The animal was hunting insects and was lured by a slice of pizza in a parking lot. A CT scan revealed a huge digestive bolus in its intestine, which was equivalent to 78.5% of its weight
A northern curly-tailed lizard (Leiocephalus carinatus) had to be euthanized after having the “worst constipation” ever recorded in the animal world. The bizarre story took place near a pizza restaurant in Florida, in the United States, and was shared by a group of biologists in the April issue of the scientific journal Herpetological Review.
“When we caught it, we just assumed the animal was ready to lay eggs,” said Natalie Claunch, co-author of the research, in a statement. “But when we went to feel for eggs, it just felt like it was full of Silly Putty.”
The team decided to perform a CT scan on the animal and were able to observe the enormous digestive bolus, which weighed 22 grams – equivalent to 78.5% of the lizard’s total weight. But the discoveries didn’t stop there. When analyzing the animal’s feces, biologists discovered that its diet was composed of insects, sand and… pizza!
The previous “constipation record” belonged to a Burmese python, with a digestive bolus that constituted 13% of its body mass. According to Claunch, such events are rare in the animal world: if the lizard had been in the wild, it probably would have already been eaten by another animal.
Additionally, she believes that in this particular situation, the consumption of leftover pizza was a determining factor for the worsening of the condition. According to the specialists, the lizard was starving for not being able to digest the food and its internal organs had atrophied. “I was blown away by how little room there was left for all the other organs – if you look at the 3D model, it has only a tiny space left over in its ribcage for the heart, lungs and liver,” said study co-author Edward Stanley.
Taking all this into account, the specialists considered that the best thing to do was to sacrifice the animal to prevent it from suffering further. “It must have been a very uncomfortable situation for the poor lizard,” said Stanley.