New species of legless lizard found (no, it's not a snake)

Don’t call it snake! Scientist found a new species of legless lizard right next to one of the world’s busiest airports.

A group of Scientists found this little guy rustled up in some leaves near a runway at the Los Angeles International Airport. They have also discovered four other species of legless lizards in California this year. (Via Headlines and Global News)

At this point you’re probably doing two things -- making some kind of ‘snakes on a plane but it’s not a snake’ reference, and asking -- what’s the difference between a legless lizard and a snake? A writer for the Los Angeles Times provides some insight...

… snakes are a type of legless lizard, “ … but not all legless lizards are snakes.” There are some big differences between the two groups.

For example, snakes do not have the ability to blink, while legless lizards do. Snakes are also more flexible, which allows them more freedom of movement than their lizard relatives. (Via National Geographic)

The legless lizards found in California are also generally much smaller than most snakes. Discovery News explains they’re only as thick as a pencil, and don’t grow to more than eight inches.

“ … the creatures are seldom seen because they live mostly underground, eating insects and larvae, and may spend their lives within an area the size of a dining table.”

The researchers who discovered the lizards are now working with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to determine whether they will need protected status for the newly found species.  

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