Top 10 Slender Glass Lizard Facts – The Lizard With No Legs?

Quick Facts

Scientific Name: Ophisaurus Attenuatus

Common Names: Slender Glass Lizard 

Geographic Range: South-Eastern US

Lifespan: Anywhere from 10-30 years

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Eastern Slender Glass Lizard
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Top 10 List

1. Origin of Name

     Slender Glass Lizards got their name by their ability to easily “shatter” their tail. Their tail will break into several pieces to distract predators. They are able to slowly regrow a shorter tail over a period of months or sometimes even years.

2. Guarding Her Young

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     Slender Glass Lizards lay between 7 and 16 eggs in June or July. Unlike many other reptiles who will lay eggs and then leave, slender glass lizards will sometimes stay and protect their eggs until their young have hatched.

3. Legless Lizard

Western Slender Lizard
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     While slender glass lizards may look like snakes, they are in fact lizards. They have the eyelids and external ear openings which snakes lack. Alternatively, the slender glass lizards lack the ability that snakes have to unhinge their jaws to swallow larger prey.

4. Mostly Tail

Most of that length is tail!
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     Slender Glass Lizards’ have very long tails in order to be able to shatter it off in many pieces. Their tails can make up over half of their body length!

5. Subspecies

     The Slender glass lizard has two recognized sub-species, which are the western slender glass lizard and the eastern slender glass lizard.

6. Foragers

     Slender glass lizards forage for food both above ground and below ground in burrows. They typically forage for a range of different insect, but may also sometimes consume small mice, snails, and eggs of other reptiles and birds.

7. Burrow Borrowing

     Slender glass lizards are diurnal, so they are often seen during the day. During the night they sleep in burrows made by other animals. In the Northern reaches of their geographic range, some may also use these burrows to hibernate in the winter.

8. No Direct Sunlight Please!

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     During the warmer months slender glass lizards can be seen basking and soaking up the heat to regulate their body temperature. Although they tend to prefer sunlight that is filtered through tall grass or vegetation, instead of direct sunlight.

9. Habitat Loss

     The biggest threat to the slender glass lizard is habitat loss and fragmentation. Many of it’s land has been converted for agriculture and urbanization. Invasive species are also damaging and changing it’s habitat, which can have negative ecological effects.

10. Jacobson’s Organ

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     Slender Glass Lizards hunt primarily through smell, which is helped by an organ in it’s nose called the “Jacobson’s Organ.” This organ helps the lizard sense of smell and helps it to detect it’s prey more easily.

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