Lizards are scaly-skinned reptiles that fall under the order Squamata and the suborder Sauria. Lizards comprise more than 5,500 species that range in size from 2 cm to 3 meters in length with a slender tail. These species of Reptiles have survived for approximately 200 million years. The weight of lizards can sometimes be as low as 0.5 gms to more than 150 kgs in certain species. Snakes, which are also reptiles, arose from lizards and are known to be a group of limbless lizards. Because of the similarity in appearance, lizards are often mistaken for snakes. These reptiles are adaptable to any environment and are found on land, water and underground. The benefits in the human environment because of lizards are not recognised. While some lizards are sources of pest control and food, there are lizards that act as pests themselves.
Let’s look at the life cycle of lizards to get a better understanding.
Life Cycle of Lizards
1) The Egg – Stage 1
The pattern in which adult lizards lay eggs varies from one species to another. While some lizard species like Anoles lay one egg in one clutch, other species like skinks lay clutches of two eggs. The clutch size of eggs refers to the total number of eggs laid in one attempt. In appearance, the lizard eggs are leathery-shelled and porous, which means the eggs can stretch by absorbing moisture. Some female lizards even bury their eggs in order to protect them from predators. During this period the embryo develops inside the eggs. The hatching of eggs varies, depending on the species of lizard. While eggs of a frilled lizard hatch in 70 days, the eggs of a green iguana hatch in about 90 days. The lizards break the eggshell by using their egg tooth known as caruncle. After breaking the eggshell, the baby lizards stay inside the eggs for 12 to 24 hours in order to absorb all the remaining yolk from the egg.
2) The Juvenile – Stage 2
In this stage, the young lizard is left to survive on its own. Parental supervision by adult lizards is very less during this stage. The young lizards develop and grow into the size of an adult after some time.
3) The Adult – Stage 3
When the lizard enters the adult stage, it is sexually mature and ready to mate. Mating in lizards depends on the season, for example, the frilled lizard begins mating during the wet season. The male lizards attract female lizards by expanding their frills. After fertilization the female lizard is capable of laying 8 to 23 eggs, depending upon the species. Green iguanas usually mate during the winter season. A female green iguana can lay a clutch of 20 to 71 eggs.
From extremely cold harsh climates to deep oceans, the reptile lizard can survive anywhere. Owing to their long exoskeleton, lizards are often mistaken for snakes but unlike snakes, lizards have legs and moveable eyelids. Most lizards have dry, scaly skin that does not grow as the lizard develops. Instead, the lizard sheds its skin to get a layer of new skin. Lizards have an amazing defence mechanism of caudal autotomy, where they self amputate a part of their tail when they are in a hostile environment. The tail of the lizard grows back after some time.
Frequently Asked Questions on Lizard Life Cycle
What food attracts lizards?
Lizards like to eat insects and they are their main source of food. Crawling insects, flying insects, fruits and water are the food items that attract lizards.
How can one get rid of lizards at home?
Balls made by the combination of coffee and tobacco are considered an ideal way to get rid of lizards at home. Placing naphthalene balls in different rooms of the house will also help in keeping lizards away from home. Other ways are the usage of cold water, pepper spray and so on.
How long can a lizard survive without eating?
The time period of a lizard surviving without feeding depends on the species it belongs to. While adult bearded dragons can survive without food for about three weeks, the leopard gecko can survive about a month without eating. But, most lizards store water and fat in their tails, which helps them survive.