European glass lizard

Latin Name
Ophisaurus apodus




Tan in color, the European glass lizard is lighter on the ventral surface and the head. It resembles a giant earthworm, though small rear legs are sometimes noticeable near the cloaca. They can grow to 52 inches long.



They are found from southern Europe to central Asia.


The scheltopusik is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.


The European glass lizard prefer open grasslands and wooded hills. They sleep in other animals' burrows, sometimes using these burrows to hibernate over winter.


The European glass lizard consumes small mammals, spiders and centipedes, preferring snails and slugs best of all.

Life History

As many as a dozen eggs are hidden under bark or stones and guarded by the female. After 50 days, offspring hatch. Young are sexually mature by 3 years of age.

Special Adaptations
  • The European glass lizard can drop its tail when attacked. This ability, in addition to its creamy appearance, lend this species its nickname.
  • The species can evade quickly when threatened, with movement similar to that of snakes.

Lincoln Park Zoo Exhibit