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Florida Wormlizard: Rhineuridae

Behavior And Reproduction

Florida wormlizards stay underground most of the time, although they sometimes—and just for a moment—poke their heads up and out of piles of leaves. Scientists call such underground-living animals fossorial (faw-SOR-ee-ul). Florida wormlizards dig through the soil with their hard, shovel-shaped heads. The snout is also very hard and forms a sharp edge for tunneling. Although its tail is short, the Florida wormlizard uses it well. As the wormlizard begins digging, its tail is often exposed on top of the ground. Fortunately, dirt fits between the cone-shaped bump on the top of the tail and helps to hides it from the sight of passing predators (PREH-duh-ters), or animals that might hunt it for food. If a predator comes too close, the wormlizard quickly digs further into the soil and uses its tail like a cork to plug the tunnel entrance. Unlike many lizards, the Florida wormlizard cannot drop its tail.

Female Florida wormlizards lay eggs, usually two at a time, in their underground burrows. The eggs hatch into babies about 4 inches (10 centimeters) long. Scientists know little else about their courtship, mating, or reproduction.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceDinosaurs, Snakes, and Other ReptilesFlorida Wormlizard: Rhineuridae - Physical Characteristics, Geographic Range, Habitat, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction - FLORIDA WORM LIZARDS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS