Florida lizard sets depressing record for constipation in a live animal

This unfortunate lizard set a record for constipation in a living animal.

Florida Museum/Edward Stanley

Nature is awesome. Nature is metal. And sometimes nature is weird with a sad side.

Researchers from the University of Florida and the Florida Museum have found a record lizard in Cocoa Beach. The northern curly-tailed lizard was feeding near a grease trap in a pizzeria.

PhD from the University of Florida. Student and herpetologist Natalie Claunch said the lizard was “effectively starving”.

Nathalie Claunch

“Insect bites, a anole and the greasy sand congealed into an impassable globe of poop representing almost 80% of the animal’s total body mass – the largest known ratio of fecal mass to body mass recorded in a living animal,” said said the Florida Museum in a sobering statement this week.

At first, scientists thought the lizard was pregnant, but the body did not feel well. A CT scan revealed the terrible truth. The lizard was humanely euthanized and researchers created a 3D model of its body for study.

“I was blown away by how little space was left for all the other organs – if you look at the 3D model, there is only a very small space left in his rib cage for the heart, lungs and liver. “said Edward Stanley. from the Florida Museum.

The northern curly-tailed lizard is an invasive species in Florida. He is known for his indiscriminate eating. “They’re like sparrows or gulls in a fry stand, without the chirping or swooping,” said Natalie Claunch, a doctoral student at the University of Florida who studies invasive species.

Claunch is the lead author of a note on the lizard published in Herpetological Review (PDF). Disclaimer: There are intense images of animals in this journal excerpt, so proceed with caution.

The lizard’s situation was both unfortunate and fascinating. “It just goes to show that you never know what you’ll find when you least expect it,” Claunch said.

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