WHEN IS A SNAKE NOT A SNAKE
HENRY COUNTY — Turning over a piece of metal decking along the edge of our wet meadow of canary grass down along the river, I discovered two "snakes". At first I was struck by the stripes but then by the shape of the head and next by how firm and slick the body felt.
Then things started getting really strange. Snakes have no eye lids, in fact they shed the skin off their eye balls right along with the skin off the rest of their body. But this snake had eye lids.
Snakes have no external ears, but this snake had barely visible ear openings.
So when is a snake not a snake? When it is a Glass Snake and then it is rightfully a legless lizard.
These two Glass Snakes were the first I have seen and the species is considered to be threatened in Iowa. The one I held made no attempt to bite and handling it gently I was fortunate that it's long tail did not break off in my hand. This tail shedding tendency, shared with some other lizards but not with snakes, along with the eyelids and ears are part of how the Glass Snake got the more proper, but less common name, of Glass Lizard - inspite of the fact as a lizard it has no legs.
I am happy to add the Glass Snake to the Central Newt and the Trumpeter Swan as threatened species that are benefitting from the wildlife habitat we have created.