Difference between legless lizards and snakes?

 The legless Lizards - What kind of Reptile?

In our middle zone, the situation with reptiles as a whole was not very good: only six species. Three kinds of snakes and three kinds of lizards. But they are also of considerable interest. In addition, even here there is a place to roam the misconceptions that have developed among the people. For example, I recently wrote about the copperhead, a small snake that is considered venomous. You can read about it here.

Legless Lizard" by "Matt Clancy Wildlife Photography" is licensed under CC by Attribution 2.0 Generic

"Legless Lizard" by "Matt Clancy Wildlife Photography" is licensed under CC by Attribution 2.0 Generic

Our lizards also have something to surprise you with. Of the three species that are found in the Nizhny Novgorod region, two have quite a "classic" appearance – two front legs, two hind legs, head, tail. This is a quick and viviparous lizard. The first, perhaps, the most striking of our reptiles - their males in the mating season have a bright green color.

The third type-the brittle spindle - has no legs! In this way, it resembles a snake, but there are also clear differences. For example, the eyelids of a lizard are mobile, while in snakes they are fused and transparent; the ventral shields of snakes are wide, while in spindles they have several rows of small ones. In addition, the lizard does not have a neck intercept, the body is " spindle-shaped "(hence the name). The specific name – brittle-is associated with the ability to drop the tail in case of danger.

The spindle length is up to 50 cm, but usually much smaller. The color changes with age: young have a dark brown color of the abdominal side and sides and a light upper part of the body. Adult lizards are gray or beige in color with a characteristic copper tint. Adult males in the mating season acquire beautiful blue spots along the back.

Its second name, medyanitsa, is associated with the color. In some regions, it is also called "copperhead", which inevitably led to confusion and extermination of the lizard due to misconceptions about the danger of the copperhead snake. The spindle, like the copperhead, is absolutely harmless, and even more harmless (the copperhead can emit a smelly liquid in case of danger).

This legless lizard lives in different types of forests: mixed, deciduous, birch. It is found on the outskirts of forest roads, on slopes, and on the edges of forests. In case of danger or during rest, it looks for shelter – rotten stumps and logs, burrows of other animals, etc., or simply hides in the forest floor.

The spindle crawls rather slowly. In case of danger, it can accelerate significantly, but its movements are far from as graceful as those of snakes. We can say that they contain more panic than useful action. This is also related to its diet: this lizard feeds on earthworms, slugs and other mollusks, insects. Sometimes it can eat young lizards and snakes.

Despite the rather secretive lifestyle, the spindle has enough enemies: hedgehog, fox, marten, weasel, badger, etc. from mammals, copperhead and snake from reptiles, buzzard, stork, wasp-eater, owls and other birds eat these lizards on occasion.

The legless spindle lizard is a very beautiful and harmless animal. When you meet it, you should not catch it (like other lizards), as it will try to drop its tail, and this is the strongest stress for the reptile's body. Take care of nature!

Different between the legless Lizards and Snakes

Once upon a time, snakes had legs. They ran on all fours like crocodiles. But they were too slow.

Over time, I realized that there was no truth in my feet — it was extremely inconvenient to crawl in burrows and move on the muddy bottom. We started experimenting. First, the limbs were reduced. It was very convenient.

"What if...?" the snakes thought, and evolution heard them.

Over time, the legs atrophied and eventually disappeared, and the body became longer and more creeping.

However, snakes are not the only ones who decided on such an experiment with their own bodies.

Some of the lizards looked at the whole thing from the outside, thought about it, and also gave up their legs.

So there were legless lizards and a separate family of spindles, among which there are both legless and those who thought: "Oh, come on ..." and left everything as it is.

All would be fine, but the legless lizards did not take into account one thing-the fear of homosapiens.

People were so timid that at the sight of any living creature with a hose-like body without limbs, they shout: "Save me, snake!". Well, if they just shouted — they could still hit you in the hump with a shovel.

But legless lizards are quite harmless. They suffer undeservedly.

Well let's find out how lizards without limbs differ from real snakes. Maybe someone will be interested.

The first step is to look the reptile in the eye.

Unlike snakes, legless lizards have eyelids. Therefore, if you have already wholeheartedly swung a shovel, but suddenly noticed that the reptile often blinks in fear, stop — there is a lizard in front of you.

Also, legless lizards have auricles located near the mouth — if you try hard, they can even get an ear stick.

Snakes have no visible technological openings for the perception of sounds.

There is only the inner ear, which is able to pick up low-frequency sounds and vibrations. However, in any case, they do not hear better than city grandmothers who sit near the house and click seeds.

Look at the tail, too: snakes have a more pointed tail, lizards have a slightly blunt one.

By the way, if a lizard loses its tail when meeting a human or predator, it will not be particularly upset, since after a while it will grow a new one.

The last important difference is that in many legless lizards the head is a logical extension of the body — in the sense that it does not stand out much, and in most snakes the head is separated from the body by a short neck intercept.