At first, the team of herpetologists from University of Florida thought the curly-tailed Lizard was heavily pregnant and about to give birth. Little did they know the unusual discovery they were about to make under the CT scan: that it was a constipated lizard, and held a record-breaking amount of poop in an animal.
The researchers from the University were reportedly looking for reptile samples in Florida’s Cocoa-beach area when they stumbled upon the ‘deceptively chonky reptile.’
The lady curly-tail lizard in question was a resident at the vicinity of a beachside pizza shop in Florida. And consequently, she honed appetite for pizza grease and inadvertently sand, from the leftovers in the bin. She also didn’t compromise on her typical bug diet at all.
Constipated lizard in Florida made history
And all these led to a very unusual, and unfortunate result. She developed an unpassable blob of poop that was nearly 80% of her total body mass – the largest ever recorded faeces-to-body mass ratio of any animal ever, as Florida Museum writes.
Her body to faecal mass ratio put the Burmese Python to shame – the former record holder, now reportedly second to this rotund lizard.
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The Ph.D. research candidate Natalie Claunch who caught the lizard said she thought it was ready to lay eggs. But when they tried to feel the eggs, it felt like it “was full of Silly Putty.”
“I was blown away by how little room there was left for all the other organs,” Edward Stanley, director of Digital Discovery and Dissemination Laboratory told. “– if you look at the 3D model, it has only a tiny space leftover in its ribcage for the heart, lungs, and liver. It must have been a very uncomfortable situation for the poor lizard.”
The pear-shaped reptile although broke a record, it doesn’t bode well for any animal to break this record. She had to be humanely euthanized since the blob of poop was so big and depleted of nutrients, it couldn’t digest it.
Furthermore, the study note says the curly tail’s organs were visibly atrophied, and the poop mass-weighted 22 grams. Claunch told the reptile was starving from unable to digest the faecal matter.
Curly tailed Lizard like this specimen is not a native species of Florida and Claunch told the Inverse these are “bold and curious lizards.” They were introduced in Florida in the early 1940s to combat pet in sugarcane farms.
(Cover image courtesy of Florida Museum via Instagram)
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