Our Bushland Diary

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Encounter with a legless lizard

While helping out at "Clean Up Australia" in Moulton Wetland today, I saw a beautiful pygopod - Burton's Legless Lizard (Lialis burtonis).  These lovely creatures look a bit like long sleek skinks without legs, and are usually colourful and have stripes and spots.  Their heads are very elongated with a pointed snout, often with white stripes along the jaws.  I have seen light rust-orange animals, and grey animals with longitudinal black stripes, and plain grey, and light brown. 

If you've never seen one before, please check out these website links to see pictures - 

The little animal I saw was sunning itself on a patch of sand amongst Melaleucas.  Most times when I see a pygopod, they are quick to move under a shrub to hide.  This one didn't, it just lay there!  I stooped down to have a closer look at it, wondering if it was sick or asleep, but no, it was alive and alert, looking at me.  It even let me gently stroke its tail.  I wish I'd had a camera with me.  

It makes me sad to think that sometimes these animals are mistaken for snakes, and needlessly killed.

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