No, seriously, it's a legless lizard, not a worm or a snake

August 4, 2017, 8:22 a.m.
The Mexican mole lizard, also known as Bipes biporus, crawling along a rock
Photo: Sara Ruane/Twitter

Meet the Mexican mole lizard. Your eyes are not deceiving you. You did read "lizard," and, yes, this lizard does not have legs. It does have two tiny, T. rex.-esque arms near its head.

Really. It's not a snake or a worm.

The Mexican mole lizard is a rare sight, but Rugters professor Sara Ruane, working in Baja, California, lucked out in June and tweeted a photo of this bizarre-looking creature.

Talking to Live Science, Ruane said she wasn't entirely sure it was a Mexican mole lizard at all since it's "some sort of mythical thing to find" given its preference for underground living. But upon closer inspection, it was clearly a Bipes biporus.

The lizard uses its tiny arms for burrowing underground, and so it creates perfect little tunnels for itself as it travels. Sadly, those tunnels are also great for small snakes to sneak up and take a bite. According to Live Science, Mexican mole lizards can actually self-amputate their tails at will, thus escaping the snake and plugging the hole.

There are others like this creepy-crawly pink critter, and they're called amphisbaenians. There are roughly 200 species of these "worm lizards" in existence. All but three of them are limbless, so while they may look like earthworms or snakes, in regards to evolution, scientists say they have more in common with lizards.

If you're interested in seeing the Mexican mole lizard as it travels, Ruane also tweeted a video of it crawling — or is that slithering? — across a rock.

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