A Collection of Fun Lizard Facts
Are you interested in expanding your knowledge of lizard facts? There are many general facts about lizards that most of us already know. For instance, lizards are members of the reptile family and are related to snakes. Lizards have four legs, a long tail, eyes, and ears. Some have teeth while others do not. Lizards can be found on all continents except for Antarctica and there is an amazing variety of lizard species. If you were wondering, there are actually around 3,800 different species of animals that fall into the lizard suborder of the reptile class. While these are indeed interesting lizard facts, they leave a lot to be desired for those of us who have a genuine interest in lizards. Below is a collection of lizard facts that you might find surprisingly fun and informative!
Lizards come in many shapes and colors. Some are brilliant at climbing and jumping while others excel in running at fast speeds, but most of them have a few basic characteristics in common. The majority of lizard species have scales all over their body which is made out of a substance called keratin. If this word sounds familiar to you then you might recognize it as the same cells that make up fingernails in humans. The scales are attached to the lizard’s skin in an overlapping fashion, kind of like the shingles on a roof. Some species of lizards have the awesome ability to change the color of their skin. This is a trick that allows the animal to blend into its environment and, for the most part, is used while the lizard is hunting or when it feels that it is in danger. Some lizards have extra long tongues and some have very long tails, the latter being a weapon that the lizard can use to whip those who threaten it or get too close to its home. Many species of lizard can actually detach their tail, which continues to wiggle and distract their attacker while the lizard flees to safety. Don’t worry, though—the tail grows back!
Most lizards maintain a varied diet, most of which is made up of bugs, such as crickets. Some of the bigger lizards tend to have a much larger hunger to satisfy and as a result they will eat small animals (some, like the Komodo dragon, have actually stalked and tried to eat humans).
The Legless Lizard
There are a few varieties of lizard that don’t have legs at all! The glass snake, the worm lizard, and the olive legless lizard are only three species that fall into this special group of lizards. You might be thinking to yourself, “Isn’t a legless lizard simply a snake?” The answer is no. Lizards and snakes follow two evolutionary paths and descended from different creatures. Legless lizards evolved from what would have been a typical legged lizard. Perhaps these species found it in their best interest to drop the legs, such as to acquire a certain amount of stealth or easy movement in their habitat. Some species of legless lizard, like several other types of lizards, can surrender their tail if necessary. Unlike snakes, legless lizards cannot use the scales on their stomach to move along the ground—they only use the scales on their sides. If a legless lizard were to find its way onto a completely flat surface without any debris to push against, it would find it impossible to move.
The Largest Lizard
For most of us, the thought of a large lizard brings to mind an iguana or another exotic pet. In reality, an iguana is small potatoes compared to the largest species of lizard called the Komodo dragon. This species of lizard can grow as long at 10 feet in length and up to 150 pounds. It is thought that these creatures are so large because they are the only carnivore species on the islands where they originate from. The typical diet for the Komodo dragon includes small to medium-sized mammals like deer, as well as snakes and birds. They have been known to attack humans but this isn’t a regular occurrence. Komodo dragons have a history of eating human corpses that have been dug out of the ground by the dragons. This type of scavenging usually occurs when the body has not been buried or when the body has been placed into a shallow grave that is easy for the Komodo to scent and dig up.
The Fastest Lizards
When it comes to speed the spiny-tailed iguana from Mexico and Central America takes the gold. This species of lizard can grow up to five feet in length for males and three feet in females. They are the largest species in their sub-category. –But the really impressive thing about this lizard is that it has gained a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for being clocked running at 21.7 miles per hour—a record that gained it the title of being the fastest lizard in the world! The spiny-tailed iguana is more likely to choose running as its preferred method of escaping a sticky situation, but be aware that this species is not afraid to use its tail when it needs to, nor is it afraid to bite!
Hopefully you’ve learned a few interesting lizard facts and gained a better understanding about how varied this category of animals truly is!