Legless Lizard vs. Snake

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Legless Lizard by Rookied

Some call it the Snake Lizard, while others flip the order and say Lizard Snake.

No matter how you choose to call it, the Legless Lizard definitely resembles a Snake, but it’s not.

The Legless lizard evolved from the well-known legged lizards that we all know very well. The common name for their family is Pygopodidae – a group Lizard species that by their own will – reduced their limbs over time or even lost them completely. One known breed for example is the Glass Lizards, which have no legs, and are known for their tails that are easily broken into several pieces, like glass.

You may ask yourself why an animal would choose to reduce its limbs. Are they crazy? Well, it turns out that for these lizards—the limbs were presumably non-functional in their mobility, so they lost them, and by that they became closer to their fellow reptile brothers. The Snakes.

Snakes and Lizards look very much alike, no doubt about it. Both have slim long bodies, and crawl their way without legs. However, there are some critical differences between Legless Lizards and Snakes, which can be summarized in these six characteristics:

¤ Eyelids: Most species of lizards possess moveable eyelids, while Snakes have fixed scales which cover their eyes.

¤ Ears: All known species of Legless Lizards possess ear openings, while Snakes do not possess ears and are practically deaf.

¤ Tongue: All known species of Legless Lizards possess a fleshy tongue, where as Snakes possess a forked tongue with which they actually taste and measure the air for food odors.

Legless lizard
Legless Lizard by F. Delventha

¤ Belly scales: The Legless Lizard lacks the broad belly scales which cover the skin of a Snake.

¤ Long Tail: While the Snake has a long body and a short tail, the Legless Lizard usually possess a very long tail, worth watching.

¤ Tiny Limbs: There are no Snakes that possess limbs, but there are some Legless Lizards that actually still do possess tiny limbs.

Legless Lizards are scattered all over our planet, on each and every continent, except Antarctica. They can live in almost all types of climates, and surprisingly—many new species of Legless Lizards that have been living here for millions of years, have only been discovered in the past few years. In 2008 several scientists in central Brazil discovered 14 new species, while in 2013 a few American scientists in California discovered four new species of Legless Lizards, in surprising places like the L.A International Airport.

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