Jesus Christ Lizard
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Some lizards surprise predators by doing something unexpected.
The northern blue-tonged skink sticks out its tongue at predators. The appearance of its strikingly colored tongue contrasted with red mouth, and accompanied by a hiss, is often enough to scare away a threatening bird or reptile.
Lizards usually have four legs, with five toes on each foot. Their skin is dry and scaly. They have moveable eyelids and their ears are on the sides of their head. They can run very fast. Most lizards can swim.
Lizard tails are fragile and easily break off. This can be beneficial in that it allows the lizard to escape from predators. Some lizards use their tails to store fat reserves.
Most female lizards lay soft, leathery eggs, then call it a day—they don’t stick around to protect the eggs from harm, or keep them warm. Fortunately, the newly-hatched lizards are able to take care of themselves right away, without the mother’s help.
Lizards feed mostly on insects and other small invertebrates, making them economically important to man as natural pest controls. They play an important role in the survival of many larger lizards, birds, mammals, and snakes since they depend on the availability of lizards as food.
Most lizards live on the ground, but others can be found making their homes in trees, burrows, or in the water. Tree dwellers have special toes and often a prehensile tail for grasping thin branches. Those that live in burrows tend to have smaller legs, or none at all, to help them move underground more easily. Marine iguanas Amblyrhynchus cristatus spend much of their lives underwater, although they will come to shore to rest on rocks or a sandy beach. Desert-dwelling lizards like the ground gecko Paroedura pictus usually sleep during the day underneath the warm sand, then come out when the sun has gone down.
Lizards are represented by three major types - the iguanas, the lava lizards, and the geckos. The iguanas fall into two basic genera represented by the marine iguana and the land iguana. There are two types of land iguana, usually considered different species, although there are some data to suggest that the two are actually different races of the same species. The lava lizards consist of a single genus, Tropidurus, divided into seven species scattered among most of the islands.Lastly, there are three endemic species of snake.
Since emerging from water millions of years ago, lizards have diversified into a weird and wonderful group of cold-blooded reptiles. From the mesmerising colours of the agamas to the vibrant adornments of frilled lizards and the sheer size of the king of monitor lizards, the Komodo dragon, lizards come in many shapes and sizes.
Lizards can go into estivation, too. Since they are cold-blooded, if they live in a desert their body temperatures can go high enough to cook them. They adapt to this kind of climate by estivating through the hottest part of summer.