Monday, December 26, 2011

Viviparous Lizard

Meet the northernmost reptile in the entire world- the Viviparous Lizard! They can be found across Europe and Asia, have a very large range, and can live as far north as Arctic Russia!
Zootoca vivipara

Now, I believe at some point we've discussed the whole Viviparous-Oviparous thing, but let's rehash anyway. These terms all relate to how a create gives birth. Viviparous means they have live young. Oviparous means they lay eggs. That means that, due to its name, this little lizard gives birth to live young! (Though if we want to get technical, they do still lay eggs, but they are incubated inside the mother, making them Ovoviviparous)

Viviparous Lizards are small little guys, and only grow a few inches long (though their tail can doubel their body length!) They are very agile and fast, and they use that speed to both hide from predators, and to hunt after their own invertebrate prey.

Because they are still cold blooded, and because they live so far north, Viviparous Lizards hibernate. They will spend the winters hiding under logs and in other underground areas, and will emerge again when the temperatures rises enough for them to becoming fully active.

IUCN Status : Not Listed
Location : Northern Europe and Asia
Size : Body Length up to 5in (12cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Reptilia -- Order : Squamata
Family : Lacertidae -- Genus : Zootoca -- Species : Z. vivipara

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