First, the lizards have movable eyes, which snakes do not have. 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.
Both snakes and skinks have long, cylindrical bodies; forked tongues; scaly exteriors and can often be found slithering through sand. The skink grows to about 45cms in length, has a powerful body, extremely thick around the middle with a short, cylindrical tail. The broad head has an elongated, steel-grey snout and it has eyelids and ear openings. It is a uniform shiny black to dark brown and has smooth overlapping scales.
It is also found in Swaziland now called eSwatini , southern Mozambique and there is an isolated relic population that occurs on the eastern escarpment of Zimbabwe. Being a skink, it is completely harmless to anyone. They bear live young and can have up to 14 at a time. It can be mistaken at first glance to a mole snake but this snake grows up to 2 metres long!
It gives birth to up to 50 young which are over 20cm in length. There are fifteen species in Queensland, which vary in size from the diminutive Delma torquata with a body length of around 60 mm to Burton's Legless Lizard Lialis burtonis which has a body length of up to mm.
Legless lizards inhabit open forests and grasslands with good ground cover. There are both diurnal and nocturnal species. They are summer breeders and most lay two parchment-shelled eggs per clutch.
Most species are insect eaters but Burton's Legless Lizard is a predator of other lizards. This sharp-snouted species ambushes its prey and holds it tightly in its jaws until it is suffocated — the prey is then swallowed head first. A flexible, hinge-like join in the skull allows this species to deflect its snout downwards, strengthening its grip on its would-be meal.
Burton's Legless Lizard can be spotted across most of Australia, except on the southern coast of Australia and Tasmania. Keep an eye out in your garden on hot summer nights, as they are nocturnal in warm areas. In cooler states, they are active during the day. They like grasslands, beaches, woodlands and rainforests and can often be found sheltering under fallen timber, so look out for them if you go for a walk. To be a good buddy to the legless lizard, make sure you securely cover your backyard pool, as you may just find a lizard in it that has fallen in by accident.
EPBC Act - Referral guidelines for the vulnerable striped legless lizard, Delma impar
Take care when mowing your lawn as well, in case a legless lizard or blue tongue is out and about. Blue tongue lizards are one of the largest lizards in Australia. With their bright blue tongues, you will recognise them straight away. Baby blue tongues do not hatch from eggs but are born fully formed.
lgs legless [ (fruit fly)]
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