an odd tail
March 26, 2010 4:48 PM   Subscribe

reptile-filter: what would cause this lizard's tail to become embedded in the ground, requiring human extraction from said earth?

ran across this query (and video) on a forum i follow ( the OP states "So, here we were riding along on Twisted Sister, and here was this lizard sitting on the edge of the trail. Unlike most lizards, it didn't try to run when I got close. Well, actually, it did. It started freaking out. But it didn't run away because it couldn't. Its tail was buried in the ground. And the ground all around its tail was totally undisturbed until the lizard started spazzing and trying to get away. Weird stuff."

the video is convincing and not spoofy.

care to hazard a guess, herpetologists?
posted by RockyChrysler to Science & Nature (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Lizards don't move around a lot if it's too cold and they don't have to move.

So, here's my wild-ass guess: It was cold. The lizard stopped moving. Then the ground was wet. The tail sunk into the mud, or the lizard wiggled it into the mud. The next morning, the ground dried and set like a teeny, tiny patch of concrete. It was still cold, so the lizard didn't move and didn't realize he couldn't move until the bikers showed up. Bang, stuck lizard in a comical video.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:54 PM on March 26, 2010

Something tried to drag it down a hole, by the tail. It got wedged in tight, lizard couldn't pull tail out due to the length of tail wedged down in there.

That's my theory and I'm sticking with it.
posted by Max Power at 5:41 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm going with the 'tried to drag it down the hole' theory, but the tail didn't look damaged when you slow down the video, so I'm not sure. That sure was strange though, nice find.
posted by julie_of_the_jungle at 6:57 PM on March 26, 2010

Another solid reason for lizards to drop their tails. (Though apparently this was one of the kinds that don't.) Strange video.
posted by cmyk at 9:22 PM on March 26, 2010

Generally speaking, they also can't drop their tails beyond the point of an old break. So if a lizard has lost it's tail completely (say, when young) and completely regrown it, it won't be able to drop it again.

(Now someone's gonna come along and tell me that this species can drop their tails after regrowing it…)
posted by Pinback at 12:12 AM on March 27, 2010

My faith in the bond between human and lizard is restored by your effort to set it free
posted by A189Nut at 8:45 AM on March 27, 2010

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