The sheltopusik is a large glass lizard found in Europe and Asia. It is tan colored, paler on the ventral surface and the head, with a ring-like/segmented appearance that makes it look like a giant earthworm with a distinctive fold of skin down each side, called a lateral groove. Small rear legs that measure around 2 mm are sometimes visible near the cloaca. Though the legs are barely discernible, the sheltopusik can be quickly distinguished from a snake by its ears, eyelids, and ventral scales.
Diurnal animals are active during the daytime, with a period of sleeping or other inactivity at night. The timing of activity by an animal depends ...
A carnivore meaning 'meat eater' is an organism that derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet consisting mainly or exclusively of a...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
A burrow is a hole or tunnel excavated into the ground by an animal to create a space suitable for habitation, temporary refuge, or as a byproduct ...
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Precocial species are those in which the young are relatively mature and mobile from the moment of birth or hatching. Precocial species are normall...
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
Sheltopusiks are found from Southern Europe to Central Asia. They prefer dry habitats and live in the open country, such as short grassland, sparsely wooded hills, vegetated rocky slopes, foothills, valleys of the river, shrubs, or near to human settlements.
Sheltopusiks are solitary diurnal reptiles. They and most active in wet weather when they come out to hunt for their favorite prey snails and slugs. Due to their size, sheltopusiks usually respond to harassment by hissing, biting, and musking. They are less likely to drop off their tail than some other species that display caudal autotomy. However, these occasional displays of caudal autotomy are responsible for the name "glass lizard" (or "glass snake"). The released tail may break into pieces, leading to the myth that the lizard can shatter like glass and reassemble itself later. In reality, if the tail is lost, it grows back slowly, but is shorter and darker; it may grow back to full length as it grows.
The mating system of sheltopusiks is unknown. About 10 weeks after mating, the female lays about 8 eggs, which she hides under bark or a stone, and often guards them. The young hatch after 45 to 55 days. They are typically about 15 cm (5.9 in) long and usually start to eat after 4 days.
There are no major threats to sheltopusiks at present. In some areas of their range, they suffer from habitat loss and may be occasionally killed because of being confused with snakes.
According to IUCN, the sheltopusik is locally common throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.