Slender glass lizard
|Slender glass lizard|
|Slender glass lizard, Ophisaurus attenuatus|
- Western slender glass lizard, O. a. attenuatus (Cope, 1880)
- Eastern slender glass lizard, O. a. longicaudus (McConkey, 1952)
Slender glass lizards have yellow to brown bodies with six stripes and lateral grooves. Unlike snakes, they have eyelids and ears.
Slender glass lizards are diurnal, so they are quite often seen, but they can move fast (with a serpentine movement like that of a snake). If captured, a specimen may thrash vigorously, causing part of the tail to fall off in one or more pieces. While a potential predator is distracted by the wiggling tail, the lizard quickly escapes. They sleep in burrows borrowed from other animals, and in the northern reaches of their range, slender glass lizards will use those burrows to hibernate through the winter.
They eat a range of insects, such as grasshoppers, crickets and beetles, and will also consume spiders, small mice, snails, and the eggs of other reptiles and ground-nesting birds. Unlike snakes, glass lizards do not have flexible jaws, and this limits the size of prey items they can consume. They forage both above ground and underground in burrows.
Mating typically occurs biannually, in mid-spring. The female lays and broods a clutch averaging 12 eggs in June or July. Eggs hatch 50–60 days after being laid. Hatchlings are 10–13 cm in length. Sexual maturity is attained at two or three years of age.
Although not endangered overall in the US, it is regarded as vulnerable or endangered in some states. Its primary threats are loss of habitat, and the fragmentation of what remains, by human development.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ophisaurus attenuatus.|
- Illinois Natural History Amphibian and Reptile Collection: Ophisaurus attenuatus
- Animal Diversity Web: Ophisaurus attenuatus
- Slender Glass Lizard - Ophisaurus attenuatus Species account from the Iowa Reptile and Amphibian Field Guide