Virginia.gov

eastern slender glass lizard (Ophisaurus attenuatus longicaudus)

Distribution Map

Distribution Map

Characteristics

This lizard looks like a snake, as it has no legs. From the head to the base of the tail, it measures as long as 13 in. (330 mm.) and including the tail, up to 41.9 in. (1,065 mm.). This lizard has a groove on each side of the body, and it is smooth and glossy, with scales that overlap. It has a tan stripe, with a narrow black stripe in the center, that runs from head to tail, and stripes that run down the sides above and below the groove. The fragile tail is often broken and the regenerated part is a solid light brown. There are 4 to 19 eggs per clutch. Females are oviparous and coil around the eggs until they hatch. The only other legless lizard is the eastern glass lizard, Ophisaurus ventralis, which does not have the black stripes below the lateral groove, but has several white lines outlined in black behind the eye. The eastern slender glass lizard is seldom seen, as it is very secretive and tends to hide in burrows or under dry grass.

Distribution

This species is found in the coastal plain region in grasslands and pine woodlands with dry soils, and in the piedmont on dry, grassy ridges. It is always associated with grassy areas when found in urban/suburban areas and farms. This species lives in old rodent burrows and under grass mats, and winters underground.

Foods

This species feeds on a wide variety of invertebrates, including grasshoppers (appear to be preferred), snails, spiders, caterpillars, beetles, cave crickets, and the young of small mammals.

More Information

For more information, please visit the Virginia Fish & Wildlife Information Service (direct link to species booklet).