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Behavioral Ecology

Slender glass lizard - Ophisaurus attenuatus



  • 22-36 inches total length
  • Found in prairie and open woodlands, frequently near water
  • Active in day when cool, dawn and dusk when hot
  • Feed on arthropods, snails, frogs, and small snakes


 Interesting fact:
  • Glass lizards only lose short lengths of their tails when attacked by predators and they never grow back the entire length.  So, the more often they are attacked, the shorter they become.


  • The image below shows two glass lizards, both with the same body length (indicated by the yellow lines).  The top lizard has an intact tail that comprises 2/3 of it's total length.  The lower lizard has lost most of it's tail and will grow back no more than you see here (the last solid brown, inch or so).
  • Some of the characteristics that make these lizards are:




  1. A long tail - snakes of the same size as these lizards would have a tail only an inch or so long
  2. External ear openings - which lizards have, but not snakes
  3. Eyelids - which lizards have, but not snakes
  4. Behavior - many of the glass lizards' behaviors are more lizard-like
  5. Genes - glass lizards are more closely related to collared lizards than to snakes