California Legless Lizard


California Legless Lizard

Place of Birth:

Europe: European legless lizards, also called glass lizards, range from the Balkans as far as Istria (peninsula in northeastern Italy) and northeast Bulgaria. They are also found in Crimea, Caucasus and parts of southwest and central Asia.

Eating Habits:

The European legless lizard feeds on a variety of small mammals, bird eggs, and invertebrates, such as insects and earthworms. In moist regions, mollusks are this lizard’s most important food, while hard-shelled insects are more important in drier regions.

Quick Facts:

Scientific Name Ophisaurus apodus
Size Average length is 2-3 feet. They normally weigh 11 to 21 ounces (300 to 600 g)
Color Brown to olive green in appearance with a lateral fold that runs the length of the body, but not the tail.
Lifespan The European glass lizard lives about 20 years in the wild and up to 38 years in captivity.
Eco Status Neither threatened nor endangered, although fear of this lizard, often mistaken for a snake, causes thousands to be killed annually.


The European legless lizard is normally found in fairly dry habitats, often frequenting rocky hillsides with some cover. These lizards can also be found in dry stone walls, embankments, and stone piles. They are diurnal and crepuscular, and are often active after rainfall.

Animal’s Behaviour

Legless lizards may look like snakes, but they are true lizards. Unlike snakes, they have movable eyelids, several rows of belly scales, and the ability to break off their tail when they are in danger. The tail of this lizard makes up about two-thirds of its total body length. If this lizard dropped its tail and it broke into several pieces, the body would look about the same size as the pieces of wiggling tail. The European legless lizard is active by day and hunts exclusively on the ground. Equipped with powerful jaws, and broad, blunt teeth, the European legless lizard’s favorite food is hard-shelled snails. It rids itself of snail slime by rubbing its nose along the ground after eating. In some countries, the European legless lizard plays an important ecological role. Females will lay 6-10 white, soft-shelled eggs. Females usually guard their eggs during the incubation period. Young hatch after about six weeks, and measure about 3-6 inches (7.6-12.7 cm) inches.