Lizards Lapbook

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Page 1: Lizards Lapbook Preview

Lizards Lapbook

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Regeneration - growth anew of lost tissue or destroyed parts or organs

Oviparous - egg laying Herpetologist - A zoologist who studies reptiles and amphibians Scale - A flattened rigid plate forming part of the body covering of

many animals Cold-blooded- animals who have a body temperature not regulated

by the body and close to that of the environment Arboreal- living in or often found in trees Aquatic - Operating or living or growing in water Exothermic - having body temperature that varies with the

environment Endothermic - having body temperature that remains constant Metamorphosis - The marked and rapid transformation of a larva into

an adult that occurs in some animals Incomplete metamorphosis - The development of a nymph into the

imago which in many respects resembles the former; characteristic of more primitive insect orders, such as Heteroptera

(true bugs), Orthoptera (locusts, grasshoppers), and Blatterria (roaches). Vernal - occurring in spring Chromatophores - Plastid containing pigments other than chlorophyll

usually yellow or orange carotenoids Herpetofauna - *list of the amphibians and reptiles in any given area.* Costal Groves - shoreline swamps containing many trees.

Classification Information (for lizards in general) Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Reptilia (Sauropsidia) Order: Squamata

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What is a Lizard? Lizards are living creatures. We know this because they pass the 7 things test - they eat, breathe, move, grow, reproduce, respond to stimuli, and excrete waste. They are creatures from the Animal Kingdom and the phylum of Chordata, which means they are vertebrates having a backbone. A lizard is a reptile; it is a relative of snakes, alligators, crocodiles, tortoises, and turtles. Lizards and all other reptiles are cold-blooded meaning that they can’t regulate their body temperature internally and completely dependent on external forces for heat. Although they have an average body temperature that is about 42 degrees Fahrenheit they may be much colder in the winter and warmer in the summer lying on a hot rock in the sun. Lizards have a smooth, shiny appearance so they sometimes can appear slimy or slippery, but their hairless skin is actually very dry due to a lack of pores to excrete water and oils. They have smooth scales that help them to keep moist even in a hot biome like deserts. Other characteristics of reptiles include breathing with lungs, and they are oviparous (most lay eggs, but not all do).

Methods of Defense

Animals are equipped with different methods to defend and protect themselves. Lizards are no exception, and use these various methods:

Camouflage Sharp spines that hurt a predator's mouth Slippery scales make them hard to grip Use their tales to beat off attackers Skinks and geckos can lose their tails and escape with their lives

Families of Lizards

There are about 40 Families of Lizards! We will learn about six groups including iguanas (family Iguanaidae), chameleons (family Chamaeleonidae), geckos (family Gekkonidae), Gila Monsters (family Helodermatidae), monitors (families Lanthanotidae and Varanidae), and skinks (family Scincidae).

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Iguanas –

The Green Iguana is a species of lizard from the family Iguanidae that in the wild lives in the branches of trees of central and South America. Although you will find colonies of them in the

United States in Florida, Hawaii and Texas these are animals who have either escaped from owners or are the descendants of those who have escaped their owners. They grow to a length

between 4 feet and 6 feet and can weigh up to 20 pounds. They possess rows of spikes down their backs and tails to help defend from predators. They can use their tail like a whip and d

eliver a painful blow in self-defense! This tail when grabbed can break off allowing the Iguana to escape harm and regenerate afterward. Most Iguanas are herbivores meaning that they eat

vegetation rather than meat although a few species eat birds and fish.

Chameleons –

Chameleons are members of the lizard family called Chamaelontidae. They are mostly found in Africa and Madagascar, but sometimes also in Europe and Asia. Chameleons have very short necks, which makes it impossible for them to turn their heads. To compensate for this, they have very large eyes that can move independently of each other. The chameleon’s main food is insects. An interesting characteristic of the chameleon is that it has layers of pigmented cells that can be pushed towards the surface of the skin to change its colors. The chameleon does not change colors to camouflage themselves, instead, they change in response to light, temperature, and mood.

Geckos -

Gecko's are found in the wild only in warm climates, and are classified in the Family of Gekkonidae with numerous subfamilies. Some species even are known to share habitats with a human, which is not discouraged because of the geckos’ diet of insect pests. Scientist have been studying

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the design of the gecko's feet because they cling to nearly any surface. The Bible at Proverbs 30:28 even mentions the gecko's ability to hang on with its hand like feet. The specialized toe pad enables them to walk on walls and even ceilings with ease.


The skink family, Scincidae, make up the largest family of lizards. They are found all over the world with the exception of the polar regions. They tend to be gray or brown (which provides good camouflage), and they range from 1-26 inches in length. Like many lizards, skinks have the ability to leave a tail behind while they escape from a predator, and the tail will grow back. Skinks prey on insects and spiders. Most skinks lay eggs, but some give birth to live young. Your student may want to research the popular Blue-tongued Skink from Australia.


Monitors belong to the Varanidae family; they are all lizards who live in tropical regions including Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands. These lizards are active and can lash out with their tails if they are provoked; they also attack by biting-- and once they bite, it is very difficult to get them to release. Different species of monitors eat different things, but they are carnivorous and you might find grasshopperes, bettles, crocodile and bird eggs, shrews, squirrels, crabs, giant land snails, or fish on the menu. Some are aquatic (and very good swimmers), and some are agile climbers, but they spend most of their time on land. Monitors vary in size from very small (less than a foot in length) to huge (364 pounds!).

Gila Monsters-

You probably wouldn't want a Gila Monster for a pet! It has a row of glands in its lower jaw that produce venom. When this lizard bites, it grips for several seconds and injects poison into its victim. Although the bite hurts, it rarely causes a human to die. It does give a warning first-- it will open its mouth wide and hiss-- this tells predators to back off! Gila monsters are carnivores and feast on birds' eggs, baby birds, rodents, frogs, lizards,

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insects, centipedes, and worms; they are also known to eat carrion (dead animals). When they eat, they don't chew; they just gulp their food down whole (with the exception of eggs-- they break them open). Gila monsters are classified in the Helodermatidae Family. It is named for the Gila River in Arizona and it is the largest lizard in the United States. You can find Gila monsters in desert and semidesert areas; just look for lizards covered with beadlike scales of black and pink or yellow.

Unique Lizards

Komodo Dragons -

Komodo dragons are in the monitor family. Like most lizards, Komodo Dragons are oviparous, laying their eggs in caves. The mother protects her eggs for three months until they hatch. Once they hatch the babies are abandoned by their mother and they run up trees to prevent becoming her breakfast and food to other large Komodo Dragons! The babies spend their first year as arboreal lizards then start to come down to eat with the adults when they are large enough to defend themselves. A Komodo Dragon is an adult at about 6 years old and the cycle begins again. As Adults they may weigh as much as your mom and dad together, about 350 pounds, and be as long as 10 feet! That’s about as long as your car! Komodo Dragons hunt similar to snakes in that they use their forked tongue to smell prey up to five miles away. After catching its prey at speeds of up to 20 KM per hour each Dragon eats about 80% of its own body weight at one time. Animals like deer, monkeys, and goats can be swallowed whole, although it would take about a week to digest such a meal.

The Jaragua Lizard-

Now that we've talked about the largest lizard, the Komodo dragon, let's turn to the smallest lizard! The Jaragua lizard was discovered in 2001 on the tiny Caribbean island of Beata, off the coast of the Dominican Republic. A female adult Jaragua lizard can fit curled up on a dime! (Picture of one on a dime)

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The Basilisk Lizard-

The basilisk lizard, also known as the Jesus lizard, is a small lizard that seems to defy the laws of physics. This small lizard can walk on water (hence, it's nickname) at speeds up to 7 mph. Scientists are still studying this unique lizard, trying to determine just how it can stay on top of the water. The basilisk belong to the lizard family Iguanidae. Basilisks live in the understory trees and shrubs of rain forests from southern Mexico to Ecuador. They are excellent swimmers and divers, so they are usually found near water. They eat plants, fruit, insects, and small animals. Another neat fact about the basilisk is that they tend to sleep at the very end of the branches of the tree overtop of a pond or lake, that way if a predator comes along and shakes the branches, the basilisk will fall off into lake and escape.

Glass Lizards-

The unique feature of glass lizards is that they have no legs! They are often called glass snakes, since they look like snakes. They get the "glass" part of their name, because as a defense mechanism, they will shed their tail, which then breaks into several pieces. (Have you ever dropped a glass and it broke into lots of pieces?) Although they look very similar to snakes, they do have ear openings, movable eyelids, and lose part of their tail in self-defense, just like their lizard cousins. A new species of legless lizards was just discovered in April of 2008 in Brazil.

The Frilled Lizard-

The frilled lizard lives mostly in the trees of the forest and woodland area of northern Australia. They are mostly carnivorous, usually feeding on ants, spiders, termites, and small mammals and lizards. When the frilled lizard is threatened, it will open its mouth and hiss loudly and ruffle out a red and orange neck frill that makes it look fierce. If this fails to send its opponent running, the frilled lizard turns tail and runs on its two hind legs until it reaches the safety of a tree.

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Lizard Senses

Sight— Many lizards can see in color; this helps lizards differentiate between males and females. It also helps them use their colorful body parts to communicate with each other.

Most lizards have eyelids that clean and protect their eyes when they blink. However, some lizards (including geckos), can't blink! These types of lizards have a clear membrane (or shield) that protects their eyes from bright sunlight and dirt.

Smell and Taste— Lizards use their tongues to smell things! It sticks its tongue into the air and catches scent particles, then it pulls them back in to its mouth and places them on the roof of its mouth on special sensory cells. The lizard uses these scent clues to find food, to find a mate, or to detect enemies.

Hearing— Lizards don’t have ear flaps like you do. Instead of outer ears, lizards have ear openings that catch sounds. Their eardrums can be located just below the surface of their skin. They can't hear as well as humans, but they do hear better than snakes.

Where Can You Find Lizards?

Lizards are found on every continent except Antarctica, which is too cold for them to survive. Review the seven continents with your child – Africa, Asia, Australia, Antarctica, North America, South America, and Europe.

Most lizards can swim (they are aquatic or semi-aquatic). A few species of lizards such as the giant sea iguana spend most of their lives in or around water, but commonly lizards try to avoid it because they are not designed to live in wet climates.

Lizard Diets

Lizards eat invertebrates like worms, crayfish, spiders and insects or plants like algae and various leaves. Occasionally the larger species such as the Komodo Dragon will eat larger prey.

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Predators of the Lizard

Predators and threats to the lizard include birds, fish, snakes, mammals and even some other lizards. Aboriginal peoples of many lands include lizards in their diet. Habitat destruction is another danger lizards face from humans.


The majority of lizards are oviparous (Gecko, Monitor) which means that they lay eggs and may even abandon the eggs after they have laid them. There are a few such as some species of skinks that are viviparous meaning they have some sort of placenta in their bodies and give birth to live babies.

Shedding Skin

You already know that lizards are covered in dry, scally skin, but did you know that their skin doesn't grow with their bodies? As they grow, lizards shed (or molt); their skin comes off in large flakes to make way for the new skin growth that is emerging.

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Cut out lizard shapes. Write the definition on the back or cut

and paste the definition to the back. Store in new w

ords pocket. If you w

ant to add more w

ords, please see blank vo-cabulary lizard file.

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Cut both pockets out. Fold back flap up and wrap side flaps around the back and glue down. Glue the back of your pocket into your lapbook.

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Cut L-shape out as ONE piece. Fold the top of the L shape down. Fold the right rectangle in over the existing flap. On the last page, write the different characteristics of reptiles.

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Cut out on solid lines. Valley fold on dotted lines. Cut out and glue title graphics to cover.


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Where Can You Find Lizards?

Lizards are found on every continent except

Antarctica, which is too cold for them to

survive. Review the seven continents with your

child – Africa, Asia, Australia, Antarctica, North

America, South America, and Europe. Color in

the continents where lizards can be found on

World Map Shutterfold.

Most lizards can swim. A few species of

lizards such as the giant sea iguana spend

most of their lives in or around water, but

commonly lizards try to avoid it because they

are not designed to live in wet climates.

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Cut shapes apart. Add information (use one piece of each book you read). Stack together with cover on top and use a brass fastener to secure book.

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Cut book out on solid lines; fold on dotted lines.

In �Long Live Lizards� write about the lifespan of a lizard. story

Cut pocket out. Fold back flap up and wrap side flaps around the back and glue down.

Glue the back of your pocket into your lapbook.

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Cut out book as one piece. Fold in half on the black line. Cut on the dotted lines to form three flaps.

Lizards Salamanders


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Cut on solid black lines. Stack book together.

Your student will have six tabs to flip through

(two at the top, two on the side, and two on the


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ila Mon


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Directions: Cut book(s) out. Fold matchbook style. In �Long Live Lizards� write about the lifespan of a lizard�s life. In defenses, write the five different defenses that lizards use against their predators.

Long Live Lizards!

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Cut out book as one piece. Fold left side in. Fold right side in. Open book. Cut on dotted line to form four flaps. Refold book.



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Cut books out on solid lines; fold on dotted lines. Write one favorite lizard fact inside each book.

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Cut out each shape (cut along the dark black lines; do not cut any gray lines). Fold each book in half on the gray line (three small books and one large book). Glue the back sides of the small books into the inside of your large book.

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There be Dragons!There be Dragons!There be Dragons!There be Dragons!

Where do Komodo

dragons live? WhatdoKomodo


Why do their babies


What do Komodo

dragons look like?Cut out book. Fold each triangle flap under. Fold book in half on dotted line. When you open the book, there should be four flaps to life and record information.

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Cut out shapes on solid black lines. Fold on dotted lines like an accordion (back and forth, back and forth).

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Cut on solid black lines. Use each piece to record why people keep lizards as pets. Stack together with cover on top and

staple where indicated.

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