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European glass lizard
Ophisaurus apodus

The European glass lizard got its name from its ability to 'shatter' its tail into several pieces if it is caught by a predator. Its tail will eventually grow back.

At four to five feet, more than two-thirds of the glass lizard's length is made up of its tail. Though it does not have any limbs and looks like a snake, the European glass lizard has many features that distinguish it from snakes, such as outside ear openings and eyes that can blink.

In the wild European glass lizards will sometimes eat snails, mice, lizards, small birds, and eggs of snakes and birds, but they mostly enjoy insects, especially grasshoppers.

During the breeding season, male glass lizards become extremely aggressive because there is such fierce competition for mates. Females lay five to ten eggs at a time. They hatch in about a month.

European glass lizard
© MSA 2005

Range: southeast Europe to southwest Asia
Habitat: grasslands, open forests
Range Map
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