Upon first seeing the glass lizard many people will assume that it is a snake, mainly because it has no legs and moves in the manner that a snake does, but it is in fact a lizard. This relatively small species of lizard is to be found in many areas across the world, and especially in the south eastern states of the USA, where the slender glass lizard (Ophisaurus Attenuatus) is the most common variant. One of the distinctive aspects of the species is that it does have quite a long tail, but for those who are trying to catch one they will have to react quickly as the glass lizard is much quicker than it looks.
Appearance And Diet
The largest glass lizards can grow up to four feet in length, but will most commonly be seen at between two and three feet in length. Because the glass lizard isn't a snake, it does actually have three distinct areas of the body, namely the head, the body and the tail, and it is the tail which takes up the majority of the body mass, and is usually between around fifty to sixty percent of the length. Glass lizards can vary in color, but those found in the USA will usually be yellow or brown in color, and will have six stripes running the length of the body.
Because lizards don't have the same jaw structure as a snake, the size of prey that they can eat is much smaller, with much of their diet being made up of insects and spiders. They can however also eat small mice, snails and even the eggs of birds and animals that lay their eggs on the ground.
Behavior And Habitat
Although glass lizards are generally cautious of human contact, if they are sighted they will often be fleeing quite quickly. If they are captured they can thrash around a lot, and are likely to damage their tail for which they are named. The tail of the glass lizard is a very interesting genetic development, as it can break off almost entirely when it is caught by a predator. If the glass lizard does encounter a predator and cannot escape, the tail will sway back and forth to attract the predator while the rest of the animal remains very still. This tail can then break off when struck, and has the brittle texture of glass, allowing the glass lizard to escape alive. After this has happened, the tail can regenerate over a period of time.
The glass lizard is to be found distributed across much of the eastern half of the United States, and will usually live in areas that have plenty of loose soil or leaf litter where they can burrow and hide. It can also be found in prairie and areas with long grasses, or around any areas where there are abandoned burrows they can use.
Reproduction And Growth Cycle
The mating season for the glass lizard will usually begin in the spring from late April onwards until the end of May, where the male will pin the female down before mating. A clutch of eggs will then be laid between late June and the end of July, with most clutches being between nine and twelve eggs in number. The female will remain with the eggs until they hatch around seven weeks later.
Hatchlings are usually three or four inches in length when they are born, and will grow quickly for the first three or four years until they reach sexual maturity themselves. They will then grow more slowly as they become older, with many glass lizards living for over ten years in the wild.
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