Friday, 3 June 2016


Hi guys, I bring to you this week's amazing creature, “The Lizard”. I know many of you are probably wondering why on earth Lizards can be tagged amazing but I'm sure reading this post further will change your orientation. Enjoy!
                          Lizards are a widespread group of Squamate reptiles, with approximately over 6,000 species amongst which 3800 species are known to man, ranging across all continents except Antarctica, as well as most oceanic island chains. Lizards, which are close relatives of the snakes are one of the most feared creatures after spiders. It’s their aura, filled with mystery, which makes we humans despise and fear them. Just a sight of them can trigger a feeling of disgust because of their outer appearance. It is because of these characteristics that lizards are used to depict an alien life form or a giant lizard in movies. However, despite of all their detestable traits, fact remains that there are sets of people that considers lizards as the best of pets, for their low maintenance as regards breeding and their exotic looks.

                          Lizards are one of the few creatures with an amazingly high ability to regenerate. When we (humans) lose a limb, we are left with a stump but lizards have the ability to regrow lost appendages. With recent studies on Lizards, researchers are getting a grasp on regeneration and are working on a way to apply the knowledge gotten from the researches to help to improve the regenerative capabilities in humans.
Lizards also have the unique ability to regrow their foreskin and some other body parts. As earlier said, there are over 3800 species of lizards known to man and some of them include:

1. Northern Alligator Lizard: The Northern Alligator Lizard  (Elgaria coerulea) is native to the western coast of North America and is a member of the Anguidae family.

2. Mangrove Monitor: The Mangrove Monitor (Varanus indicus) is native to Australia, New Guinea & other surrounding island and is a member of the Varanidae family.

3. Knight Anole: The Knight Anole (Anolis equestris ) is native to Cuba but are now also found in southern Florida and is a member of the Polychrotidae family.

4. Satanic Leaf Tailed Gecko: The Satanic Leaf Tailed Gecko (Uroplatus phantasticus) is native to tropical forests of Madagascar and is a member of the Gekkonidae family.

5. Panther Chameleon: The Panther Chameleon (Furcifer pardalis) is native to Northern and Eastern Madagascar and is a member of the Chamaeleonidae family.

6. Veiled Chameleon: The Veiled Chameleon (Chamaeleo calyptratus ) is native to regions of Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and is a member of the Chamaeleonidae family.

7. Flap Necked Chameleon: The Flap Necked Chameleon (Chamaeleo dilepis ) is native to Sub-Saharan regions south of the Sahara Desert in Africa and is a member of the Chamaeleonidae family.

8. Water Monitor: The Water Monitor ( Varanus salvator ) is native to South and Southeast Asia and is a member of the Varanidae family.

9. Rhinoceros Iguana: The Rhinoceros Iguana (Cyclura cornuta ) is native to Caribbean island of Hispaniola and is a member of the Iguanidae family.

10. Komodo Dragon: The Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis) is native to Rinca, Komodo, Flores, Padar and other Indonesian Islands and is a member of the Varanidae family.
         Other types of Lizards include our very own which is the Agama: An agama is any one of the various small, long-tailed, insectivorous lizards of the genus Agama. The genus Agama is composed of at least 37 species found across Africa, where they are the most common lizard.
Scientific name: Agama
Higher classification: Agamidae
Rank: Genus

            For Lizards, habitat and distribution is very broad. Antarctica is the only part of the world where there aren’t some species of Lizards. Although they have the ability to slow down body functions to survive in cold climates, they need a warm environment as they are cold blooded creatures which is why they are frequently spotted basking in the sunlight and this is why they are often visually seen during the daylight. Many Lizards live in trees too. They are quick climbers with their feet adapted to make them move conveniently over many surfaces. The branches offer them solace from various types of predators.
              The sandy areas and the dry deserts are the main places where you will find the larger species of Lizards. They live on land and they are big enough that they can chase off most predators.
They tend to be living in areas where it is extremely difficult for other creatures to survive or even for humans to live comfortably. They are able to retain water by eliminating salt so Lizards don’t necessarily have to live close to a water body/source.


* Among more than three thousand species of lizards, only two have been found to be venomous: namely, the Gila monster (Heloderma sucpectum) and the Mexican beaded lizard (Heloderma horridum). Though venomous, their venom cannot kill a human, but can cause acute pain.

* The largest lizard, Komodo dragon, found in the world, is a specie native to the Komodo Island of Indonesia. They can be as big as 11 feet and are so powerful that they can easily bring down a predator much bigger in size. Komodo dragons have a strong jaw line and toxic saliva which helps them in killing their prey. They are also known to attack humans, and on occasion, kill them.

* Gecko, a species of lizard, is the only one which has vocal chords. This means that lizards are dumb by birth. Hence, the gecko is the only one which can communicate by making noises; other species rely on their body language for this purpose. This style of communication becomes quite useful when demarcating territory, threatening predators, and attracting mating partners, etc.

* Lizards are excellent climbers. Most species are equipped with suction cups on their feet which aid climbing on almost any surface. This ability also comes in real handy when escaping a predator.

* A couple of species of lizards native to the American continent, namely, the basilisk and the collared lizard have the ability to run on their hind legs. When these creatures are young they can even run on the surface of water; this ability is called bipedal locomotion.

* The fact that these creatures are mostly small in size doesn't mean they live any less. In fact, there are species of lizards which live for a long time. For example, a Mexican beaded lizard has been recorded to live for 33 years and 11 months, and its close second, Cayman island ground iguana has been recorded to live for 33 years and 5 months.

* There are lizards which can actually fly. Dracos, a genus of lizard, has the ability toactually glide from one tree to another. This gliding is made possible because of a thin membrane which joins the front limbs with the rear ones acting as a parachute. These lizards are also known as flying

* Lizards have amazing eyesight and a few even have acute colour vision, meaning they can
differentiate between colours. These animals have what is called the vomeronasal organ, which helps them in tasting different smells in the air.

* Some lizard can surprise their enemies with powerful defence mechanism. There are a few horned lizards which can squirt blood from their eyes, up to a distance of four feet, to warn their enemy. Another interesting defence mechanism which works great with predators is displayed by the Frilled lizard, which expands the skin around their neck to ward off a predator.

* Camouflage is yet another method to escape the sight of its enemies as well as its prey. Chameleons are expert in camouflaging and the other lizard which does so is the collared lizard.

* Tail autotomy is one of the prominent features of a lizard’s anatomy. Almost all lizards can let go off their tails, to dodge a predator, without much problem. The tails can grow back again later.

* The female slow worm lizard incubates the eggs inside its womb and lays them out only when the eggs are fully hatched.

* Though closely related to the snake, lizards differ from snakes. Almost all lizards have external ears and limbs too. The legless lizard can also be categorized as a lizard only because of these features only.

* Lizards known as green iguanas are eaten in Central America. These are considered to be fishes of the desert. The Greeks and Egyptians regard lizards as the representative of divine wisdom and good
fortune; that is perhaps the reason that these creatures in hieroglyphics represent the symbol of the word plentiful.

Hope you all enjoyed the post? If yes, don't forget to like, share and comment as it will be highly appreciated. See you next week with another interesting episode of "The Amazing Creatures".

Fadare Shalom.






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