Although its appearance sows doubt, the spiny are lizards. Most of them are terrestrial; Some live in trees. Generally, spinoids have more elongated bodies than other lizards, so They tend to get confused with snakes.
Spinids feed on invertebrates, mainly insects. However, some also eat plants and large species feed on vertebrates. Most lay eggs, but there are several species that are ovoviviparous or viviparous.
Spinacids are a very varied group, with a large number of subspecies, there are more than 1200 of them.
Key differences between lizards and snakes
First, we must clarify the differences between lizards and snakes. Although both are reptiles, there are some key characteristics that make them very different.
Most lizards have dry and flaky skin. Further, the lizards have four legs with claws and a long tail. In general, lizards have a weak tail, a small blow or pull will break it. This is a defense mechanism that serves to confuse the enemy, which allows the lizard to escape.
However, losing the tail can also be a disadvantage, as it is in this area where lizards store fat. Further, lizard tails provide stability and balance. Fortunately, lizards can grow a new tail.
On the other hand, we have snakes, which vary in size. They exist from African snakes – the size of a pencil – to anacondas large enough to swallow very large prey. They live in almost all ecological niches, except polar regions. However, snakes are particularly abundant in tropical and desert regions.
Snakes – and some lizards – have bifid tongues that work in conjunction with the sensory organs of the palate as scanners of the environment. Unlike snakes, lizards have mobile eyelids and excellent eyesight.
What do the spiny ones look like?
So, the spiny ones are, in fact, lizards. However, the bodies of these animals have evolved curiously until they resemble snakes, even though they are still lizards.
Spinacids have very small legs and it is the main difference between these and snakes. In addition, they also have a head that is slightly raised from the ground and points up.
These animals have a very long and conical tail, which can come off several times throughout their life and will grow back. The spiny ones that have lost their tail are the ones that most resemble snakes.
Due to the immense amount of spinoids that exist, their size can vary significantly.
Spinacids measure from just a couple of centimeters to more than a meter long. Its size, of course, will depend on its habitat and its subspecies.
Geographical distribution of these curious lizards
The geographic distribution of the spinacids is not specific at all because there are many different subspecies. They are found in the mountains, the savannas, in the desert and even in the grasslands. However, they can be difficult to find, as they tend to mix very well in trees.
When they are buried, you will not be able to find them at all. Occasionally, the spiny ones are sighted in human communities. Unfortunately, they are killed when they see them because they confuse them with snakes.
Reproduction of the spinacids
The reproduction of the spinacids is perhaps one of its most curious characteristics. Unlike many other animals, the spiny ones do not show any kind of maternal affection. At the moment when the young are born or lay eggs, the mother moves away and does not return.
Like other types of lizards, some spinoids are ovoviviparous. This means that they carry their baby’s eggs inside them until they hatch, even inside the mother’s body. But interestingly, at the moment the young see the light, they are alone. The mother does not take care of them or help them, the young must find shelter and food on their own.
Something similar happens with the subspecies of oviparous sclerids. The mother will create a type of nest where eggs can be hot and away from possible predators.
However, the mother will leave the nest as soon as all the eggs are laid in it. She will not be around to help young people leave the shells or to encourage their survival in any way.
Behavior and feeding
This species usually spends a lot of time in trees.. They rarely fall to the ground, only when they are struggling to find shelter or food. However, there are also subspecies that dig for protection instead of spending time in trees.
Spinachids tend to be very shy and do well in captivity. For this reason, they are also usually good pets. However, it is important to make sure you have the right means for your care. This includes the habitat, temperature and specific foods they need.
Finally, it should be noted that these animals They feed primarily on various types of insects. This may include beetles, crickets, caterpillars and crickets. Sometimes they feed on small rodents and even other species of smaller lizards.
In general, their diet depends on their habitat and what other foods are available.