Legless lizard hatches at museum in Dubuque

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - There's a new slithery specimen at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque, but it's not the animal you might think it is.

The newest addition to the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque living collections is a baby Sheltopusik, or Russian legless lizard. (Charlie Grant/KCRG)

The newest addition to the museum's living collections is a baby Sheltopusik, or Russian legless lizard.

While it might look like a snake, it's an entirely different animal. Sheltopusiks have eyelids, ears and a connecting jaw unlike snakes.
Little is known about the breeding habits of this animal, which makes the new hatchling so special.

Curator of Living Collections, Abby Urban, says they hope to share what they learned about the breeding process with other organizations.

Urban said, "Within the zoo and aquarium community and even the private sector, we're hoping that the information that we gained from breeding this animal, what temperatures we housed it at, how we were able to actually breed the species can be used in the future."

The species was last on display in the museum in 2016. Urban says the museum hopes to exhibit the animal again sometime soon.