Known for their beautiful patterns, high intelligence, and fantastic diversity, lizards are some of the coolest reptiles on the planet.
But, how much do you really know about these fantastic creatures?
Whether you’re a newcomer to the world of lizards or you’re a dedicated herpetologist, we’ve put together this complete guide to all the types of lizards to help you learn more about these amazing animals.
Up next, we’ll introduce you to the 25 most fascinating types of lizards in the world. Then, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about how lizards are classified. To wrap things up, we’ll even offer up some sweet fun facts so you can impress your friends with all your new lizard knowledge.
Let’s get to it!
25 Fascinating Types of Lizards
With some 6,000 different species of lizards in the world, we couldn’t possibly talk about all of them. So, we’ve picked out 25 of our all-time favorite lizard species for you to check out and enjoy.
Without further ado, here are the 25 coolest types of lizards in the world that you ought to know:
1. Thorny Dragon (Moloch horridus)
Also known as the mountain devil or the thorny devil, the thorny dragon is a fairly large lizard that’s found throughout central and western Australia. It’s known for its characteristic spiky scales and scary name, but it’s actually a very slow-moving lizard that wanders the Outback eating ants.
These funky lizards are active during the daytime, which is pretty impressive considering the heat of the Australian Outback. They have a unique adaptation that allows them to soak up water through their skin, which helps them survive in their extremely arid environment.
Oh, and the thorny dragon can live to be about 20 years old, even in the wild. They are actually naturally-well protected from predators, but their limited diet of ants makes them particularly susceptible to habitat loss.
2. Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis)
The largest lizard in the world, the infamous Komodo dragon is one species you won’t want to mess with. While most scary-looking lizards won’t hurt you and don’t want anything to do with humans, the Komodo dragon is a notable exception.
In fact, these massive lizards, which can weigh up to 154 lbs (70 kg) and reach a length of up to 10.3 feet (3.1 m), are one of the few lizards in the world that have a venomous bite. They can also run terrifyingly fast, reaching speeds of up to 13 mph (20 km/h).
The good news? They’re only found on a few islands in Indonesia. However, they are considered vulnerable due to habitat loss and human encroachment.
3. Gila Monster (Heloderma suspectum)
Another venomous lizard, the Gila monster is one of the most infamous species in the reptile world. It boasts a characteristic black and orange scale pattern and a hefty body that can grow to be up to 21.5 inches (55 cm) long.
However, while the Gila monster has been known to bite humans, its bite is rarely fatal. In fact, despite its venomous nature, Gila monsters usually only use their deadly bite on their prey, so we humans don’t have much to worry about.
You’ll most commonly find the Gila monster in desert areas of the southwestern United States and in northern Mexico. But, they spend a whole lot of their time burrowing underground to stay warm at night and during the winter months.
- Lavishly illustrated overview of the world's lizards
- In-depth introduction covering the evolution, anatomy, and lifestyle of lizards
- Authoritative, taxonomically detailed, profiles of species from every family, accompanied by stunning color photographs
- 80+ lizard families and subfamilies, exploration of lizard biology, behavior, habits, and distribution
- Written by Mark O’Shea, a professor of herpetology at the University of Wolverhampton and a renowned expert in the field.
4. Jackson’s Chameleon (Trioceros jacksonii)
One of the most recognizable chameleons in the world, the Jackson’s chameleon is native to the forests of East Africa, but it has since been introduced to California, Hawaii, and Florida.
The Jackson’s chameleon is known for its 3 horns, rare in animals with horns, which make it look sort of like a Triceratops dinosaur. It normally has a bright green color, but it can change color based on the environmental temperature and its mood.
These chameleons usually eat insects, but they’ve also been known to eat small birds and even other lizards. In places where they’ve been introduced, however, the Jackson’s chameleon has caused a number of problems, by decimating local invertebrate species.
5. Satanic Leaf-Tailed Gecko (Uroplatus phantasticus)
The satanic leaf-tailed gecko might have a pretty terrifying name, but we promise—it’s not as scary as it sounds.
These geckos are found in eastern Madagascar where they like to hang out in the rainforest. But, at just 2.5 inches (6.4 cm) in length, it’s far from terrifying in real life. However, these critters have a fairly unusual appearance with a brownish coloration and a tail that looks surprisingly like a leaf (hence the name).
In its native habitat, the satanic leaf-tailed gecko isn’t considered to be threatened, which is good news for it as a species. That being said, it is fairly popular as a pet, but its unique care requirements make it appropriate only for advanced reptile caregivers.
6. Tokay Gecko (Gekko gecko)
One of the largest geckos in the world, the tokay gecko can reach about 16 inches (40 cm) long in its native habitat around southern and eastern Asia. Tokay geckos can have either red-spotted or black-spotted colorations, though you’re more likely to find the black-spotted variety in Vietnam and mainland China.
These geckos have a unique communication system that’s quite vocal. Although they’re normally solitary, you might hear them calling out to potential mates during the breeding season.
However, as the tokay gecko is nocturnal, you’ll be hard-pressed to find them in the wild. If you do get a chance to see one in the wild, consider yourself lucky. You’ll probably see them gripping onto a tree or rock with their impressive grip force, which can support up to 450 lbs (204 kg)!
7. Argentine Black and White Tegu (Salvator merianae)
Found throughout Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and parts of Brazil, the Argentine black and white tegu is a fairly large lizard that can reach lengths of up to 4 feet (1.2 m) long. It’s fairly easy to identify thanks to its distinctive black and white bands along its tail. However, young tegus tend to have a somewhat green head that fades over time.
In their normal habitat, tegus tend to eat fruits, vegetables, and animal eggs. However, they’re also known to eat small lizards and even rodents.
While the tegu is native to South America, though, it was introduced to Florida in the United States, likely as the result of some escaped pets.
In Florida, the tegu has been quite problematic as an invasive species. It’s known to wander around the Florida Everglades where it can eat the young of or disturb the habitat of many sensitive species, such as sea turtles, birds, and even crocodiles!
8. Galápagos Land Iguana (Conolophus subcristatus)
Found on 6 of the Galapagos Islands, the aptly-named Galápagos land iguana is a stunning creature that’s known for its beautiful colorations. This iguana can reach lengths of up to 4.9 feet (1.5 m) and live up to 55 years. It boasts a gorgeous yellow coloration, which makes it easy to spot and identify.
One of the most interesting things about the Galápagos land iguana is its mutualistic relationship with some local finch species. In fact, you’ll often see finches sitting on their backs and eating ticks that have burrowed in between their scales. So, the iguanas get a bit of free pest control while the finches get a free lunch. Sounds good to us!
Unfortunately, the Galápagos land iguana is currently listed as vulnerable due to widespread population declines over the last 150 years. Introduced species—especially feral dogs—have decimated the iguana population. However, there are various projects underway to help protect this amazing type of lizard.
9. Mexican Beaded Lizard (Heloderma horridum)
Boasting a unique set of bumpy scales that resemble beads, the Mexican beaded lizard is a fairly large lizard found in Mexico and Guatemala. It is closely related to the famed Gila monster and it also has a dangerous venom.
There are technically 4 different subspecies of Mexican beaded lizard, each of which has its own unique markings. All of them are carnivorous, though, so you’ll see them out and about on the prowl for eggs, frogs, birds, and even other lizards.
Like many lizard species, the Mexican beaded lizard is currently threatened. Their major threats include habitat loss. However, they are also illegally captured for sale on the black market pet trade.
10. Parson’s Chameleon (Calumma parsonii)
The largest of the living chameleons, the Parson’s chameleon is a colorful lizard found in the eastern and northern parts of Madagascar. This hefty chameleon is usually found in rainy forested environments as they prefer to live in hot, most habitats.
There are technically two subspecies of Parson’s chameleon, each of which prefers a different type of forested environment. They can be more than 2 feet (60 cm) long as adults, which is substantially larger than most other chameleons.
Like many chameleons, the Parson’s chameleon does change color to communicate its mood and feelings. This has made it a popular pet among reptile enthusiasts and it is one of the few species of chameleon that can be exported legally in small numbers from Madagascar. However, the species is considered to be near threatened due to habitat loss.
11. Fiji Crested Iguana (Brachylophus vitiensis)
A rare but truly stunning species, the Fiji crested iguana is a relatively large iguana that lives throughout the Fiji Islands. These iguanas prefer to live in forested habitats, many of which have been lost to human development.
They have a characteristic green head and white stripes, which makes them easy to identify, even from a distance. That being said, while they are bright green after hatching, they tend to become dark green by adulthood.
The Fiji crested iguana is considered to be critically endangered with less than 13,000 individuals left in the wild. Habitat loss and fragmentation are a major threat as some 12,000 of these individuals live on a single, tiny island.
12. Marine Iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus)
As the only lizard on Earth that likes to spend time in the ocean, the marine iguana is a special species. These lizards are found only on the Galápagos Islands and they’re considered vulnerable due to climate change, oil spills, and other human disturbances.
The coolest thing about these lizards, though, is that they love to swim around in the ocean. In fact, they feed mostly off of algae, which they’ve been known to dive more than 65 feet (20 m) for in certain environments.
These lizards are quite large, with a maximum length of about 4.3 feet (1.3 m). They also have a unique adaptation similar to sea birds where they “sneeze” out any salt that collects in their body through their nose after a long swim. Who knew?
13. Nano-Chameleon (Brookesia nana)
Earning the title as the world’s smallest lizard, the nano-chameleon is a miniscule little creature that’s believed to live only on Madagascar. These tiny critters are usually just under 0.5 inches (13.5 mm) long so they can sit comfortably on top of your fingertip!
The nano-chameleon was discovered in 2020 and it is widely believed to be the smallest reptile on Earth. Since the species is relatively new to scientists, not much is known about its habitat and characteristics.
But, we do know that the nano-chameleon is at risk of extinction due to widespread habitat loss. As a result, scientists have recommended that the IUCN list it as critically endangered.
14. Green Basilisk (Basiliscus plumifrons)
Also known as the green crested basilisk, the green basilisk is a fairly large lizard that’s found throughout the tropical rainforests of Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Honduras. Although their name might conjure up images of Harry Potter, basilisks are actually a type of iguana that lives in Central America.
As their name suggests, these basilisks are bright green, which makes them easy to distinguish from other similar species. They also have a massive crest on their head and a large spiny plate along their back.
Interestingly, these lizards are capable of running on their hind legs, thanks to their specialized scales. They can also swim for about 10 minutes at a time, which is pretty darn cool. Thankfully, these lizards aren’t threatened as they’re pretty common in their home habitat. They’re also a fairly common pet in some parts of the world, though they are difficult to care for properly.
15. Slow Worm (Anguis fragilis)
Okay, we know what you’re thinking: “That’s not a lizard—it’s a snake!”
Well, while the slow worm might look a whole lot like a snake, it’s actually a lizard. We promise.
In fact, the slow worm is a type of legless lizard. It’s differentiated from snakes and actual worms by the fact that it has eyelids that it can blink with, as well as the ability to shed its tail (who knew?).
These funky-looking lizards can be found in Eurasia, though they’re particularly prominent in the United Kingdom and Ireland. They are actually protected in most parts of the United Kingdom, where they like to live in tussock, woodlands, and heathland.
If you do see these lizards, there’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s not venomous and it’s generally non-confrontational, so won’t see them bite or be aggressive toward humans. However, they do like to hang out in gardens, so you might encounter them while admiring your flowers.
16. Northern Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua scincoides intermedia)
Aptly named, the northern blue tongue skink is a lizard with a characteristically blue tongue. They are naturally found both in New Guinea and in parts of northeastern Australia where they like to hang out in arid areas.
The northern blue tongue skink is the largest of the blue-tongued lizards, all of which are in the family Scincidae. It can be up to about 15 inches (38 cm) long and it has a hefty, wide body.
Interestingly, these skinks are ovoviviparous, which means that they don’t lay eggs. Rather, the female skink will retain the eggs inside their body until the young hatch. When the young hatch, they are born live, so they’re one of the few lizards that have live-born young, even though they do also have eggs!
17. Armadillo Girdled Lizard (Ouroborus cataphractus)
The cool-looking armadillo girdled lizard is a small reptile found in parts of southern Africa. It gets its apt name from the fact that its scales resemble the skin of an armadillo when it curls up to protect itself from predators.
These lizards prefer semi-arid regions where there is relatively little vegetation. They prefer to live in small cracks and caves within rocky outcroppings, which they defend quite vigorously.
Not too much is known about the lifespan of these lizards, though it’s believed that they can live up to 25 years in the wild. They are also fairly social, gathering in groups of up to 60 individuals. This is pretty unique among lizards, which tend to be quite solitary.
18. Kuhl’s Flying Gecko (Gekko kuhli)
Found throughout southern Thailand, northern India, Myanmar, Indonesia, and the Malaysian peninsula, the Kuhl’s flying gecko is a fascinating type of lizard with a cool pattern and shape.
The most recognizable feature of the Kuhl’s flying gecko is its shape. It is actually quite small, but it has wide and flat webbed feet that make it relatively easy to identify. In the wild, however, it can be quite tricky to spot because it has superb camouflage capabilities.
Kuhl’s flying geckos are fairly popular as pets, but they require a lot of care. They often need a very large terrarium to roam around in and they should be handled as little as possible so as not to damage their sensitive skin.
19. Green Iguana (Iguana iguana)
More commonly known simply as “iguanas,” the green iguana is a large tree-dwelling lizard that’s naturally found throughout South and Central America. It’s one of the most popular lizards to keep as a pet thanks to its beautiful colors and calm disposition, though it can be tricky to take care of.
These iguanas are known for their stunning colorations and long length as adults can reach up to 5 feet (1.5 m) in length. They like to eat pretty much any type of plant they can find, though leaves and shoots are their food of choice.
Nowadays, the green iguana is also considered to be an invasive species in some places. In particular, it is known to damage residential landscaping in parts of Florida where many individuals have escaped from captivity. Globally, however, the green iguana species is strong and isn’t at threat of extinction.
20. Perentie Monitor (Varanus giganteus)
Widely considered to be the fattest lizard species, the perentie monitor is one of the largest lizards in Australia. It can sometimes be longer than 6.5 feet (2 m), which makes it a pretty hefty lizard.
Despite being very large, however, the perentie monitor is rarely seen in the wild. It is found throughout central and western Australia where it inhabits rocky outcroppings and arid locales.
They are carnivores that prefer to eat small mammals and birds. These lizards have also been known to eat larger mammals and even other lizards. Furthermore, the perentie is considered sacred in many First Nations cultures in Australia.
21. Mexican Alligator Lizard (Abronia graminea)
Native to the states of Veracruz and Puebla in Mexico, the Mexican alligator lizard is a slick-looking lizard with a bright coloration.
Aptly named, these lizards do, indeed, look a bit like small alligators—at least from far away. They usually have green upper bodies and yellowish bellies with a triangular head. In fact, these lizards even have a prehensile tail that they can use to climb trees!
Most Mexican alligator lizards like to live high up in the cloud forest canopy. They are also viviparous, so they actually give birth to live young. However, these lizards are listed as endangered due to habitat fragmentation.
22. New Caledonian Giant Gecko (Rhacodactylus leachianus)
A truly cool lizard, the New Caledonian giant gecko is normally found in the New Caledonian islands. They are known for being very large for geckos with a total length of about 14 inches (36 cm).
In their native environment, the New Caledonian giant gecko prefers to live in the trees, though you can sometimes see it basking in the sunlight during the daytime. It is somewhat popular as a pet, though it’s not known for being very friendly.
The New Caledonian giant gecko is not currently listed as endangered though it may be in the future. It is at threat of habitat fragmentation and it is threatened by various introduced species such as feral cats, in its home territory in New Caledonia.
23. Rhinoceros Iguana (Rhinoceros Iguana)
As you can probably guess from its name, the rhinoceros iguana boasts a unique set of horns on its nose. These iguanas are naturally found in the Caribbean, particularly on the island of Hispaniola.
They have an awesome set of spikes that run down their spine, all the way to the tip of their tail. These iguanas also have an olive-grey coloration that helps them blend in perfectly with their surroundings.
Unfortunately, the rhinoceros iguana is currently threatened in its native habitat. It often gets outcompeted by other introduced species and it’s often preyed upon by mongoose and feral cats.
24. Common Leopard Gecko (Eublepharis macularius)
Found throughout Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the common leopard gecko is a small and stunning little lizard that’s now a very popular pet. These lizards are usually no more than about 11 inches (28 cm) long and they feature characteristic spots down their back.
They are known for being opportunistic feeders, so they’ll eat pretty much anything. But, they’re happiest if they can eat insects and other invertebrates.
Common leopard geckos exhibit a cool reproductive system called temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD). This means that the sex of leopard gecko hatchlings is determined by the temperature of the environment that they’re incubated in. So, females are more likely in very cool environments while males are more common in warm environments. Pretty cool stuff!
25. Mwanza Flat-Headed Rock Agama (Agama mwanzae)
Commonly known as the Spider-Man agama, the Mwanza flat-headed rock agama is a small, but colorful species of lizard found in eastern Africa. The lizard is known for its bright pink and blue patterning, which has made it a popular pet.
However, while the male Spider-Man agama is known for its bright patterning, the female is usually brown in order to blend in with its surroundings.
They are known to be quite shy animals that like to live in rocky areas. In general, they feed off of ants and other arthropods, though they’re also known to eat plants on occasion.
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How Lizards Are Classified: The Complete Guide To Lizard Taxonomy
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Like all animals, lizards are classified according to their genetic makeup. So, species with similar genetic material are considered to be more closely related than those with vastly different genetic material—even if they look substantially different to the human eye.
As a result, all lizards are classified within the kingdom Animalia, in the phylum Chordata, and in the class Reptilia, the latter of which contains all the reptiles. Below the class Reptilia, however, things start to get a bit hectic.
Technically, all lizards belong to a superorder called Lepidosauria, which is the superorder that contains all reptiles with overlapping scales. Below that, lizards are classified into the order Squamata, which contains some 11,000 species of snakes, lizards, and amphisbaenians (worm lizards).
Finally, all lizards are classified into a suborder called Lacertilia, which contains more than 6,000 species. Since there are just so many species of lizards, taxonomists classify them into 5 different infraorders. Below that, there are 27 different families and hundreds of subfamilies and genera.
How’s that for complicated?
To help you wrap your head around the complex world of lizard taxonomy, here’s a quick rundown of the 5 different lizard infraorders and 27 lizard families:
1. Infraorder Diploglossa
The first infraorder of lizards that you ought to know about is Diploglossa. This infraorder includes 3 different families:
- Anguidae (Glass lizards) – The Anguidae or “glass lizards” are a type of legless lizard that lives throughout the northern hemisphere. There are about 100 different species in this family including various types of slow worms. Interestingly, some of these lizards give birth to live young, though that’s not the case for all species in this family. However, they all have osteoderms, which are bony deposits under their scales.
- Anniellidae (American Legless Lizards) – The second family of legless lizards, the Anniellidae contain just 6 species, all of which are found in North America. They are predominantly found in California and Baja California, though new California lizards are discovered fairly regularly.
- Xenosauridae (Knob-scaled Lizards) – Sort of the oddball in the Diploglossa infraorder, the Xenosauridae are the only lizards in this clade that have legs. They’re often called the knob-scaled lizards because they have large, bumpy scales. There is only one genus in this family—Xenosaurus—which is found in Central America.
2. Infraorder Gekkota
The infraorder Gekkota includes just 3 families, 1 of which is known as the geckos. While most of the legless lizards are found in the infraorder Diploglossa, the infraorder Gekkota also includes 2 families of legless lizards.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Dibamidae (Blind lizards) – Often called the blind lizards or skinks, the family Dibamidae contains 2 genera and 23 species of lizards that are found in Mexico, southern Asia, and Oceania. They generally don’t have good eyesight (hence the name) and they like to burrow in the ground where they feed on earthworms.
- Gekkonidae (Geckos) – Containing the majority of the geckos, the family Gekkonidae contains more than 950 species in 64 different genera. These species are found throughout the world, though they prefer warm locales. Geckos like those found in this family are known for their ability to vocalize, which is unique among lizards.
- Pygopodidae (Legless lizards) – Yet another family of legless lizards (who knew there were so many?), the Pygopodidae contain about 35 species in 8 different genera. They are found mostly in Australia and New Guinea and they are identifiable by their lack of eyelids. Interestingly, these legless lizards are also known to vocalize, which makes them quite similar to the geckos.
3. Infraorder Iguania
The infraorder Iguania is one of the largest in the lizard world. It contains everything from the iguanas and chameleons to the agamids. There are thousands of species within the infraorder Iguania as well as 11 families. These include:
Commonly known as the agamid lizards or the dragon lizards, the family Agamidae contains over 300 species of lizards found in Eurasia, Africa, and Australia. These lizards can’t shed their tails, which makes them different from similar-looking geckos. But, they are very popular as pets due to their generally small size,
As the name suggests, the family Chamaeleonidae contains all the chameleons. There are over 200 chameleons, each of which are great climbers and have the ability to change color. They are naturally found in Eurasia and Africa.
Corytophanidae (Casquehead Lizards)
Found mostly in Central and South America, the Corytophanidae family contains 9 species. These lizards have large, bulky head crests, which is how they got their common name.
Crotaphytidae (Collared and Leopard Lizards)
There are 2 genera and 12 species within the Crotaphytidae family. All of these species are found in the southwestern US and northern Mexico where they live in the desert. They are known for their speed and ability to survive in harsh climates.
Hoplocercidae (Wood Lizards)
The family Hoplocercidae contains 16 species in 3 genera, all of which live in Central and South America. These lizards are quite diverse aesthetically, though they mostly enjoy living in tropical forests.
Containing most of the species that we call “iguanas” the family Iguanidae includes hundreds of herbivorous lizards that live in Central and South America. They are usually fairly large and many are popular as pets.
Found only in Central and South America, the family Leiosauridae is a small group of small and medium-sized lizards. They have smooth scales and they like to eat insects. Additionally, a few species are found as far south as Patagonia.
Opluridae (Madagascan Iguanas)
The family Opluridae includes 8 species in 2 genera, all of which are found in Madagascar and Grande Comore. They mostly like to live in trees and they closely resemble true iguanas. However, genetic tests have split them into a separate family.
The family Phrynosomatidae contains a highly diverse set of lizards that are found throughout the Americas. Some lay eggs while others have live young, so their similarities are more genetic than practical. But, most prefer desert or dry forest environments.
Commonly called the anoles, the family Polychrotidae contains just 1 living genus: Polychrus. These lizards live in Central and South America, including Trinidad and Tobago. They are particularly known for their colorful patterning.
Tropiduridae (Neotropical Ground Lizards)
The final family in this infraorder, the Tropiduridae is a group of lizards that live in South America. They are ground-dwellers that live in dry forests and savannas as well as in coastal areas. Some even give birth to live young.
4. Infraorder Platynota
One of the smaller infraorders of lizards, the infraorder Platynota includes some of the most infamous lizards in the world. There are 3 families in this infraorder, including:
- Helodermatidae (Gila Monsters) – The family Helodermatidae contains just 1 genus: Heloderma. This genus contains both the Gila monster and 4 different types of bearded lizards, all of which are fairly large. They all also have venom, but they’re not very dangerous to humans.
- Lanthanotidae (Earless Monitor) – Containing the “earless monitor lizards,” the family Lanthanotidae is home to just 1 species: Lanthanotus borneensis. This lizard is very similar to the other monitors, though it doesn’t have external ears. However, these lizards can hear, even if they don’t have visible hearing organs.
- Varanidae (Monitors Lizards) – Home to the largest lizards on Earth, the family Varanidae contains all of the monitor lizards. This includes the Komodo dragon and other species with powerful tails, long necks, and superb hunting abilities. They are found mostly in Africa, Asia, and Oceania.
5. Infraorder Scincomorpha
The final infraorder of lizards is Scincomorpha, which includes a substantial number of species that live in tropical and subtropical areas. These species are distinguished by having flat scales on their tongues. The families in this infraorder include:
- Cordylidae (Spinytail Lizards) – The Cordylidae family contains 10 different genera, most of which are found in eastern Africa. They tend to be fairly small and insectivorous. Furthermore, most of these small lizards live on the ground. They are identified by their mostly flat heads and bodies.
- Gerrhosauridae (Plated Lizards) – Usually called the plated lizards, the Gerrhosauridae are found in parts of Africa, including in Madagascar. They somewhat resemble skinks, but they have very thick scales and mostly flat bodies. Most of them have very thick tails despite their relatively small size.
- Gymnophthalmidae (Spectacled Lizards) – Containing over 250 species, the family Gymnophthalmidae is home to all the spectacled lizards. These lizards got their name thanks to their transparent lower eyelids, which makes them look like they’re wearing glasses. Most of these lizards are found in Central and South America.
- Lacertidae (True Lizards) – Sometimes called the true lizards, the family Lacertidae is a collection of some 300 species found in Eurasia and Africa. These lizards are small to medium in size and they tend to have very bright patterns. Some are even capable of asexual reproduction.
- Scincidae (Skinks) – Known as the skinks, the family Scincidae has more than 1,500 species, making it one of the most diverse in the lizard world. Skinks tend to lack a pronounced neck and lots of bony scales. They also have long tails that they can often regenerate.
- Teiidae (Tegus) – The Teiidae family contains all of the tegus, which includes about 150 different species. They have very rectangular scales, which distinguishes them from other lizards. Interestingly, some tegus are even capable of clonal reproduction.
- Xantusiidae (Night Lizards) – Last but not least we have the family Xantusiidae. These lizards are sometimes called the night lizards because they were originally believed to be nocturnal. There are only 3 genera and 34 living species in this family, most of which are found in Central America. Some even have live young.
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Lizard Fun Facts
Want to impress your friends with your lizard know-how? Here are some awesome lizard fun facts that you ought to know:
1|Chameleons Can Actually Change Color
It might sound too good to be true, but, yes, chameleons actually can change color.
But, chameleons don’t change color for camouflage. Since most chameleons are naturally green, there’s really not much of a reason for them to change color to blend in with their forested surroundings.
In fact, most chameleons change color to maintain their current body temperature to communicate with other lizards. So, the next time you see a chameleon changing color, it might be trying to tell you something.
2|Some Lizards Can Reproduce Asexually
While most lizards procreate using sexual reproduction, there are a handful of species that can actually reproduce on their own.
Although this isn’t common, some lizards can do something called parthenogenesis, which is a type of reproduction where female animals can reproduce without the need for male genetic material.
It’s believed that there are about 50 lizard species that only use parthenogenesis for reproduction. Meanwhile, there are plenty of others, such as the Komodo dragon, that can use parthenogenesis or sexual reproduction.
3|Many Lizards Can Regrow Their Tails
Many small lizards are a tasty food source for some larger animals. Sometimes, these tiny lizards manage to escape from their predators, but with quite a bit of damage to their tails. Other Times, lizards will purposefully detach their tails as a defense mechanism.
In these situations, some lizards can actually regrow their own tails. Depending on the species, this tail can take about 2 months to a year to grow back.
However, the lizard’s new tail isn’t made from bone. Instead, it’s made from cartilage, like what we have in our noses and on our ears.
4|Chameleons Have 360º Vision
Chameleons are pretty wacky creatures. In addition to their color-changing abilities, chameleons also have a unique set of eyes that can rotate completely around in their sockets.
As a result, chameleons can rotate their eyes and focus them on two different objects at the same time. This also allows them to get a complete 360º view of their surroundings. That’s pretty cool, if you ask us!
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Here are our answers to your most commonly asked questions about lizards:
What Do Lizards Eat?
With over 6,000 species of lizards on the planet, there’s no single answer to the question of what lizards eat. In fact, while some species eat plants and insects, others are obligate carnivores that can only eat meat.
Do Lizards Make Good Pets?
Some species of lizards can make good pets. However, many types of lizards are tricky to care for properly. So, if you’re considering having a lizard as a pet, it’s important to do your research to ensure that you’re able to give it the best life possible.
Where Are Lizards Found?
Lizards are found all over the world and on every continent except Antarctica. Most lizards prefer to live in warm climates, however, since they are reptiles that are not capable of thermal regulation. But, most lizard species are found in tropical or subtropical locales.