Scheltopusik

Ophisaurus apodus

About This Animal

SIZE: Average length (including tail) is 2 - 3 feet

RANGE: Southern Europe to central Asia including the Middle East

HABITAT: Burrows, under twigs and leaves, stone walls or piles and embankments of dry grasslands and lightly forested areas

DIET: Wide variety of insects, snails, small rodents, earthworms, small birds and reptiles and their eggs

ON EXHIBIT:  Classroom, Outreach and Encounter Animal

Scheltopusik is a Russian term meaning “yellow belly.” At first glance, a scheltopusik may appear to be a snake, but closer examination reveals it is a legless lizard. It can break off segments of its tail, thereby confusing potential predators with several wiggling lizard pieces. The tail will regenerate but it often appears shorter and darker. In captivity, a scheltopusik can live 50 years.