These little animals have always fascinated me, for some reason.

Legless Lizard

Legless Lizard, Melbourne Zoo. Image by J DAndrea

Legless lizards are a group of reptiles which have either lost their legs totally, or have such small ones that they are no use at all for movement.  They belong to the Lerista species, also known as sliders.  Leg length varies in these reptiles, and many have short or vestigial legs.

They can mostly be told apart from snakes because they have eyelids, external ear openings, no belly scales, and usually, a very long tail.  They have fleshy tongues, whereas snakes have forked tongues. Legless lizards are totally harmless.


Legless Lizard. Image by J DAndrea 

Unfortunately, some species of legless lizard are endangered, due to distruction of habitat, and being mistaken for snakes and killed.

These little reptiles may hunt for food during the day or night, and eat a wide variety of things, such as insects, earthworms, bird eggs, and any small mammal they can manage.    In captivity, they are usually fed crickets, earthworms, mealworms, and mice.

Here is a picture of a British legless lizard, the slow-worm, which is often mistaken for a snake.