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Do Lizards Lay Eggs? …And Other Questions



Happy World Lizard Day! We love our scaly teammates, and many of you do too.

However, those in the wild need a bit of support. Climate change is considered a higher threat to cold-blooded animals - scientists believe that if we continue at the same trajectory, we could lose 20% of lizard species by 2080.


Awareness and creating interest in these creatures is the first step to encouraging change. Below we answer some of the internet's most searched lizard-related questions.



Where do lizards live?


Lizards can be found on every continent bar Antarctica. Habitat depends on the species; lizards can reside in rainforests, deserts, swaps and gardens.



What lizards are in the UK?


We have 3 native species - common lizard, sand lizard and slow worm.

  • Common Lizard - UK wide

  • Slow Worm - England, Scotland and Wales

  • Sand Lizard - Protected sites in Surrey, Dorset, Hampshire and Merseyside.

In Southern England, you may spot a wall or green lizard - non-native species likely introduced to the area.



Do lizards hibernate?


Why are lizards are not seen in winter? Lizards brumate, similar to how mammals hibernate. In brumation, lizards breathing, digestion, and heart rate slow; they stop eating and go into suspended animation. Unlike hibernating mammals, brumating lizards stir to find water.



Which lizard has no legs?


Worldwide, there are over 200 different species of legless lizards.


In the UK, we have an awesome example, the slow worm. They are sometimes mistaken for snakes, but slow-worms have eyelids and ear holes. Slow worms can live past 20 and grow to half a meter. Their poo is so smelly that it is used as a defence to deter predators. Despite their name, slow worms actually aren't slow.


Can lizards see in the dark?


Most lizards are diurnal and don't see well in the night.


However, nocturnal species are specially adapted to see in the dark. Some have elliptical pupils, allowing more light in the eye, while others have unique cones that enable the creature to see colours in darkness.



What are a group of lizards called?


A lounge.



Which lizards are poisonous?


None - there are no known poisonous lizards.


There is a small number of venomous lizards. Historically, it was suspected that only two species produce venom - the Gila monster and the Mexican beaded lizard. Both produce neurotoxins released in small doses during biting - extremely effective to small prey, but most human bites have not been severe.


Scientists have discovered that monitor lizards and iguanas also have venom glands. Take the Komodo dragon, for example; their killing power was thought to be in their bacteria-filled saliva. However, we now know this is part of a two-prong attack; when the Komodo dragon's bite, they also release anticoagulant venom.




Can lizards swim?


Many lizards can swim, but some are better suited than others. Particular adaptations such as webbed feet, strong legs and the ability to use their tail as a propeller or breathe underwater help aquatic and semi-aquatic species hunt, swim and escape predators.


The marine iguana is the only ocean-dwelling lizard. It feeds on algae and can hold its breath for 30 minutes.


Even some non-aquatic lizards can swim short distances to escape predators.


Bonus Fact: Due to their big feet, the green basilisk can even run on the water's surface for short distances.



Which lizard changes colour?


If you asked someone to think of a lizard that changes colour, chances are they will name the chameleon. Chameleons have cells called iridophores that reflect light; to change colour, the nanocrystals in the iridophores adjust to reflect different light wavelengths.


However, chameleons aren't the only lizards that can change colour. Bearded dragons can control their temperature and communicate by adjusting their colour. Some species of gecko can change colour for camouflage. Green anoles change from green to brown; scientists are still studying why.



How do lizards walk on walls?


Lots of geckos have sticky toes that help them climb on almost all surfaces! What makes them stick is hundreds of thousands of 'hairs' called setae. The vast surface area of these hairs allows for Van Der Waals forces, the static forces between molecules, to kick in and allow the lizard to climb on all surfaces.



Do lizards lay eggs?


Most lizards do lay eggs but a small percentage are ovoviviparous and live birth.










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