Ben here with the Tuesday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

Ben here with the Tuesday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

Ben here with the Tuesday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

This week, we continue looking at the top five rarest lizards in Virginia! Number four on the list is the eastern slender glass lizard (Ophisaurus attenuatus longicaudus).

You might be thinking to yourself, "Ben, I have seen lizards before, and that is a photograph of a snake." Believe it or not, there are many species of lizards worldwide that have evolved to no longer have legs! There are a few ways to tell the difference; for example, legless lizards have eyelids and have external ear openings, while snakes do not.

Glass lizards get their name from their tails. Like many lizards, they can snap off their own tails without being touched to provide a wriggling distraction to predators and buy them some time to escape. Glass lizards have a particular affinity for snapping off their own tails, and it's apparently difficult to find one in the wild with an undamaged tail! While they can grow their tails back, the new tail is usually differently-colored and shorter than the original tail.

This species has a fairly wide range throughout the southeast, but Virginia represents the northern extent of their range. They have been found in scattered localities in the eastern part of the state. According to the website of the Virginia Herpetological Society, these lizards live in grassland habitats with dry, well-drained soil. Even if you find an area where eastern slender glass lizards live, it's hard to find them, as they tend to hide in abandoned rodent burrows and under mats of decomposing plant material.

Thank you to our friends at the Virginia Herpetological Society ( for the use of this photo, which was taken by Darren Loomis!

ABOUT #BenInNature
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust.

If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!

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