Lizards! We see them almost everywhere, don’t we? Some of us are scared of them. Some of us are amused by them and some of us envy them (not always though). Some of us are fascinated by them. In case you fall in any one of the above groups, you will definitely like the surprising lizard facts that we going to share with you in this article. So, let us start…
Scientific Name: Lacertilla
Suborders: Amphisbaenia, Autorchoglossa, Gekkota, Iguanias, Serpentes.
Surprising Lizard Facts: 1-5
1. There are about 6263 species of lizards in this world. Out of the 6263 species, only two species are venomous. They are Gila monster (Heloderma sucpectum) and the Mexican beaded lizard (Heloderma horridum). Their venom is not so powerful to kill a human being but it causes acute pain.
2. They are present everywhere except the continent Antarctica. They can be as small as 1.6 cm to as long as 11 feet. Some lizard species can weigh up to 166 kg (weight and length of the lizard varies with the species). Depending on the species, they may live anywhere from one year to 30 years.
3. There are few species of lizards who look similar to the snakes because their legs are so small that they are not visible or they don’t have legs at all. So, people often mistake these lizards to be snakes. To identify whether it is a snake or a lizard, one has to focus if the animal has eyelids and external ears. If yes, then it is a lizard, not a snake.
4. Komodo Dragon is the largest lizard. It is seen only in the Komodo islands of Indonesia. They are generally 10-11 feet in length and they are so powerful that even animals bigger than their size succumb to death if they attack. They have strong jaw line and toxic saliva and they even attack humans and sometimes succeed to kill as well.
5. Did you often see lizard frequently taking its tongue out and in? They do it to smell. Yes, they smell by tasting the air around them. They can do this because they have something called as vomeronasal organ.
Surprising Lizard Facts: 6-10
6. Do you know that lizard’s teeth are replaced every time the earlier set of teeth fall off? Well, not every species of the lizard is lucky to get their teeth replaced naturally time and again.
7. There are some species in lizards that squirt blood from their eyes to protect themselves from the predators or when they feel that there is some kind of threat. They can do this with the help of “horns” which are present near their eyes. The blood squirted from the eyes can go for a distance up to 4 feet.
8. When there is scarcity of water, they save water and excrete only salts and you can actually see a white residue on their body which is salt!
9. Do you know that lizards are born dumb and remain so till they die? No, we are not talking about being dumb but we meant that they don’t have vocal cords. That means they cannot make any sound. They communicate only through body language. However, Gecko Lizard is the only exception. It has vocal cords.
10. You think chameleons change color so as to camouflage with the surroundings and in this way, protect themselves from predators? You are so wrong! They change color according to their mood, temperature, health, communication and light. It is a visual signal for aggression or mating behavior etc.
Surprising Lizard Facts: 11-15
11. Not just that, they can move their two eyeballs in two different directions simultaneously. They can also see ultraviolet light and most of the times their tongue is 1.5 to 2 times longer than their bodies.
12. Immaterial to what species a lizard belongs, they need sunlight to maintain their body temperature. Why you ask? It is because they are cold blooded animals and their body temperature changes with slight change in temperature in their surroundings.
13. They grow till they live. When they need to grow more they simply shed their skin and start growing. Growing was never so easy!
14. Lizards are very good climbers. Gecko lizard is the master of all lizards when it comes to climbing. Some species can run backwards with great speed.
15. Another adaptation to save themselves from predators is “Autotomy.” The lizards can shed their tails off. A new tail would grow after some time but it will be thinner than the original one.
Surprising Lizard Facts: 16-20
16. Some species found in America like the basilisk and collared lizards can actually walk on water when they are small. This ability is called bipedal locomotion.
17. Some lizards like Dracos can glide. They can glide from one tree top to another. A thin membrane joins the fore and the hind limbs of the lizard to make gliding possible. It acts like a parachute and these lizards are rightly called as the flying dragons.
18. Greeks and Egyptians considered lizards as representative of knowledge, wisdom and fortune and therefore in hieroglyphics, their picture denoted the symbol for the word plentiful.
19. In central America, lizards like Iguanas are eaten. They are considered as the fish of the desert.
20. Few lizards have wonderful eyesight and they even have acute color vision that is, they can differentiate between colors.