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  • Writer's pictureSnake Catchers

Time For Another Species Profile - Burton’s Legless Lizard

The following story is provided by our Site Partner, Blogger and Proud Business Owner "Snake Catchers Brisbane". They provide stories on their non-stop adventures and inform the public on the wide range of snake species they encounter.

This is Australia’s most widely distributed reptile species, the Burton’s Legless Lizard (Lialis burtonis). These quirky flap-footed lizards are often mistaken for snakes, so we thought we would take the time to point out some of the features that separate them.

Burton's legless lizard is a species of lizard in the family Pygopodidae. The species lacks forelegs and has only rudimentary hind legs. Pygopodid lizards are also referred to as "legless lizards", "flap-footed lizards" and "snake-lizards". This species is endemic to Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Unlike snakes, Burton’s legless lizards: - have ear holes, - they have a fleshy tongue, rather than a forked tongue which snakes possess - have tiny flaps as hind legs (they’re very hard to see unless inspecting closely)

Burton’s Legless Lizards are more closely related to geckos. If you have the opportunity to watch one closely, you will notice that they use their fleshy tongue to lick their eyes clean, just as geckos do. These interesting lizards also vocalise when stressed and can regenerate their tails.

They are a highly variable species coming in a variety of colours and patterns, and although you may not get close enough to identify the features we have mentioned above, their sharply pointed head is quite distinctive. They can reach up to 60 cm in length, but that is a pretty large individual, most we encounter are much smaller.

Burton's Legless Lizards feed exclusively on reptiles, with a variety of lizard species making up the majority of their diet. They grab hold of their prey around the chest area and hold tightly until suffocated. They then consume the prey head first.

Those Lizards can be seen both during the day and at night time. They are found in most habitat types, including well-vegetated suburban gardens. They can often be brought in by family pets or can get themselves into trouble by falling into the backyard pool.

If you see one in your garden, always feel free to confirm their identity just to be on the safe side as they are incredibly snake-like!

🐍 🇳🇿


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