The Endangered Slender Glass Lizard

Jacob Yeadon

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Description of Animal

The slender glass lizard is a long, slender, legless lizard. It's average length is 29.5 inches long from the tip of the tail to the snout. The tail is actually about 2/3 of the lizards total length. They can either be brown, bronze, tan, or a pale yellow in color and have 4 dark bands that run along the animal all the way to the tail. These lizards are strictly carnivorous and prefer insects, other invertebrates, and occasionally small vertebrates like mice and bird eggs. Hawks, raccoons, skunks, snakes, and foxes like to eat these lizards. These lizards are found in prairies, pine barrens, open woodlands with tall grass, and along roads in the tall grass. They are primarily found in the southern states of the U.S. but can travel to the northern states like Wisconsin, where they are considered endangered.

History of the ESA

The purpose of the Endangered Species Act is to protect and recover animal and plant species that are in danger of becoming extinct and the ecosystems in which they live in. Under the act, passed in 1973, species are either listed as endangered or threatened. An endangered species is one who is very close to becoming extinct. A threatened species means it is very likely to become endangered in the near future. Animals are placed on the list accordingly. All of the species on the lists have certain laws protecting them from being harmed in any way.

Why its Endangered in Wisconsin

The slender glass lizard was listed as endangered in Wisconsin in 1979, but not at a National or Global level. The lizard prefers flat areas and usually burrows itself in the ground. In Wisconsin most of the flat areas have been turned into farmland that is not suitable for the lizard to live. This is believed to have partly led to the endangerment. Invasive plant species, land development, and mowing of tall grasses is also believed to have led to the endangerment. In fact, according to the Wisconsin DNR, there have been 5 or less sightings in the state, ranking it as a S1 species.


There are quite a few things being done to try and protect and rebuild the population of this lizard like:

  • There are now new requirements for mowing alongside roads like blade height requirements.
  • New habitats are being created and managed for the lizard.
  • Private landowners are now being specifically educated on things like mowing techniques and other stuff to help protect the population of the slender glass lizard.

Human Ethics

I believe endangered animals should be protected by man, but only if they could serve some kind of purpose in the ecosystem. If they could be a food source for an animal or if they could be a predator for a species that has to many individuals, then I think they should be protected by humans. The slender glass lizard could be a food source for many animals, and some that are endangered. If there were more lizards, there would be more food for other animals that are endangered, raising the population.