Burton’s Legless Lizard

A Burton's Legless Lizard on a leafy forest floor

Scientific Name: Lialis burtonis

Size: 270mm SVL (Snout-Vent Length)

What does it look like?

Burton’s Snake-lizard is a robust, smooth-scaled, ‘snake-like’ lizard. Elongated head with long, pointed, wedge-shaped snout, and short tail. Highly variable in colour, including grey, yellow, reddish-brown or blackish above, with or without longitudinal stripes or broken lines on body, and conspicuous white or cream stripe on sides of head and neck. Underparts covered with variable amounts of small dark and pale flecks. Forelimbs absent and hindlimbs reduced to tiny flaps. Eyes have vertical pupils.

Where is it found?

Throughout mainland Australia and islands of Torres Strait. Absent from far south-west and far south-east.

What are its habitats & habits?

Burton’s Snake-lizard, or Burton’s Legless Lizard, occupies wide range of habitats, including forests, woodland, heaths, shrubland and spinifex deserts. Active by day and night, foraging on the ground almost exclusively for smaller lizards, which are supplemented with other small reptiles and invertebrates. Oviparous, laying 1–3 parchment-shelled eggs in a clutch.

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A Naturalist's Guide to the Reptiles of Australia (2nd Edition) cover

This species features in my book A Naturalist’s Guide to the Reptiles of Australia

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