Today we celebrate all things lizard, on this, #WorldLizardDay.
Australia is home to 617 different species of lizards including: skinks, dragons, monitors (or goannas), geckos and legless lizards. Lizards are found all over the world in almost every type of habitat. Think of lizards as pest control. They are an integral part of the ecosystem, and eat various insects and spiders, keeping them in check in our backyards and the wider great outdoors.
Most lizards have four legs and a tail – apart from the legless lizards. Unlike snakes, lizards have movable eyelids, they smell with their tongues, shed their skin in large flakes or in one piece like taking off your overalls (complete with eye and earpieces) and can regrow their tails after shedding them if attacked. The most common lizard found in Australia is Bynoe’s Gecko and is widespread across Australia.
Around the world, there are lizards with some pretty special skills to ward off their predators – decked out with spikes or frills around their neck, leaving behind a twitching tail while the ex-owner departs, and there’s even one that can shoot blood from its eyeballs to frighten predators. Some can walk on water and there are some species that can reproduce without mates. (This is called parthenogenesis.) Amazing!
Worldwide, the Jaragua Lizard, found in the Caribbean, measures in at a tiny 16mm from nose to tail. On the other end of the scale, the Komodo Dragon in Indonesia on average weighs 70kg; however, the largest recorded specimen weighed 166kg. What a monster! Whoops, I mean dragon.
Photo: Bruce Thomson, www.auswildlife.com