FOUND: A Three-Tailed Lizard - Atlas Obscura
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FOUND: A Three-Tailed Lizard

The lizard’s three tails (Photo: Daniel Jablonski

The lizard above was found ”basking on a rocky place” outside of a village in the southwestern part of Kosovo. It’s a blue-throated keeled lizard with a strange mutation: it has three tails of different sizes.

The lizard was found by Daniel Jablonski, a scientist at Comenius University, in Slovakia, and Daniel Koleska, of the Czech University of Life Sciences. They think that the lizard was most likely attacked, and lost its original tail. That’s a normal enough strategy for lizards trying to escape being eaten.

But in this case, it seems like the lizard’s vertebrae were crushed in such a way that the lizard regrew more than one tail, Koleska and Jablonski report in the journal Ecologica Montenegrina. The longest of the three tails measured about 1.2 inches; the shortest was about 0.4 inches.

The lizard was released back to its rocky place (Photo: Daniel Jablonski

This isn’t the first multi-tailed lizard that’s been found. It’s more common to find a lizard with two tails, but a three-tailed lizard is rare. There’s never been one recorded for this particular species before. It’s quite an accomplishment for this little guy, who not only escaped death but, in living, became a freak of nature.

Bonus finds: A whole bunch of new species in the Eastern Himalayasa species of mammal that survived whatever killed the dinosaurs

Every day, we highlight one newly lost or found object, curiosity or wonder. Discover something unusual or amazing? Tell us about it! Send your finds to sarah.laskow@atlasobscura.com.