teeth and powerful jaws. Because they are ground dwellers, the lizards often eat snails, which are thought to be one of the favorite foods of the species. Although it is a sight to see the lizards rid themselves of the slime from the snails after eating! Because the species dines on insects, legless lizards are thought to be an asset to humans, which is why most people who know what they are go out of their way not to harm them.

Life Span and Cycle of the Legless Lizard

These lizards live for a very long time, more than 50 years when in captivity! While they live to be quite old, female lizards of this variety will be mature between two and three years of life. The species usually breeds in the late spring and the females are adept at finding damp areas where they lay their eggs, usually six to 10. The females will watch over the eggs closely for about six weeks, but when the young hatch the female will leave them to take care of themselves.

Californian Legless Lizard
Californian Legless Lizard

The Difference Between Legless Lizards and Snakes

At first glance the legless lizard looks an awful lot like a snake, but there are some obvious differences. First, the lizards have movable eyes, which snakes do not have. Another thing that sets the lizards apart from snakes is that they boast rows of scales on their bellies. Perhaps the most interesting difference between the snake and the legless lizard is the fact that the legless lizard can break off its tail when it is threatened or in danger, which is why it is called the glass lizard because it looks like it is shattering when the tail breaks off! Overall, the legless lizard is very fascinating, though often misunderstood and misidentified.


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