The baby lizard is an astounding, complex creature with many interesting facets. Did you know that some lizards can reproduce without the help of a male? They can also smell with their tongues and have a knack for fending for themselves from the moment they’re born.
Let’s learn five awesome facts about the baby lizard and check out some cute pictures along the way!
#1: A Baby Lizard is Called a Hatchling!
Chances are, you already knew that a baby lizard is a reptile. Like other reptiles, these adorable creatures hatch from eggs. It should come as no surprise, then, that a baby lizard is called a hatchling! However, lizards aren’t the only animals with a claim to the name. Baby alligators, baby crocodiles, and even baby turtles are also called hatchlings.
#2: Baby Chihuahuan Lizards are Clones
It can be tough to imagine a baby being born without two parents. However, for the baby Chihuahuan lizard, this is a reality. This is possible because some specially-bred female Chihuahuan lizards don’t need a male to fertilize their eggs. Instead, it is a journey they can embark on solo.
Chihuahuan lizards are an all-female species. This means that when they lay eggs, the genetic material within is a replica of the mother lizard. But how is this possible? The answer is simple: these species’ eggs don’t need male assistance to be fertilized. Female Chihuahuan lizards can complete fertilization without outside assistance.
Even though scientists have seen success in babies being produced from the bred Chihuahuan lizards, these instances are limited to the lab. Researchers say that all members of the species found in the wild have been sterile.
#3: Lizard Hatchlings are Incredibly Independent
The words “baby” and “independent” don’t often belong in the same sentence. However, baby lizards are an exception to this rule. Unlike mammals and marsupials, baby lizards don’t depend on their mothers for milk as newborns. Instead, they can immediately start eating much of the same diet as adults.
Aside from their diet, baby lizards also don’t require any care from their mothers. They instinctually know how to hunt and will avoid foods that are too large for them. However, if food too large is accidentally consumed, baby lizards could become impacted. Impaction happens when the size of the food is too large to pass through a baby lizard’s digestive organs and gets stuck. This can lead to extreme illness and even death.
Even though baby lizard hatchlings don’t have the luxury of a parent to protect them, the scales are tipped in their favor when it comes to avoiding predators. Since they are very small, it’s difficult for predators to find them. They are also usually very fast, which allows them to easily scurry away from danger.
#4: Incubation Temperatures Determine Baby Water Dragons’ Sex!
Baby Water Dragons are some of the most highly sought-after reptile pets in the world. They are considered intermediate-level pets because of their detailed care needs. They are exotic reptiles, which means improper care can have serious consequences. However, that’s not the only interesting thing about them.
Chinese Water Dragons incubate eggs for about three months before they’re ready to hatch. During this time, the temperature at the nest determines whether the babies will be male or female. In other words, temperatures above 28 degrees Celsius result in females and lower temperatures result in males.
These amazing creatures lay their eggs in a small hole beneath the sand near the water. Female dragons first dig the hole, then deposit their eggs directly into the hole. If she misses, she will either roll the egg into the hole using her snout or pick it up in her mouth to deposit it where it belongs. Then, the hole is filled back up with sand and hidden using twigs and other organic material. Female dragons return often to check on their eggs and will rearrange the material on top if it looks disturbed.
#5: Baby Lizard Hatchlings Smell with their Tongues!
Did you know that a lizard’s nose isn’t the only thing they use to smell? Even though they have some scent receptors in their nostril passages, they can also smell with their tongues. This is made possible by a special organ in their mouths called a Jacobsen’s organ.
To use their tongues for smell, baby lizard hatchlings first flick out their tongues to capture the scent in the air. Then, they press the collected particles against the roof of their mouths, where the Jacobsen’s organ is located. This organ then sends a signal to the brain that identifies the odor.
Baby lizard hatchlings use their extraordinary sense of smell for more than tracking down their next meal. It is also used to find a mate, avoid danger, and even to communicate with other lizards.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © DWI YULIANTO/Shutterstock.com
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What is a baby lizard called?
Baby lizards are called hatchlings. They share this name with other reptiles like turtles, alligators, and crocodiles.
How much do baby lizards weigh?
A baby lizard’s weight depends on its species. For example, a baby iguana usually weighs around .2 pounds. A baby leopard gecko, on the other hand, typically weighs about 3 grams.
What do baby lizards eat?
Baby lizards are incredibly independent and have diets that are very similar to their parents. From birth, they eat a wide variety of small insects and plant matter.
Where do baby lizards live?
Baby lizards live anywhere with sunshine, except Antarctica. Since they are cold-blooded, they need a heat source to survive.
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