Do you know how can skins see with their eyes closed? The skinks make up a large family of fairly small lizards found in all the warm countries of the world. There are about 600 species and many of them come from Africa where they are the most common lizard. Despite their abundance most people are not at all familiar with skinks and this is probably because they are shy and retiring.
If you did see one you would not think it a particularly remarkable lizard, for skinks have no fancy frills or striking coloration. The majority of skinks live on or actually in the ground. They crawl among stones, fallen longs and leaf litter. They are not fast more on the ground but many are very accomplished at burrowing.
They are well adapted for this sort of movement being slender, smooth-skinned and having a small, pointed head. Another skink characteristic which is designed to help this worming, squirming movement through the soil is the reduction in size of the limbs. In some skinks the reduction in size of the limbs. In some skinks the feet look ridiculously small for the body and in others they have disappeared altogether.
In addition to their streamlined appearance some skinks have another adaptation to their subterranean way of life. To protect its eyes when burrowing or grubbing through ground debris, they skink will close its eyes. In lizards the lower lid closes over the eye. The lid of some skinks has a small, more or less clear ‘window’, so that it vision is not completely cut off.
Which is the most beautiful reptile?
The reptile awarded this title is the European Green Lizard. It is the second largest lizard to be found in Europe, the male reaching a length of 16 inches, 10 inches of which is its tail. (The largest European Lizard is the eyed Lizards which reaches 2 feet in length.) Green lizards are found widely throughout Europe although they do not occur naturally in Great Britain.Attempts have been made to establish colonies but it is believed that the climate is not really warm enough for them.
You may find a Green Lizard for sale in a pet shop, for their elegant reptile shape and vivid coloring make them popular as pets. They are not difficult to look after but do need proper conditions, so take advice before you buy one. You can feed them on insects, spiders and worms.
Why do lizards shed their tails?
Confronted by an enemy many lizards snap off their tails to distract the attacker while they scamper to safety.
In some skinks the brightly colored tail twitches and jumps for a time to add to the confusion. The lizard soon grows a replacement.
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