The Mexican Beaded Lizard also known as the Scelidophysis mexicanus is an exotic pet. This lizard is native to the dry Sonoran Desert area and south through Mexico and Central America. When they are threatened, they shake their tails side to create the illusion that they are frightened. They will release a foul-smelling chemical when threatened, which scares off the predators that were killing them. This defensive behavior can often work against you if the prey perceives you as a threat.
The Mexican Beaded lizard is very small with an average length of between four and five inches and a tail length of only three inches. They have a head span of between six and nine inches. Beaded lizards generally live in thick oases, brushy meadows, coves, undergrowth along river banks and in sandy soils along coastal areas. They prefer dry wooded areas in the sub-tropical to arid regions of central and southern Mexico and southwestern United States. They are seldom seen in wet habitats.
The Mexican Beaded lizard is one of few reptiles that do not produce venom. Because their bite is quite painful few people attempt to handle these lizards. When captured, humans often are bit severely by these animals. Fortunately, humans are rarely killed by these animals since they rarely bite unless threatened, provoked, or attacked.
There are four subspecies of the Mexican Beaded lizard; namely: Horridulum tennis, Horridulum ericifolia, Horridulum lecithin, and Horridulum libellata. All of these are subspecies of the common ground lizard, Squilla pensive. It is believed that there are around fifteen to twenty subspecies in the wild. These lizards have different colored markings on their bodies depending on the species.
Each of these four subspecies of the Mexican Beaded lizard has been named for members of a family. For example, Horridulum tenensis is called Horridulum based upon the color of its head and body. Its scientific name is Odonata, based upon its tail. Odonata’s scientific name is also related to the word “odon”, which is how this particular animal was originally referred to. Based upon this information, the scientists named this subspecies as Odonacermatops vitticeps.
The lower jaw of these lizards is used to grasp food, while the upper jaw is used to bite and swallow. The Beaded lizard has two venomous snake coils located in its lower jaw, which is what acts as a venom delivery system. It is also said that these snakes are capable of extending their venom glands far into their back, which is useful when attempting to sting their victims. Overall, the snake coils are located behind the beaded lizard’s head.
These lizards usually live in grasslands and swamps, and can easily be found in the lowland areas between 30 and 500 meters elevation, along with thick cover of oak leaves and brush in their natural habitats. In southern Mexico and Central America, these lizards mostly occur in dry areas in mountains and lowland areas. They prefer rocky areas but can easily be found living in swamps, springs, and coves where they hunt prey such as moths, lizards, frogs, salamanders, snakes, birds, insects, and even various types of fish. They are also nocturnal animals, which mean they spend most of their time asleep. They are also said to be good climbers and efficient swimmers.
The scientific name of this Mexican beaded lizard is Lycoscelia columbines, also known as Microhylophaga bernso. This animal has two subspecies, each with their own unique characteristics. The subspecies which is found in the drier tropical forests have a green or brown body, while the other is found in the more humid and warmer regions. The latter have reddish colored heads, brownish upperparts, gray-black lower parts, a gray-black ring at its tail, and white belly button.