Constipated lizard found with poop that makes up 80 PERCENT of its body weight thanks to the fatty diet
A bloated and stuffed lizard that lived near a pizzeria is found with poop that makes up 80 PERCENT of its body weight thanks to the fatty diet
- In Florida, a lizard with a belly the size of a golf ball was discovered
- It was eating insects covered in grease-soaked sand at a pizzeria
- The lizard was clogged with 22 grams of poop in its stomach
- The bolus to body ratio is more than six times greater than the record
A diet of fat led to the demise of a Florida curly-tailed lizard.
Researchers discovered the pot-bellied creature near a Cocoa Beach pizzeria with a record-breaking case of constipation – an insurmountable amount of stool that made up 80 percent of its body.
The female creature’s two-centimeter-long belly was filled with 22 grams of poop and swollen to the size of a golf ball.
The bolus to body ratio was more than six times greater than the previous record for a Burmese python.
The lizard ate insects covered in greasy sand that solidifies in its body and had to be euthanized because it was unable to digest nutrients.
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Researchers discovered the pot-bellied creature near a Cocoa Beach pizzeria with a record-breaking case of constipation – an unsurpassed amount of stool that made up 80 percent of its body
Natalie Claunch, a Ph.D. University of Florida School of Natural Resources and Environment candidate, said, “When we caught it, we just assumed the animal was ready to lay eggs.”
“But when we went looking for eggs, it just felt like it was full of Silly Putty.”
When Claunch and her colleague, Edward Stanley, director of the Florida Museum’s Digital Discovery and Dissemination Laboratory, scanned the lizard, they found the huge fecal bolus in his enlarged stomach.
While dining on insects outside the pizzeria, the lizard also picked up particles of greasy-soaked sand.
The female creature’s two-centimeter-long belly was filled with 22 grams of poop and swollen to the size of a golf ball
However, experts say that the clump of feces has built up over time and has become too large to pass through the creature.
And the longer the lizard was constipated, the greater the mass of feces.
Stanley said, “I was blown away by how little space there was for all the other organs – when you look at the 3D model, it only has a small space left in its rib cage for the heart, lungs and liver.”
When the team found the pot-bellied creature, they determined it was starving because it was unable to digest the nutrient-depleted bolus and euthanize the human.
The curly-tailed lizard is native to the Caribbean and is found in the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, and Cuba.
They were introduced in Florida in the early 1940s to control sugar cane pests.
Claunch said the diet of the species, which includes everything from pieces of fish to cheese and crackers, would likely put it at a higher risk of faecal impaction.
The lizard ate insects covered in greasy sand that solidifies in its body and had to be euthanized because it was unable to digest nutrients
“They’re like sparrows or gulls by a box, without the chirping or booming,” said Claunch.
She noted that these creatures provide an important case study on how invasive populations can successfully settle in Florida.
“New populations are still being reported and discovered – these lizards can hitchhike in cars, vans, or boats, so they end up in many unrelated places,” Claunch said.
“ We have so many invasive lizards in Florida that funding and human resources usually focus on high-priority species that pose a direct threat to native endangered or threatened species, or to infrastructure, but the successful distribution of the curly lizards makes it an interesting case. ‘
Claunch said that an example of faecal impaction is this extreme a rare find in wild lizards, likely because they typically eat only small, reasonable amounts of sand or soil when catching prey, and slow animals become easy targets for predators.
“We might not have noticed the fecal boluses we found in some curly lizards if we hadn’t captured and examined hundreds for a physiological project,” she said.
“It just goes to show that you never know what you’ll find when you least expect it.”