Does a Lizard Shed its Skin?

Most people know that a snake sheds its skin, but does a lizard shed its skin?

A lizard is a reptile. Reptiles include snakes, lizards, crocodiles, alligators, caimans, turtles, tortoises, and terrapins. Reptiles lay soft-shelled eggs on land.

The Balkan Slow Worm (Pseudopus apodus) is also a reptile. It is not a worm and it is not a snake. It is a legless lizard. It actually has small (almost invisible), undeveloped rear legs, but it does not use its legs for locomotion. It is not a snake because it has eyelids (snakes do not have eyelids). It has a long tail. It is also known as the Pallas’s Glass Lizard, the European Glass Lizard, the Sheltopusik, or the Giant Russian Legless Lizard.

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Fallacy: a chameleon changes colour to camouflage itself

Is it true that a chameleon changes colour to camouflage itself? This might be a fallacy – a fallacy means that it is not true.

The Chameleon is a reptile in the Chamaeleonidae family of lizards. It is arboreal because it lives in trees. The Chameleon is native to Africa, Madagascar, southern Europe, and southern Asia. It prefers to live in warm regions, such as rain forests and deserts. 

I have written in this website that the Chameleon can be a variety of colours, and “it can change colour to match its environment – this is called camouflage.” But it might be incorrect to say this.

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Nose-Horned Viper

The Nose-Horned Viper (Vipera ammodytes ammodytes) is a highly venomous reptile in the Viperidae family of viper snakes. It is a viperid. It is also known as the Horned Viper and Western Sand Viper. Scientists think it might be the most dangerous snake in Europe.

The Nose-Horned Viper has a head covered with small, irregular scales that can be smooth or slightly keeled (ridged). It has 10-13 small scales around its eyes. The nasal (nose) scale is large that looks like a horn with 9-17 smaller scales along it, but it is soft and flexible. 

The male has irregular dark-brown, dark-grey, or black markings and a thick black stripe from its eye to its jaw. The male has V-shaped markings on its back like a zig-zag pattern. The female lacks the dark V-shaped markings on its body, and is browner and more bronze-coloured than the male. Its underbelly can be grey, yellowish-brown, or pinkish. Both have a black tongue and golden or copper-coloured eyes.

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Cuvier’s Dwarf Caiman

The Cuvier’s Dwarf Caiman (Paleosuchus palpebrosus) is a reptile in the Alligatoridae family of alligators. It is also known as the Musky Caiman and the Smooth-Fronted Caiman.

The Cuvier’s Dwarf Caiman looks like a small alligator with a broad head and a U-shaped snout (nose). The adult is dark-brown to black, while juveniles are brown with black bands. It has an upturned lip. The upper jaw extends further than the lower jaw. It has strong scales for protection. It has brown eyes with vertical slits.

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Hermann’s Tortoise

The Hermann’s Tortoise (Testudo hermanni) is a small to medium-sized reptile in the Testudinoidea family of land chelonians. It is related to the Greek Tortoise (Testudo graeca). 

The Hermann’s Tortoise has a slightly domed, rounded shell, called a carapace. The carapace is black and pale-yellow with markings, but the colour fades with age, and becomes grey or straw-coloured. Its underbelly shell, called a plastron, is creamy-beige. It has no teeth, but it has a strong, short beak. It has scaly brownish-grey, stumpy legs with five claws. Its back legs are thicker than its front legs. The tip of its tail has a spur (a horny, short spike). 

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Spider Tortoise

The Spider Tortoise (Pyxis arachnoides) is a reptile in the Testudinidae family. It is named after the pattern on its shell. 

The Spider Tortoise has a web-like pattern of yellow lines on its dark-brown carapace (upper shell). It has a dark head with yellow spots. It has a yellow, semi-hinged underbelly – the under shell is called a plastron. It pulls its head into its shell for protection. Its legs and tail are brown. 

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Geoffroy’s Side-Necked Turtle

The Geoffroy’s Side-Necked Turtle (Phrynops geoffroanus) is a freshwater aquatic reptile in the Chelidae family of long-necked turtles. It is a chelonian or a chelid. Chelonians include turtles, tortoises, and terrapins. It is also known as the Geoffroy’s Toadhead Turtle. 

The Geoffroy’s Side-Necked Turtle is black to dark-grey. Its carapace (top shell) is slightly domed. Its tail and legs are grey-brown, and its plastron underbelly (bottom shell) is yellowish. Instead of its neck sticking in and out, it has a side-necked position where it places its head sideways in its shell. It has four sharp claws on its feet. 

The Geoffroy’s Side-Necked Turtle does not have a hinged plastron, so it has to put its head sideways under its shell. But this means that it has a strong neck. When it is upside down, it can flick its muscular neck to right itself – to turn itself the right way up. Other terrapins and tortoises are unable to do this. 

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Panther Chameleon

The Panther Chameleon (Furcifer pardalis) is a reptile in the Chamaeleonidae family. 

The male Panther Chameleon can vary in colour from blue to red, green, orange. The female is usually tan and brown with a bit of pink or orange. It has distinctive eyes, with a pin-hole where the pupil is located. Its eyes, with good eyesight, can rotate independently, giving the Panther Chameleon 360 degrees of vision (all around it). It has a very long tongue with a suction-capped tip to catch insects.

It has five toes on each foot, but some are fused together so it looks like it only has two toes on each foot: two together and three together. Its feet act like tongs and can grip branches. Each toe has a sharp claw. 

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CREATURE FEATURE: Green Basilisk Lizard

The Green Basilisk Lizard (Basiliscus plumifrons) is a reptile in the Corytophanidae family of iguana lizards. It is also known as the Plumed Basilisk and the Double Crested Basilisk.

The Green Basilisk Lizard is brilliant green with bright yellow eyes, and small blue spots on the ridge of its back. The male has three crests: one crest on its head, one crest on its back, and one crest on its tail. The female only has the head crest. 

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Viper Horns

The West African Gaboon Viper (Bitis gabonica rhinoceros) is a reptile in the Viperidae family of venomous viper snakes. It is a viperid snake.

The West African Gaboon Viper from Sub-Saharn Africa has a flat, triangular head with a pair of horn-like structures between its nostrils. They are not real horns. They are hard protuberences called rostral horns.

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Komodo Dragon’s Tongue

The Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis) is a large reptile in the Varanidae family of monitor lizards. It is an ectotherm varanid. 

The Komodo Dragon has sharp teeth and a long, yellow, deeply-forked tongue. 

It eats invertebrates, birds, and mammals, such as monkeys. It uses venom to kill its prey, because the toxins stop the prey’s wound from clotting. The animal loses blood pressure and lots of blood. The Komodo Dragon takes a bite out of an animal, even a large animal, and the animal dies within a few days. 

The Komodo Dragon can eat a monkey or a deer whole. So, why does it need a long tongue? 

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Jackson’s Forest Lizard

The Jackson’s Forest Lizard (Adolfus jacksoni) is a small to medium-sized reptile in the Lacertidae family of wall lizards. It is a lacertid. 

The Jackson’s Forest Lizard is long and slender with shiny scales and a long tail. It has brown stripes on either side of its body with rows of greenish spots. It has a pale underbelly. It has large black eyes with yellow eye rings. It has short legs with five toes on each foot.

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CREATURE FEATURE: Eastern Vine Snake

The Eastern Vine Snake (Thelotornis mossambicanus) is a venomous reptile in the Colubridae family of vine snakes. It is also known as the Eastern Twig Snake, African Creep Snake, or the Savanna Vine Snake. It is a colubrid snake.

The Eastern Vine Snake is a thin, grey snake, with a beige underbelly. The top of its head is green, often with black speckles. Its body also has speckles. Its eyes have horizontal pupils, often in the shape of a keyhole. When startled, it inflates (swells) its throat to show black spots between its scales. 

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CREATURE FEATURE: Amazon Tree Boa

The Amazon Tree Boa (Corallus hortulanus) is a reptile in the Boidae family of non-venomous, colubrid, boa constrictor snakes. It is a boid (pronounced bo-id). It is also known as the Garden Tree Boa or the Macabrel. 

The Amazon Tree Boa is long and slim. It varies in base colour from black, brown, grey, red, and orange to yellow. Its patterns can be banded, speckled, rhomboid shapes, or completely plain with no patterns or markings. It has a distinct head and it has dark, rounded eyes. It has sharp, long, needle-like teeth. 

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Jacky Dragon

The Jacky Dragon (Amphibolurus muricatus) is a medium-sized reptile in the Agamidae family of agamid lizards. It is also known as the Tree Dragon, the Stonewalker, or the Blood-Sucker.

The Jacky Dragon has an elongated, rough-scaled, brown to pale-grey body with dark markings along the middle of its back. The dark markings are combined with pale blotches. It has a dark-brown bar between its eyes and its ears. It has five crests on its head. It has a bright yellow lining in its mouth, and orange-red corners of its mouth, with a broad, thick, fleshy tongue. Its hind (back) legs are longer than its front legs. Its feet have five clawed toes.

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