Eastern Glass Lizard (aka Legless Lizard)

Ophisaurus ventralis

Reptiles Alive Name: “Ophisaurus”

Hissstory: Ophisaurus was transferred to us in 2005 from the Virginia Living Museum.


RA Diet: Ophisaurus munches on crickets, roaches, earthworms, and super worms.

Natural Diet: Glass lizards enjoy insects, spiders,  small snakes and lizards. They especially love grasshoppers.

Size: Legless lizards can grow 24 – 36 inches long.

Range: Southeastern United States as far north as southeastern Virginia.

Habitat: Legless lizards like to hide in sandy soil in pine forests and mixed hard wood & pine forests.

Lifespan: Glass lizards can live over 10 years.

Reproduction: A female glass lizard will lay 8-17 eggs from June to August.  She will coil around the eggs and hangs out with them until they hatch about 2 months later.

Conservation: Glass lizards are classified as a “State Endangered Species” in Virginia.  This is because they are only found in one small part of southeastern Virginia and the entire population could be wiped out if their habitat there was altered.

Cool Facts: Although the glass lizard has no legs, it is a lizard – not a snake!  Unlike snakes, glass lizards have  eyelids and ears.   They also have the ability to detach their long tail in case they are attacked.  Their tail will regenerate as long as they can find enough food.  Snakes do not have the ability to regrow a lost tail.  Neither do humans.  Some scientists are studying lizards to try and find the secret behind their ability to regenerate so doctors can help people who have been hurt.

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