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Lizards are reptiles of the order
Squamata, which they share with the
snakes. They are usually four-legged,
with external ear openings and movable
eyelids. Species range in adult length Scientific classification
from a few centimeters (some Caribbean Kingdom: Animalia
geckos) to nearly three meters (Komodo
dragons). Phylum: Chordata
Some lizard species called "glass
snakes" or "glass lizards" have no Order: Squamata
functional legs, though there are some Sub-order: Sauria
vestigal skeletal leg structures. They
are distinguished from true snakes by the presence of eyelids and ears.
Many lizards can change color in response to their environments or in times
of stress. The most familiar example is the chameleon, but more subtle color
changes occur in other lizard species as well.
Lizards typically feed on insects or rodents. A few species are omnivorous
and can also eat plants. Only two lizard species are poisonous: the Mexican
beaded lizard and the Gila monster, both of which live in northern Mexico
and southern Texas. They are typically not hazardous to humans as their
poison is introduced slowly by chewing, rather than injected as with most
Other small lizards are harmless to humans (most species native to North
America, for example, are incapable of drawing blood with their bites).
Most lizards lay eggs, though a few species are capable of live birth.
Lizards in the Scincomorpha family, which include skinks (such as the
blue-tailed skink), often have shiny, iridescent scales that appear moist.
But like all other lizards, they are dry-skinned, generally preferring to
avoid water (though all lizards are able to swim if needed).