Big South Fork
National River & Recreation Area KY,TN
The eastern slender glass lizard, Ophisaurus attenuatus longicaudus, is a legless lizard that reaches the northern part of its range in the Big South Fork area. It extends a little farther north in Mammoth Cave region of west-central Kentucky. Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Biologist, Douglas E. Stephens (1985) reported several for McCreary County but listed none for the BSFNRRA. This species is listed as "deemed in need of management" in Tennessee and "threatened" in Kentucky. A recent inventory of reptiles and amphibians of Big South Fork NRRA (Stephens 2008) located only one individual of this species in the park. The large female was held in captivity for photographing then returned to the site and released. Glass lizards are burrowers and need sandy soils. They tend to occur in open areas, such as fields, open woods and powerline right-of-ways. Their population seems to flourish in areas that are maintained by periodic prescribed fire. The absence of fire has resulted in population declines in many areas. An increased focus on prescribed burning in the BSFNRRA will increase populations of this species and other that require this type of habitat.