World Lizard Day 14th August

Posted 11 August 2022

There are over 7000 species of lizard found in all continents except for Antarctica, ranging in size
from the Komodo Dragon growing up to 10 feet long to the Nano Chameleon which is just over 2cm.
Most lizards are carnivores consuming mainly insects, eggs, small mammals and birds with some also
incorporating small amounts of fruit and vegetables into their diets. Iguanas have opted for a
vegetarian lifestyle consisting of mainly leaves fruit and flowers. Green Iguana

Many lizards have many unique adaptations to help them move around making them excellent at burrowing, swimming, climbing, jumping and even flying. Geckos are undoubtedly the best at climbing with special scales on their feet containing hairs called setae which can create electrostatic forces allowing them to stick to most surfaces including glass. These forces are so strong that jumping geckos only need one toe to catch onto an object for them to be able to pull their whole body up.

Lizards have very special tongues. Most used forked tongues to help their sense of smell, lizards are
able to pick up scent particles from the ground or other surfaces and use this to gather information from their environment and track prey in the area. Lizards that eat insects will often use their tongues to help capture and hold onto prey by folding their tongue into a cup shape which will enclose around their meal. Chameleons are the experts of this with tongues that can be up to double the length of their body allowing them to capture prey from large distances.
There are a handful of venomous lizard species including Gila Monsters, Beaded Lizards and Komodo Dragons which produce venom in modified salivary glands in their lower jaw. These venoms can be very important and studies of Gila Monster venom have been used to create treatments for Diabetes.

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Green Iguana