Currently, science knows about 4,000 species of various lizards. These reptiles are widespread almost everywhere, except for the polar regions of the Earth. However, science knows one unique species of lizards, which penetrated far to the North and lives even beyond the Arctic Circle. We are talking about a viviparous lizard, which is truly an amazing creature of nature!
Viviparous lizard is an amazing creation of nature
Zoologists attribute this species to the huge family of real lizards. This reptile has one characteristic feature that is not typical of reptiles at all: it practically does not perceive low temperatures! It was this feature that allowed viviparous lizards to feel great even in the northern regions of the Earth and beyond the Arctic Circle.
Where does the viviparous lizard live?
The habitat of this amazing creature covers almost all the forests of Eurasia: the reptile lives in Ireland and Great Britain, as well as in Kolyma, Sakhalin and even on the Shantar Islands. But the border of distribution of this type of lizard does not end there. As mentioned above, the reptile feels great beyond the Arctic Circle.
What does a viviparous lizard look like?
Usually, the body length of a reptile does not exceed 15 cm, but sometimes larger specimens are also found. The tail of a viviparous lizard is 11 cm long. Females differ from males in exclusive body color: in the former, the lower part of the body is most often light and painted yellowish or light green, while in the latter it has a red-brick tint.
But not all viviparous lizards have the same color. Among them, there are completely black specimens, and individuals with a pronounced brick or red tint. Despite such a different color, all viviparous lizards have longitudinal stripes on their bodies. The stripes range in color from gray to black.
Lifestyle of a viviparous lizard
The diet of this reptile is made up of beetles, mosquitoes, earthworms and other small animals. The process of eating prey from a viviparous lizard is of genuine interest: it never chews food, because its small teeth are not adapted for this. The reptile simply holds the caught prey in its mouth until it ceases to resist, and then swallows it whole.
The viviparous lizard is an excellent swimmer! The ability to deftly dive and briskly cut the water surface often saves the life of a reptile when it thus escapes from its enemies. With the onset of cold weather, the viviparous lizard hibernates. Of course, it is difficult to fully call this condition hibernation, since complete anabiosis (numbness of the body) is not characteristic of this species of lizard. The reptile digs a burrow up to 30 cm deep in the ground and spends the whole winter in it.
In the spring, the reptile leaves its winter dwelling with the first rays of the sun, appearing on the forest edges when there is still snow there. And all thanks to its amazing ability to easily endure low temperatures! Unlike many of its relatives, this lizard does not suffer from short-term summer rains, does not hide in shelters on cloudy days, etc.
A unique breeding method for a viviparous lizard
As the name suggests, this reptile does not lay eggs, but gives birth to live young. This is a rare type of reptile, listed in the Red Book. Reptiles living in Russia give birth to up to 12 cubs at a time. Pregnancy in females lasts up to 3 months, and young animals usually appear by July.