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Rock Lizards Wall Lizards and Relatives: Lacertidae

Behavior And Reproduction

Active during the day, wall and rock lizards typically like to sunbathe, or bask, to warm up their bodies. Most of them bask out in the open on rocks or on the ground. Some, such as Asian grass lizards, climb into plants and bushes and use their very long tails to wrap around stalks and branches. A few species, like the western sandveld lizard, stay in underground burrows most of the time.

Usually the lizards are able to avoid predators by keeping careful watch and running for cover before an attacker can come too close. The shovel-snouted lizard is even able to dive into the sand of its desert home and bury itself. This lizard scoots even deeper when it wants to take a cool and safe nap. Young Kalahari sand lizards have another defensive tactic. These baby lizards look so much like a bad-tasting beetle, known as the oogpister, that predators avoid them. Despite these behaviors, however, attackers are sometimes able to approach wall and rock lizards closely enough to attack them. When this happens, a wall or rock lizard can drop its tail, leaving the tail for the predator while the lizard escapes. A replacement tail grows, but it is usually much shorter.

Almost all the lizards in this family lay eggs and usually fewer than ten at a time. A female digs a hole in the ground and lays her eggs there. In many cases, the mother digs the nest under a rock that is out in the open and can warm up in the sun. The underground soil keeps the soft-shelled eggs moist. She then leaves the nest; the eggs hatch later, and the young are on their own. The largest females lay the most eggs, with some female eyed lizards giving birth to twenty eggs at a time. The females of a few members of this family have baby lizards rather than eggs. This includes the viviparous (vie-VIH-puh-rus) lizard, which lives in northern Europe. Females of this species mate with the males in the spring to early summer and have four to eleven babies three or four months later. Seven species in this family are all females, but they can still have babies, which are also all females.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceDinosaurs, Snakes, and Other ReptilesRock Lizards Wall Lizards and Relatives: Lacertidae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Sand Lizard (lacerta Agilis): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, ROCK LIZARDS WALL LIZARDS THEIR RELATIVES AND