Lizard tips the scales in its favor as Latvia's animal of the year 2023

Take note – story published 1 year ago

With drumrolls and trumpets, we are thrilled to announce the next winner in the series of nature phenomena awards – one of the most important ones! – the animal of the year 2023, as chosen by the Latvian National Museum of Natural History!

And the coveted title, awarded for the 23th year in a row, goes to... the lizard!

Latvia has two species of lizards with legs, and one without. The legless lizard, however, has apparently not made itself worthy of the title, perhaps due to its excessively snakey appearance. 

The title has been awarded to both legged lizzies, namely, the viviparous lizard or common lizard, (Zootoca vivipara), as well as the sand lizard (Lacerta agilis). 

Both these lizards are scaly, both eat invertebrates (mostly bugs and spiders), and both can drop their tails in case of emergency.

You may skink the two lizards look alike, but taking a more de-tailed look, they can be distinguished by the pattern of patches on their backs, as well as the arrangement of scales forward from the opening of the ear. The common lizard has one larger scale, and the sand lizard has several smaller ones.

In choosing the annual animal, the Museum not only provides information on biodiversity in Latvia, but also emphasizes the importance of building the museum's stock. One of the functions of the museum is the building of collections of the zoo, providing long-term information on Latvian and global animal species.  Two new lizard models will be exhibited in the museum as of January 11 for the annual animal 2023. 

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