Home | Lizards | Sheltopusik or Eurasian Glass Lizard History and Care

Sheltopusik or Eurasian Glass Lizard History and Care

Eurasian Glass Lizard

Although often passed by in favor of more brightly colored lizards, the sheltopusik, or Eurasian glass lizard, Ophisaurus (Pseudopus) apodus, makes an interesting, hardy and responsive pet. One formerly under my care at NYC’s Staten Island Zoo is approaching 30 years of age, and still in vigorous good health. The captive record is 54 years (the longest, I believe, of any lizard), and longevities of 20-30 years are not uncommon.

Furthermore, the sheltopusik is uncommonly responsive (especially to those who provide its meals!) and accepts a wide variety of foods – pink (new-born) mice, crickets, earthworms, mealworms, waxworms, eggs, canned lizard diet and canned dog and cat food – to name a few. Cone-shaped teeth assist in crushing snails, a favored prey. After eating snails, sheltopusiks remove the snails’ slime from their jaws by rubbing their mouths against the ground. In the wild, they actively forage for beetles, spiders, grasshoppers, caterpillars, mice, shrews, voles, ground nesting birds and their eggs, small snakes, lizards and their eggs, and carrion. Averaging 2-3 feet in length, exceptionally large specimens can top 4 feet.

Glass lizards, as their name implies, quickly autotomize (shed) their tails when handled or captured by a predator. The eastern glass lizard, O. ventralis, of the southeastern USA and Europe’s slow-worm, Anguis fragilis (note the species’ name!) are particularly adapt in this regard. Pet sheltopusiks usually become so tame that tail shedding is rarely a consideration if they are handled gently.


Interesting sheltopusik photos are posted at:


  1. avatar

    Hi Frank,
    I have a quick question I have had my Sheltopusik for three years now. When I got her she had some pretty bad flesh wounds that took some time to heal. So now that’s all healed up. Anyway my question is are they normally dry? she almost crispy and her scales seem to stick up. Because I’m not to sure on what her humidity should be. Any help would be great. Thanks

  2. avatar
    Frank Indiviglio

    Hi Trina,

    Thanks for your question.

    The dry, raised areas are likely the result of scar tissue having built up below the scales. I have seen this among many lizards and snakes – it doesn’t look great, but seems not to cause any problems. One thing I would watch for is that dry skin does not get caught on this area when the lizard sheds. If you notice this happening, use a shed aid such as Shed Ease Conditioner at shedding time.

    Sheltopusiks dwell in dry areas but take advantage of morning dew and are particularly active after rains. I have found they do best if their cage is sprayed lightly with water each morning – enough to dampen the top layer of the substrate, but not so much that it stays wet for more than an hour or so. Otherwise the substrate should remain dry.

    I hope this has been of some help -please write back and let me know what type of substrate you use, as this will affect how much humidity will be retained, and with any further questions. Good luck.

    Best regards,


  3. avatar

    Hi again,

    Thanks for taking the time to answer my question it helped to put some of my worries to rest. Anyway we have tried a number of different beddings for her. Paper, coconut shavings, some types of wood chips, we found though that for her, ground up corn cob seems to be the winner for now. The dust from the coconut shavings and wood chips would clog in her nose and under her scales. She is misted everyday already, and seems to do well in the corn cob stuff.
    Thanks Trina

  4. avatar
    Frank Indiviglio

    Hi Trina,

    Thanks for the note and glad I could be of help.

    Corn cob should be fine, assuming the animal can get enough traction. If she seems to have difficulty in moving about, a handful of sphagnum moss mixed into the corn cob will give her scales somrthing to grab onto.

    Please keep me posted on her progress and pass along anything interesting you might observe.

    Best regards,

  5. avatar

    Hi Frank. Thanks for your interesting and informative article on the sheltopusik. I have owned one for about a year now and I want to determine it’s sex in hopes of breeding. How can the sex of these lizards be determined? Thanks. – Tom

    • avatar

      Hello Tom, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for your interest in our blog and the kind words, much appreciated.

      Unfortunately it’s difficult to differentiate the sexes unless you are able to view a number of individuals together. Mature males tend to have broader heads than do females, but age and also place of origin (they have a wide range, and vary in appearance from population to population) plays a role.

      The region just below the cloaca is “fuller” in males than in females, and the tail tapers more dramatically below this point in the males (this due to the presence of the internal hemipenes in the males. However, this is not nearly as evident as is the case with snakes, (in case you have experience with them).

      Males usually fight if housed together, so if unsure you’ll need to be very careful when introducing a new animal.

      Sorry I couldn’t offer an easier method…I’ve only been able to easily differentiate the sexes when viewing large groups at importer’s facilities.

      Good luck and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  6. avatar

    my son found a “snake” in the back yard. it seemed to have a wounded tail, that appeared to be “growing back”. this did not make since to me, i do not know a lot about snakes but i do know the tails do not grow back. so after looking on the net for hours i saw no info on this “snake” and no info on snakes growing their tails back, just info saying they do not. anyhow we took it to our local “snake” museum, and with a strange look they told use it wasn’t a snake but was a glass lizard and we should put it back as they do not make “good” pets. so i just got home and found your web page and thought i’d ask you what you think. it seems ok to keep it according to the other posts but would like more info.

    • avatar

      Hello Jodie, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for your interest in our blog.

      Please let me know where it was found – there are several species in Europe and N. America, and their care differs; I should be able to ID it for you based on capture site, and could then advise on its care.

      I look forward to hearing from you,

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  7. avatar

    thanx frank for getting back to me so quickly
    we found “him” in our compost pile in our back yard. we live in wilmington nc, (blocks from a river and 7 miles from the beach). he was easy to catch and seems fairly “non-aggressive”, he’ll let use hold him but becomes very still. thank for any info you can give us, we have found some helpful info on the net but all seems to conflict with the other…

    • avatar

      Hello Jodie, Frank Indiviglio here.

      My pleasure….

      Three species of glass lizard are found in NC – the Eastern (Ophisaurus ventralis), Slender (O. attenuatus) and the Mimic (O. mimicus). The eastern is the most common; the Slender usually struggles violently when restrained and the Mimic has a very small range in NC. The care of all is similar.

      They spend much time below ground, and so should be provided with a sand/peat or sand/coconut husk mix of 4-8 inches in depth. A covering of dried grass or plastic plants will encourage it to emerge from its burrow. Be sure to use a screen top with Cage Clamps as they are escape artists. Mist the tank w/water once daily but the soil should not be damp; provide a shallow water bowl.

      Diet should be as varied as possible – crickets, waxworms, mealworms, earthworms, wild-caught insects; some individuals will also take canned silkworms and snails ; offer canned monitor/tegu diet as well. The info provided for the European glass lizard, re temperature, UVB and vitamin/mineral supplements, applies to native species.

      American Glass Lizards are more high strung than the European species, and should not be handled very much – calm behavior does not mean an absence of stress; they will, however, adapt well and may eventually feed from the hand.

      Good luck, enjoy and please write back if you need further info.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  8. avatar

    Thank you so much!
    i just looked up all three i really can not tell which it really looks like the eastern and the mimic not so much the slender. Anyhow thanks again, and could i send you a pix to see if you can tell?
    either way, thanx again

    • avatar

      Hello Jodie,

      You’re welcome…you can send a photo to findiviglio@thatpetplace.com, but difficult to use photo as ID depends on differences in spots/stripes about the head – must be clear, close up. If you’d like to try with the animal in hand, view the lizard from above, and look at the back of the head/neck:

      Eastern – 2 stripes along top of body end at head; head/snout has small dots/spots

      Slender – Three stripes along top of body, no spots

      Mimic – 3 stripes along top of body, the 2 outermost stripes end in a series of spots; spots are lined up, not scattered.

      Please let me know how you make out,

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  9. avatar

    my son has a “glass snake” lizard lol and i have moon drops liquid uvb does it need this vitamin? i do not want to give it to it if it doesn’t need it or will cause harm to it and i have not found many sites about these reptiles, i know they eat worms,crickets,slugs,frogs,birds , eggs, so on and the do not need UV due to being nocturnal, but i do not know if they need the moon drops for nocturnal reptiles
    and we use a regular bulb for day and night but do we need to heat the dirt/sand in its tank and what would be the best way to do that? i have a water bed heater that has a thermostat could i place it on the outside under the tank and if so what temp would it need to be at? for day and night it goes from 50-120 degrees

    • avatar

      Hello Jessica, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for your interest in our blog. Please let me know what type of glass lizard your son has (species if known, or else European, American, etc) as care differs. Actually, most are active by day and do best with a UVB source, although some spend a great deal of time below ground.

      Please also send info as to the temperatures you maintain and the diet, so that I can provide you with specific advice.

      I look forward to hearing from you,

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

    • avatar

      Hello Jessica, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for your interest in our blog. Please let me know what type of glass lizard your son has (species if known, or else European, American, etc) as care differs. Actually, most are active by day and do best with a UVB source, although some spend a great deal of time below ground.

      Please also send info re the temperatures you maintain and the diet, so that I can provide you with specific advice.

      I look forward to hearing from you,

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  10. avatar

    here is a link to one that looks exactlly like our no diffrences, we live in florida about an hour away from panama city beach ( the panhandle)

    ours is about 1 ½ feet long eating crickets, earth worms, slugs, have not tried a pinkies or frogs yet it hides during the day in a tunnel or in the roots of grass in his tank is eating about 5 crickets every other day, right now has a 60 watt bulb soft white compact fluorescent bulb the spiral type and is kept in room about 75-89 degrees as it is cooler at night do not know if it needs UV light, as far as what I could find online they do not need UV ? But it is a one that was caught wild eats well and was by our house in the shallow edge of our fresh water lake. VERY CAILM doesn’t mind being held at all. It’s tall has broken off in the wild but has already grown back- growing back pattern less do I need to use a under tank heating source for the dirt/sand in tank? And if so what temps does it need to be during day and night, and do I need to give it moon drops? Liquid UVB?

    • avatar

      Hello Jessica, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for the feedback. It is almost certainly an Eastern Glass Lizard, Ophisaurus ventralis. Three related species occur in your area – the markings on top of the head are a sure means of ID, The Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles/Amphibians of Eastern/Central USA has line drawings which are useful, but the photo shows a typical Eastern.

      They do get UVB exposure in the wild, and likely rely upon skin-generated Vitamin D3…a Zoo Med 5.0 would be ideal; check temps after you add the 5.0 – you may be able to do without your other bulb. Your temperatures are fine, can go to high 60’s at night if need be. You do not need a sub-sand heater.

      The varied diet you are providing is ideal; rather than moon drops/liquid UVB I suggest alternating between Reptocal and Reptivite w/D3 as a supplement – 1x weekly when wild invertebrates are the main diet, 3x weekly during periods when you rely largely upon domestic crickets (please see my article Feeding Crickets as well).

      Sounds like you are on the right track – Good luck and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  11. avatar

    untill i get the uvb 5.0 light would the moon drops do the trick?

    • avatar

      Hello Jessica,

      Thanks for the feedback; the moon drops are not likely to be an effective substitute as the lizard probably (judging from studies on related animals) does not effectively absorb D3 from its diet, but rather (or more effectively, perhaps) manufactures it in the skin in the presence of UVB (D3 then allows the animal to utilize dietary Calcium). However, you can add the bulb when you are able – a 2-3 week delay will do no harm.

      Enjoy, and please let me know if you need anything further,

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  12. avatar

    i meant a sheltopusik aka european glass lizard are these available in the uk legally?

    • avatar

      Hello Dan, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for your interest in our blog. In the UK, the Sheltopusik is protected under the European Protected Species Act of 1994. However, it may be legally kept if proof is shown that the animal was captive born, collected outside the EU, or in captivity before 1993, or if a special license is obtained. You can read more about these requirements and other UK protected species here.

      Please let me know if you need further info,

      Good luck and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  13. avatar

    My husband brought home a glass lizard he found at work. We live in North Florida and he found him “basking” on a stack of rotting lumber. The lizard did not retreat upon approach and has either lost his tail previously and is growing it back or something else is wrong with it.
    We have him in a 20gallon long tank with a heat lamp and have been feeding him crickets, mealworms, and waxworms.
    We can not keep him, but want to be sure he is healthy enough to survive if we put him in our back yard with a pile of lumber, moss, and reptile bark. If not are there any rescues in the North Florida area?


    P.S. He is a biter 🙂

    • avatar

      Hello Candace, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for your interest in our blog. Very nice to hear of your concern and efforts…your set-up sounds ideal as a temporary home. Just be sure the lizard can hide and has a water bowl; do not handle it or worry too much about feeding.

      At this time in N Fla they are just becoming active and may not feed right away; it was basking to warm up and likely did not escape as it was not up to optimal temperature when found. The “glass” part of their name is fitting – most wild ones lose their tail at some point; they are well-adapted to re-grow without incident.

      I suggest releasing the lizard as soon as a few warm days in a row are predicted; release early in the day. Wild-caught lizards are quite stressed by confinement; this, combined with an immune system that is not yet operating fully due to the effects of winter leaves them open to a variety of health problems at this time of the year.

      If the bite broke your skin, be sure to clean and disinfect well; a call to your family doctor would be a good idea. Glass lizards are not dangerous per se, but any animal bite may transfer a variety of micro-organisms that could cause severe infections.

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  14. avatar

    Thank you! We will be letting him go in the morning 🙂

    He didn’t break the skin when he bit, but we did sanatize the area.

    • avatar

      Hello Candace, Frank Indiviglio here.

      My pleasure….Thanks for you’re the update; I’m sure it will be fine. Very nice of you to take such an interest in these under-appreciated little beasts!

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted on any observations.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  15. avatar

    I keep looking for more information on scheltopusiks. there doesn’t seem to be much out there. I volunteer with my local zoo and became facinated by scheltopusiks. I purchased two a month ago. they were shipped in the same bag, they are in the same tank, and they appear to get along. they have not fought, even when they have both grabbed the same worm. are they in anyway social animals. I saw where you had said two males would fight, would females fight? also, I have seen some videos where they eat small amounts of fruits and veggies but can’t find anything in print. do you have any info on this,

    thanks, pam

    • avatar

      Hello Pam, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for your interest in our blog. Nice to hear you are volunteering at a zoo; that is how I got started in the field.

      Females may fight over food; some references claim that they are also territorial, but I have not seen evidence of that. In some habitats, they occur in extremely dense populations (I don’t recall exact reference, an article some years ago in Herpetologica, I believe) so perhaps food availability affects territorial behavior.

      Stomach analysis studies attribute vegetation to incidental swallowing along with prey; I cannot recall any citing plant matter as a food item. All zoos that I’m aware of keep them long term on meat-only diets. However, there was vegetable material in the cat/dog food that those under my care consumed, and I’m sure long term captives would try fruits/vegetables as you describe. I would not include as regular part of the diet, however, given the longevities they achieve on typical captive diets.

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted on their progress…not many are being kept these days in the USA.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  16. avatar

    Ok, so I’ve had my glass lizard for a while now and he isn’t all that huge…. Very small actually but anyway he is slowly growing now his environment is larger than a 10 gallon tank. I pulled him out today and moistened his soil like I always do and I am beginning to worry about this spot on his mouth. It isn’t really a spot though, it just looks like he has some dirt stuck underneath his lip on one side, but I have no idea if that is a bad thing or something to worry about.
    His species… I have no idea to be honest but he spends all his time underground and when he eats…. well it kind of looks like a shark attack because he just pokes his head out of the dirt really quickly and grabs the cricket and goes back down.
    Since he is so small ( almost 8-9 inches long with a small head) I feed him small crickets and well, he eats when he wants to. I literally just have to put about 5 or 6 in his cage and then wait about a week or so until they are all gone, then I just add more. I also moisten the soil ( that is how he gets moisture in his scales according to the people my mother got him from, and then I got him from my mother, so ya) every other week, or sooner if it is really dry. He also has a water bowl he can slither into. Oh ya I have had him since august and he seems to be doing awesome and that is when I got him in the new cage. He is also captive breed and he might be a she… I honestly have no idea, but I have a hunch its a boy. He also resides in eco dirt from a local pet store specialized in reptiles and fish… mostly reptiles though. It is a very fine dirt that he can easily slither through and dive underneath and if he ingests it, it wont hurt him.

    Anyway there’s the gist of it, and then there is that dirt underneath his lip on one side… Any tips? Should I take him to the vet?

    • avatar

      Hello Jessica,

      Thanks for your interest. Eco earth is a bit too “powdery” for many lizards and does tend to get lodged along the jawline/gums. If the spot you notice canno0t easily be removed via a Q-tip (using a second person to carefully hold the animal; remember, they shed the tail easily), a vet visit would be best. Impacted dirt can lead to an infection.

      A 50/50 mix of sand and topsoil is preferable. Fine to spray lightly, but be sure substrate dries out thoroughly shortly after, or a fungal disease of the skin may take hold. Amphibians absorb water through the skin, but lizards do not, to any great extent; be sure to continue to provide a water bowl.

      A note: Crickets alone are not a suitable diet. The lizard will grow for a time but will eventually develop a calcium deficiency and other nutritional diseases. Please try to offer as many of the foods mentioned in the article as possible; please write back if you need more info. Feeding frequency depends to a large degree upon temperature…what are your day/night temperatures?

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  17. avatar

    Took my dear lizard to the vet this past weekend and they said to just keep an eye on the spot… He said that it didn’t look bad so I was pretty relieved. I got some new cricket food that is like cubes of yellow jelly… kind of weird but it is the calcium food to gut load the cricket for my lizard, and I find it easier than powder. For now I will have to keep the eco dirt just because my lizard is so small, I can’t have him choking, but once he gets larger I may have to change the soil. The vet seems to think its a good choice so ya. Good news is he is healthy, happy, shedding, and full =) oh ya and not sick!
    Thanks for all the advise!!

    • avatar

      Hello Jessica,

      Thanks for the update and glad to hear the news.

      There’s a whole range of harmless growth and such that crop up, but good that you checked.

      Some of the gel-based cubes are quite good; just be sure to powder the crickets as well; studies have shown that this is usually more effective than gut-loading (continue to feed the crickets a varied diet, however).

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  18. avatar

    Hi Frank, I found an Eastern glass lizard in my backyard here in central Florida, and was curious to how large it will get. I believe he is a juvenile, as his contrast in markings is quite distinct; i would put him at about 12-13 inches in length. ps, he has scars where it looks like are from releasing his tail, would this have any effect on his adult length? Thanks!

    • avatar

      Hello Cameron

      Thanks for your interest. The published record length for the species is just over 42 inches, but most top out at 24-32 inches. Re-grown tails may be shaped differently, but usually do not affect the animal’s ultimate length. Two other species inhabit central Florida, the Island Glass Lizard and the Slender Glass Lizard.

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  19. avatar

    Okay. Sorry to bug you again, but in his tank i have a bunch of critters as food living in his dirt (earthworms, roaches, etc) in hopes that he will feed himself. If i replenish this appropriately should it be sufficient?

    • avatar

      Hello Cameron

      Please write in as often as you’d like…these interesting creatures are not often kept. Good question..ideally, it’s best to observe what the animal is taking, but this can be very difficult with secretive species. The lizard will be more likely to feed on its own if given plenty of cover and not handled.

      Earthworms are a very good food source, as are roaches. You can try the others listed as well, although canned food etc. may not be taken. Add fish food flakes/leaf litter as food for the inverts, and some fruit as a moisture source for roaches/crickets. If you rely largely on wild caught inverts, supplementing with calcium/vits is not as critical as with purchased crickets, etc. However, best to add some “powdered” inverts on occasion. ReptiVite and Reptical with D3 should suffice.

      You can also raise earthworms and feed them with a high quality diet to help assure good nutrition for you lizard. Please see this article on rearing earthworms. I’ve also written several on collecting insects that might be of use: http://blogs.thatpetplace.com/thatreptileblog/2011/11/25/reptile-and-amphibian-foods-breeding-and-rearing-grasshoppers-and-locusts/ (please esee linked articles as well)

      Best to provide a UVB source as well, although their needs have not been studied. Please let me know if you need more info.

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  20. avatar

    I recently purchased a european legless lizard. It seems to be an adult of about 2.5-3′ in length and fairly tame for a wild caught import. It is a ravenous eater taking snails, superworms and thin strips of raw chicken breast. My question is how much food should an adult be getting without over feeding?

    Thanks for any info.
    Randy G

    • avatar

      Hi Randy,

      Great to see that you are keeping this interesting creature. Food intake depends to a lg extent on age, temperature, UVB exposure, enclosure size-set-up, type of food etc. I’ve never had any probs with over-feeding, however, as happens with other lizards. They seem to have a high metabolism…field studies suggest this as well, as I recall. The elderly specimen I mentioned in the article, and others, ate 3 -4 lg meals (“very” roughly the size of the animal’s head), with a few live insects tossed in to keep them busy 1-2 other days. But lots of room to adjust that..larger meals, smaller more frequent. Pl write back with details as to your set-up if you wish.

      Chicken meat is ok on occasion, but best to offer more variety in the way of whole organisms, earthworms, roaches, etc. Canned insects or others mentioned can be used for variety as well.

      Enjoy, best, Frank

  21. avatar

    Greetings! I have a couple questions, but they require a backstory…
    Just this hour, I rescued a little baby eastern glass lizard (or so I’m guessing because there’s only two stripes on the body). A stray cat caught it and it has two little puncture wounds (one just behind the head on the back, one just under the jaw on the belly), but we were quick enough that’s all the injuries the little one received. Tomorrow I’m going to get better substrate, cage and food (right now it’s a small cage with a tonne of leaves for it to hide in, and a couple rolly-bugs).

    Now the questions are: Since he’s so little (not even a foot long, at most 7-8 inches, at -most- ), would it be possible to keep it a while (if not permanently) without too much stress? Fluffy (the cat) has killed small snakes and lizards in the past, so I’m certain she’ll find him again. 🙁 It’s so sad when I find the little snake hatchlings, they’re never longer than a foot, so I’d be afraid of letting it go before it gets bigger.

    Is there anything I should do with the puncture wounds? IE, does neosporin work on reptiles, or should I just watch to make sure they don’t get infected?

    With such a small mouth (I fear even the smallest rollybug I found is too big) what’s the best option for feeding the little guy? (or girl) I have only cared for snakes so I’m not sure what my pet store offers by size of crickets…

    Here’s a pic for size: http://i455.photobucket.com/albums/qq274/WhiteKatsu/Glassling.jpg

    Thanks for any and all help as well as for this page. I’ve got it bookmarked~

    • avatar


      Thanks for your interest and sorry for the delay in responding. Neosporin is fine for superficial cuts. They can be kept but need a highly varied diet and UVB exposure..all possible, but a good deal of work if you are not experienced. They also tend to be quite shy, remaining below the substrate most of the time, and so are not readily visible.

      Small earthworms are a good choice; small crickets also. Long term care requires more variety…I can send more info if you decide.

      release is the best option where minor injuries are concerned…they do not always exhibit signs of stress, but captivity is quite stressful at first. This will impeded recovery…also, all wild reptiles harbor parasites, which can increase in numbers in captivity unless the animal is medicated. The lizard will bask as needed outdoors, eat well and recover quickly. s for predators, no way around that. At that size, glass lizards are hunted by other lizards, snakes, small mammals, many birds and scores of others (not to mention the ubiquitous cats!).

      Please let me know if you need more info, and pl keep me posted and check in when you wish, Best, Frank

  22. avatar

    hello i was just wandering how long it takes for a glass lizard to get full size

    • avatar

      Hi Steve,

      They have not often been captive bred or studied extensively in the wild, so not much in the way of accurate records re this. sexual maturity is given as 3-6 years for wild individuals, which would be roughly when they would also be near full size; however, there can be growth after that. captives might take longer, or reach maturity sooner, depending upon diet, temperature. Origin may affect this as well…they have a wide range, and various populations differ as to maximum size. Sorry I could not give you a more specific answer..I’ll keep an eye out for updates in the literature, Best, Frank

  23. avatar

    Hey Frank,
    I was curious if you could share what you think would be a minumum diet for a European legless lizard. Would feeding 20-30 large crickets every three days and adding a small fuzzy mouse weekly be to little? Also throwing in a suprise meal every week like meal worms,or eggs? My lizard is around 3 feet, and have had him on this diet since I got him 8 months ago with one shed. Im really curious if this is a healthy diet or not. Also I was curious if fish is out of the question. Thanks!

    • avatar

      Hi, thanks for your interest.

      Difficult to set a specific minimum…much depends on the individual, where in the range it originated, temperatures, type of diet, etc. They can adjust metabolism to fit food availability, but in general glass lizards do seem to need more food than other lizards, .Constant searching behavior is a sign of hunger…but this species will associate people with food…like many turtles, they always “seem” hungry. The amounts you mention seem reasonable…and starvation/malnutrition is rare, as captives do not expend much energy.

      I wouldn’t use crickets as such a large part of the diet. Add earthworms, horn-worms or silkworms if available. Snails are an impt food in the wild; canned snails and other canned inverts such as grasshoppers are a good way to add variety. Slugs, if collected from pesticide free areas, may also be offered, I prefer pink mice over furred rodents…fish may be accepted, but would not likely be consumed in wild…I’m not sure if this would be a problrm , re digestion, etc, for a captive. Freeze dried shrimp are accepted by many terrestrial species, and seem to be a good source of Ca, no probs that I know of. Eggs and canned monitor diets can be used as well. Super mealworms preferable to regular, ant other commercial insects fine also…roaches especially. Pl let me know if you need more info, best, Frank

  24. avatar

    Hi I just found a baby eastern glass lizard it cant be no more then a couple weeks old . I really want to keep it and I know it can only eat things that are smaller then its head well it wont eat anything that I put in the cage with it because it’s to big for it to eat. Can I feed it anything like fruit or maybe meat until I can get some bugs that are smaller

    • avatar

      Hello Kyra,

      ID via photo can be difficult, as there are several similar species. O. ventralis is the most common/…where was it found?

      Small earthworms would likely be the easiest food to offer; you can also try crickets, waxworms, butterworms, slugs; some may take canned monitor diets, moist cat food etc., but live food is preferred, and the better diet. Temps can range from 70-80 F, with a basking site of appx. 85 F. Best, Frank

  25. avatar

    I could send you a picture if I had an e-mail or something to send it to you

  26. avatar

    Its an eastern glass lizard ive already did my research. It looks exactly like the eastern glass lizard that someone posted before on your site. I’ve already tried crickets grasshoppers. I can’t find anything small enough for it.could I maybe take some hard cat/dog food and wet it.

  27. avatar

    Im really interested in glass lizards.I had a female that had eggs but ended up having to give them away so I really dont know how to care for babies.I really want to keep this one I dont know what to feed it until I can find something small enough. What should I do

  28. avatar

    I’ve tried everything in my back yard, don’t really have money to order online. What can I feed it until I can get to a feed store. I can’t let it go its so little and I dont want anything to get it.

    • avatar

      Better to release it…at that size, they are not easy to keep. You would need to buy food all winter. Also, at this time of the year it is preparing for winter…it may not feed even if kept warm, and appropriate food is offered. “internal clocks” govern many reptiles…if they cannot hibernate, they may still refuse to feed. Much better to start with an adult, in spring. best regards, Frank

  29. avatar

    Good morning – I found in my developments parking lot (at 4 this morning) a terribly wounded glass snake while walking my dogs – looks like it has been cut in half by something – I just couldn’t leave it there – do you think it can survive? (I know nothing about snakes) – I have it in a container with some towels – I will bring it to Busch Wildlife this morning.

    • avatar


      Much depends on where the injury is located, species (the lizards mentioned here have “break plates”, but not in the center of the body, infection status etc. Please keep me posted, best, Frank

About Frank Indiviglio

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Being born with a deep interest in animals might seem unfortunate for a native Bronxite , but my family encouraged my interest and the menagerie that sprung from it. Jobs with pet stores and importers had me caring for a fantastic assortment of reptiles and amphibians. After a detour as a lawyer, I was hired as a Bronx Zoo animal keeper and was soon caring for gharials, goliath frogs, king cobras and everything in-between. Research has taken me in pursuit of anacondas, Orinoco crocodiles and other animals in locales ranging from Venezuela’s llanos to Tortuguero’s beaches. Now, after 20+ years with the Bronx Zoo, I am a consultant for several zoos and museums. I have spent time in Japan, and often exchange ideas with zoologists there. I have written books on salamanders, geckos and other “herps”, discussed reptile-keeping on television and presented papers at conferences. A Master’s Degree in biology has led to teaching opportunities. My work puts me in contact with thousands of hobbyists keeping an array of pets. Without fail, I have learned much from them and hope, dear readers, that you will be generous in sharing your thoughts on this blog and web site. For a complete biography of my experience click here.
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