This was a surprising find under one of our reptile sampling squares – this lizard has two tails.
This is a female lizard (females more stripey, males more spotty) and at some point her longer tail has been lost and has regrown. If a predator catches a lizard by its tail, there are weak points between the vertebrae in its backbone enabling it to contract muscles and shed the tail.
The tail twitches for a while after it is shed to hopefully entice the predator away from the main bit of the remaining lizard. Within a month, the tail regrows although the regrown tail rarely matches the rest of the body in colour – in this instance it has regrown black. Also, the regrown tail now has cartilage in it rather than bone and that bit cannot be reshed, although the tail higher up that still has bone can be lost again.
So the female in this picture was probably born with a long tail and a stumpy extra tail and this apparently is not uncommon (I sent this photo to the Kent Reptile and Amphibian Group for their interest – and, actually, they weren’t particularly interested!) They can also sometimes have an additional limb or, very rarely, a second head.
I looked on the internet to see what a lizard with two heads might look like and I did find this one:
Not viviparous lizards but I’m sure thats the general idea. Should we ever find such a lizard here I will for sure let you know.