lizbrownlee – poet

Poems, animal info, extraordinary women, my books!

X is for Xenosaurus grandis


Knob-scaled lizard (Xenosaurus grandis), photographed by and with permission of  Richard Sage, University of California.


The knob-scaled lizard (Xenosaurus grandis) is a lizard that lives in tropical rainforests in Mexico and Guatemala.

It is active in the day, and skulks alone inside rock crevices in cliff faces – it can also be found in holes in limestone, under volcanic boulders, and if no other suitable habitat is available, inside hollow logs.

It has a flattened head and body enabling it to get into narrow spaces, and spends virtually its whole life living inside the same cracks and crevices.

It has a forked tongue and small fang-like teeth and is very aggressive. Its main diet consists of insects with some small vertebrates that it surprises when they come into the rocks. It will also fight with other knob-scaled lizards to maintain its territory.

It may detect prey using its forked tongue to ‘taste’ the chemicals they give off, but tests have not completely proven this.

These lizards are classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species because of habitat destruction, fragmentation and decreasing population size. Climate change in their area is also causing greater mortality rates as they are very sensitive to temperature rises.



Image © Richard Sage as above.

Poem © Liz Brownlee.


Cooper, W. E., J. A. Lemos-Espinal et al. (1998). ‘Presence and effect of defensiveness or context on detectability of prey chemical discrimination in the lizard Xenosaurus platyceps.” Herpetologica 54 (3): 409-413

J. Gastón Zamora-Abrego, J.Jaime Zúñiga-Vega, Adrián Nieto-Montes de Oca “Variation in Reproductive Traits within the Lizard Genus Xenosaurus”. Journal of Herpetology, 41 (4):630-637.2007 DOI: URL:


If you would like to blog-hop to the next A-Z Challenge blog, please click here.

If you’d like to read about or buy my book, Animal Magic, full of animal poems and fascinating facts, click here.


  1. Very funny Liz x


    • Haven’t you got a long journey tomorrow? Shouldn’t you be in bed? Looking forward to seeing you! xx


  2. Thanks for stopping in at my A-Z blog Liz. Thought I would check out what you have been up to 🙂 Love the poem and what a fantastic X! I’ll probably come back when I have more time and look through some of the other poems, but off to London tomorrow for a few days.
    Jude xx


  3. Some crazy looking digits on that thing. I guess it’s to help it cling to those boulders. It looks like a miniature dinosaur, especially around the head. Off to read K now because I see it stands for Komodo Dragon, which I love reading about.


    • It does have quite long claws…! Thank you for visiting!


  4. I love that your posts are on animals. Although I would not love coming face-to-face with this one. 😛


  5. Liz

    A funny poem for a change – love it! Perhaps the Xnosaurus is ‘vulnerable’ because it never gets out of its crevice to meet other xenosauri?


  6. I have seen this lizard in documentaries. Great poem and love how you placed your title in the poem!


  7. Jaime Zúñiga-Vega

    Dear Liz:
    Your blog is beautiful! Thank you for writing about Xenosaurus. I am one of the authors of the scientific papers that you cite. I have worked with these lizards for over 13 years. I am a Mexican scientist. Say hello to Lola, she is a beautiful dog!


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