This tricky creature isn’t a snake — or a worm, wildlife officials say. What is it?

Maddie Capron
·2 min read

A small creature with no legs can be found slithering through inches of soil or cover.

It’s not a snake or a worm, wildlife officials said, and it could be deceiving people in California with its looks.

Looks can be deceiving! At first glance, this reptile may look like a snake, but it's actually a lizard - a California...

Posted by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday, April 6, 2021

“Looks can be deceiving,” the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said April 6 on Facebook. “At first glance, this reptile may look like a snake, but it’s actually a lizard - a California legless lizard to be exact!”

The creature looks nearly identical to a snake, but it can do two things a snake can’t: blink and detach its tail.

The California legless lizard has moveable eyelids that give them the ability to blink, wildlife officials said. Snakes don’t have eyelids, according to the Los Padres Forest Watch.

“The California legless lizard can purposely detach the end of its tail to trick predators, a skill your average snake does not possess,” Forest Watch officials said.

The lizards are about 4 to 7 inches long and have shiny scales, Los Padres Forest Watch officials said on their website. They can be metallic silver, beige, brown or black.

California legless lizards can be found in a large part of the state. The U.S. Forest Service said the lizards can be found from Antioch to Baja California, Mexico, in elevations up to 6,000 feet.

Wildlife officials also said the legless lizards can be found at the Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge in California, which stretches 367 acres along the Central Coast.

Even though it can be found in a large area, some people had never heard of the creature before the Fish and Wildlife Service posted about it.

“Interesting creature,” one person on Facebook said. “It REALLY looks like a snake, skinny one, or an earthworm. First I’ve heard of a legless lizard.”

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