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.
Scheltopusiks are considered a stable species and are relatively common throughout their range. No IUCN status found.
About This Animal
SIZE: 54 inches
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.