Nature is a real treasury, rich in unique flora and fauna. Sometimes, there are so "outlandish" species that seem fantastic. One of these amazing creatures is spindlevisually similar to dangerous poisonous snakes.
Description and Features
The spindle-tree belongs to the family of reptiles of the squamous order and is a pseudopod lizard. The length of the reptile is incredibly large - about 50 cm, which leads to confusion. Often lizards are killed, taking for vipers, which is fundamentally wrong. That is why, this species is on the verge of extinction, is considered rare and is listed in the Red Book.
The fragile spindle or copperfish got its name due to physiological characteristics. Breaking, because it “discards” the tail, like all lizards. And, the coppers - on the specificity of the color, slightly resembling rust. The color differs, as well as gender. In females, it is much paler than in males.
On the abdominal part of males there are spots and stripes of a dark shade. There are rare individuals - melanists. Their color is fundamentally different from typical, and can acquire a uniform graphite hue. And, albino lizards have a grayish color of the outer cover. An additional feature of the species is the presence of eyelids and the ability to blink, in contrast to snakes.
It is worth noting - the copper coin is, in fact, a completely different creature. This is a small genus of homogeneous, consisting of only 3 species. However, their presence on the outer cover of bone scales that protects the body from injuries unites them.
Types of spindles
- Anguis cephallonica or Peloponnesian worm class Kefalon spindle, natural habitat - temperate climate.
- Anguis colchica - until recently, was considered as a subspecies of spindles. Today, it is positioned as a separate class of reptiles.
- Anguis fragilis - the same fragile spindle. The main features of the species are an incredibly wide range and a life span of up to 35 years.
- Anguis graeca is the rarest species. Habitable environment - continental and Mediterranean climatic zone.
- Anguis incomptus is the rarest species found in just one Mexican state. It is strictly guarded and carefully studied.
- Anguis veronensis is an Italian worm. It is distinguished by the presence of microscopic legs and the habitat, in accordance with the name of the subspecies.
Himself class spindle or anguidae has 13 genera, including 120 subspecies. Both serpentine and five-fingered lizards having 4 limbs can be found. As mentioned earlier, all these species have one characteristic feature - the outer cover, uniting them into a single class.
Lifestyle & Habitat
Spindle trees are sedentary and rarely change their "place of residence." At the same time, their habitat is incredibly vast. The species is found everywhere, regardless of climatic conditions. You can see the spindles, both in the hottest Asian countries, and on the long northern continent.
Lizards move fairly slowly, both in water and on land. The reason for this is the same, scaly cover, characterized not only by strength, but also by impressive weight. Habitat - old stumps, forest litter, loose soil, etc.
It is quite difficult to meet a lizard in natural conditions. But, watching her is very interesting. Some eyewitnesses claim that the spindle lives, even under a pile of accumulated debris or in rags and is not at all afraid of people. It is easily tamed and can become a real pet, taking food from hands.
Spring spindle legless is active in the daytime. Closer to summer - activity is observed with the onset of darkness. The reptile is hunted with a highly sensitive sense of smell, due to poor vision and slowness. That is why, the radius of its movement is small and limited to several meters.
Lizards, unlike relatives, fall into hibernation at temperatures below 10 ° C. For a long sleep, they are pre-prepared. They gather in small groups of up to 30 individuals and dig maze recesses up to 70 cm long. In rare cases, spiders can share the wintering ground with other reptiles or vipers.
The slowness of lizards makes them easy prey for birds and animals. Therefore, they prefer to hide, hiding, sometimes even in anthills. Saves them from bites, all the same, the skin. Sluggishness, calmness and friendliness - that is what is characteristic for the lifestyle of spindles.
However, in dangerous situations, they can take on a rather frightening appearance - stick out a forked tongue and hiss like a snake. If this does not stop the enemy, they try to quickly escape.
In open areas, lizards are very difficult to move around. But, making his way through obstacles - between trees, bushes, etc., they demonstrate high speed and briskness, but they quickly get tired and try to find shelter.
Reptile spindlehowever, only at first glance does it resemble the snake. The movement of the lizard is fundamentally different. She wriggles like a snake, - undulating, at the same time, the impression of vain vibrations is created.
All the same, the protective shell does not give the reptile the necessary "amplitude" of the wave. She has to wriggle more actively, which leads to rapid fatigue and slowness. At the same time, she is not afraid of damage from sharp branches, thorns and other dangers encountered along the way.
Due to the nature of hunting, lizards also choose moist, darkened places to stay. Their main diet is the same, unhurried underground inhabitants - earthworm, slugs, caterpillars, etc. The organ of smell in the lizard's tongue. Like this? Not easy enough.
Spindles draw in air through the nose, however, language is used for detailed chemical analysis. In the sky, this species has the finest sensitive “hairs”. Sticking out the tongue, the reptile, as it were, takes a sample and analyzes the composition of the sample.
The same thing happens with food. Having discovered and caught the prey, the lizard carefully studies it and only after that the process of swallowing begins. You can also notice how she, during the "meal", constantly rubs her head. This is to erase leftover food or mucus.
The main assistants of the lizard in hunting and eating prey are sharp bent teeth. With them, she fixes the victim in the oral cavity and gradually advances into the larynx. The process can be very long, dragging on for more than half an hour, especially if the catch is large.
Also using fangs common spindle catches and draws prey from holes. Often there were cases when the reptiles could not get, for example, the worm completely and it began to actively rotate on its axis, not tearing off, but unscrewing part of the victim.
The peculiarity of the jaw structure allows the spindle, even to remove snails from the shell, doing this gradually, intercepting deeper from the base of the shell. Rarely does a lizard feed on its relatives, snakes, or snakes.
At the same time, never switches to the use of vegetation. A well-fed lizard can do without food for about 3 days. Regardless of the degree of hunger, adults are able to hunt only once a day.
Reproduction and longevity
There are few facts about the reproduction of this species of lizard. It is known that animal spindle belongs to the class of viviparous. However, the cubs are born in a transparent thin shell - an egg and immediately break through it actively moving.
The mating season in lizards begins in late spring, closer to the end of May. Its duration is insignificant - no more than 2-3 weeks. That is why males "energetically" look for a female, often entering the right for mating in fierce battles, often killing their opponents with sharp teeth.
The process itself looks archaic, resembling an ancient ritual, which is completely not typical for ordinary lizards. The male bites its fangs into the female’s neck and fertilizes it. Maybe even pull a secluded place in a bol. Embryo development occurs in the mother's body.
A fertilized female carries offspring for about two and a half three months. One litter can count from five to twenty six cubs. Babies eat the same food as adults, but choose smaller victims. Puberty occurs in the third year of life.
The secretive and unhurried way of life of lizards has caused a short duration of daily and seasonal activity. On average, lizards stay awake in the summer for about 10-11 hours, starting from 9: 30-10 in the morning until 19-19: 30 in the evening. In autumn, this period is reduced to 3-4 hours, starting around 10-10: 30 in the morning and ending at 13-14 hours of the day.
In winter, lizards hibernate. The average life span of the spindle in the natural environment reaches 19-20 years. There are also champions, however, grown and living, exclusively in captivity. In terrariums, spindles survive to 35-54 years.
The main feature of this species is its appearance. Looks like spindle in the photolike an ordinary snake. That is why the question often arises - "poison spindle or not? ". Definitely not! This type of reptile is absolutely safe for humans.
As mentioned earlier, they easily make contact, tame and remember the owner. However, the spindles are able to defend themselves by inflicting quite painful and deep bites, due to sharp bent teeth.
Therefore, keeping a lizard, like a snake, is necessary for the head at the base of the neck. In addition, like all snake-like, spindles change the skin 2-3 times a year. This is their similarity with snakes. But there are also many differences.
Signs by which you can distinguish snakes and spindles:
- The head of the lizard smoothly passes into the body, merging with it, unlike snakes, in which it is pronounced against the background of the body.
- Low speed of movement, especially on smooth planes.
- The presence of mobile eyelids and the ability to blink.
- The presence of hearing.
- Fixed jaws that do not allow swallowing large prey.
- Unlike a snake, spindles do not fold into rings.
Another interesting fact - spindles do not distinguish colors. Everything around them appears in a gray tint. However, their ability to see the palette would be useless to them, as the reptile is nocturnal. Lizards are no less impressive in their behavior in dangerous situations.
They are able to defend themselves by “spraying” their own excrement into the attacker. Young individuals - young, counting on the effect of surprise, turn upside down. And, since they have a dark, almost graphite shade, a sharp change in shade occurs, which apparently should hit and scare away the enemy.
Surprising, in addition, the preparation of this species for wintering. Previously, before hibernation, they gather in groups and equip the place of "overnight", warming it with leaves with moss, grass, etc. Spindles are more common in early spring.
After hibernation, they are not averse to basking in the sun. They crawl out onto open glades and onto stones. Do not confuse spindles with snakes. Do not kill animals, because they are a rare, endangered species. However, do not treat the lizard negligently. She is able to protect herself.