A Legless lizard belongs to a group of several lizards which have independently lost their limbs due to the point of being no use. Afar, they resemble a snakelike appearance, but they can be distinguished through these characteristics:
- Legless lizards possess eyelids, snakes do not.
- External ear openings are visible, which snakes don't have.
- They lack broad belly scales; snakes have.
- Their tongues are notched and generally thicker. They are less forked than of the snake's.
- The jaws of the legless lizards are not flexible and only eat smaller prey like snails, grasshoppers, spiders, beetles, and anything smaller than their heads.
- Legless lizards use their sides to move, while snakes can use both its belly as well as their sides. Lizards are unable to move in flat surfaces due to its inability to expand their belly scales. Therefore, most of the snakes can move across paved roads, while the legless lizards fall short of their 8-9 year survival lifespan since they cannot move.
- They have a very long tail, while snakes only have long bodies and short tails.
Like most lizards, the legless ones detach their tails when they need to or when they are threatened. Their main defense mechanism is to separate their body from their tail. When the tail is left, it still wriggles to distract the enemy. It then breaks and the tail shatters like a glass, thus, legless lizards are also known as "Glass lizards."
Scientists have discovered a 95-million year old fossil in 2007 that may trace the similar ancestry between them. It had small, non-functional front limbs, and normal functioning hind legs, which made it considerably to be their closest relative.
If a person comes across a long, slithering, limbless creature, he should be able to tell the difference between snakes and legless lizards.