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Glass Lizards

Dewees Island is home to a legless lizard also known as an Eastern Glass Lizard. These lizards differ from snakes in 3 ways that are evident to the keen observer: they have ear slits behind their eyes, the have eyelids, and when they eat, glass lizards cannot expand their jaws as snakes do.

Eastern Glass Lizards, Ophisaurus ventralis are common throughout the coastal plains of South Carolina, including the barrier islands.  The glass lizards of Dewees Island forage on ground-dwelling invertebrates, such as Palmetto bugs, beetles, and crickets, as well as the occasional small lizard.  These reptiles are egg-layers; the female glass lizard will deposit 5 to 17 eggs in a well-protected area in late spring or summer and will often stay with the eggs until they hatch. 

On Dewees, Glass Lizards prefer edge habitats such as the transition of the maritime forest to the salt marsh.  Unfortunately, this is also where many of our island roads are located.  Both adult and juvenile Glass Lizards struggle when crossing exposed sandy areas due to their smooth belly scales. If you see a glass lizard in the road, please let them cross!  Please brake for ALL island reptiles, as they are valuable members of our island environment!  

Thank you!

Amphibians and reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia. UNC Press, 1980.