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Why Do Lizards Lose Their Tails?
Lizards lose their tails to distract would-be predators.
Credit: Tim Higham

Lizards lose their tails to throw off predators.

Even after a tail detaches, nervous spasms make a newly dropped lizard tail wag around as if it's alive. The headless appendage startles predators and gives tailless lizards a few precious moments to escape, relatively unharmed.

The trauma jumpstarts cells to build a new tail out of cartilage. Original tails are made of bony vertebrae.

Regeneration can use up a lot of energy, and as lizards get older their tails actually become less colorful, and therefore less attractive to predators.

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