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Common Lizards in Texas

There are 60 lizards you may come across in Texas from the small and common green anole to house geckos and skinks.

If you are wondering what lizard you just saw in your yard, then continue reading to find out more about the twenty common lizards in Texas.

Are There Poisonous Lizards In Texas?

The lizards you come across in Texas are no poisonous, but they do carry disease. So if you just caught a lizard in the home or your child just brought in a lizard, ensure you wash hands thoroughly before touching your face or any surface.

Lizards spread salmonella, which can be transferred through touching the lizard, their droppings, or even cleaning or touching their environment.

Common Lizards In Texas

Below you will find the 20 common lizards you can come across in Texas. The list, sorted by descending order, is based on the number of observations people reported on iNaturalist.

Moreover, I've also added a list of all 60 lizards in Texas state.

1. Green Anole

The green anole (Anolis carolinensis) is a common lizard that is medium in size with a slender body and a long head.

Males develop a large throat that is three times the size of a female. Males’ throats or dewlaps are also bright red, females tend to remain pale pink to white.

Males also have a dorsal ridge which is prominent just behind the head, which will be displayed if he feels stress or threatened.

The adult male can grow up to eight inches (20cm) in length, up to seventy percent is made up of tail.

2. Texas Spiny Lizard

Texas Spiny Lizard

Image by John Brush via iNaturalist

Texas spiny lizards (Sceloporus olivaceus) grow to around eleven inches (28cm) in total length, including their tails.

They are light gray with black, red, or white patches on their backs with their patterns varying based on location. The pattern is an excellent camouflage against tree bark.

Their belly is light gray, though males may have some blue patches on their stomachs.

These lizards prefer habitats with trees and plenty of leaf litter. They can be found on the fence in urban areas, basking in the sun. They are nervous lizards and will run up a tree or run for leaf litter if approached.

3. Mediterranean House Gecko

Image by Jakob Fahr via iNaturalist

The Mediterranean house gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus) is a small lizard that is light brown to tan in color with darker spots and a translucent underbelly.

They have a rounded snout and can be found on their own or in a group of five or more.

They are nocturnal and if approached they will run for the darkness in order to escape.

These geckos can lose their tails and regrow them, using them as a way to distract predators while they flee.

4. Brown Anole

brown anole

Image by lascuola via iNaturalist

Brown anoles (Anolis sagrei) are light brown with dark brown markings on their backs, along with light color lines on the sides. The anole is able to change color from dark brown to black, based on its environment.

The dewlap (throat flap) ranges in color from bright orange/red to yellow.

Males grow to around eight inches (20cm) in total length, though there are some species that have grown to nine inches. Females are smaller, growing to 5.9 inches.

Further Reading:

5. Common Spotted Whiptail

Image by amadorgreg via iNaturalist

The common spotted whiptail (Aspidoscelis gularis), also known as the Texas spotted whiptail, can grow up to eleven inches (28cm) in total length.

They are green/brown or tan in color with seven gray or white stripes that run all the way down the body, stopping at the tail.

They have light color spots on their sides. The belly is white with males having a red throat and a blue belly with blue or black spots on their chests.

Females have pink throats.

The tail is long and usually two thirds the length of the body.

These lizards live on insects and are very active.

They are ground in a host of habitats including grasslands, canyons, and never far from water.

Further Reading:

6. Little Brown Skink

Image by Evan Spears via iNaturalist

The little brown skink (Scincella lateralis) is one of the smallest reptiles in the United States, growing up to 5.5 inches (14.5cm) in total length, including the tail.

They are copper in color with white to yellow on their belly.

They have elongated bodies and short legs.

The little brown skink lives in a host of habitats including hedge grows, forests, on the edge of streams and ponds.

They prefer a deep layer of leaf litter to hide in.

7. Texas Horned Lizard

Image by jtitzl via iNaturalist

This Texas horned lizard (Phrynosoma Cornutum) is the largest bodies of the horned lizards in the United States, growing up to 2.7 inches (6.9cm) from snout to vent with females growing up to 4.5 inches (11.4cm) in total length and males up to 3.7 inches (9.4cm) in total length.

These are docile lizards and enjoy basking in the sun. You often see these lizards on the side of the road lying in the sun.

They bury themselves in the sand at night.

They don't move much, but when they do, they are fast and will head for thick grass to escape.

8. Greater Earless Lizard

Image by David Renoult via iNaturalist

The greater earless lizard (Cophosaurus texanus) can grow up to seven inches (17.8cm) in total length with the males being larger than the females.

Males have two black stripes just before the hind legs, while females have a black stripe behind each thigh.

They have two throat folds and large eyes with short legs with long toes.

The greater earless lizards are active during the day, hibernate in winter, and will break their tail if approached by a predator, in order to escape.

9. Slender Glass Lizard

The slender glass lizards (Ophisaurus attenuatus) have brown to yellow-colored bodies with six stripes and a middorsal stripe.

They have white specks on the middle of the scales.

Their total length can be up to 36 inches (90cm) with the tail taking up two thirds of that length.

These are not snakes and have ears and eyelids, though they do struggle on smooth surfaces due to not having a belly plate, as snakes do.

10. Rose-bellied Lizard

Rose-bellied lizards (Sceloporus variabilis) are small lizards growing up to 2.1 inches (5.4cm) snout to vent. If the tail has not been broken, it can reach 5.5 inches (14cm) in total length.

They have an olive or tan base color with dark brown spots and two yellow stripes, one on either side of the back.

Males tend to be darker below the stripe. Males have a large pink spot on either side of their tummy, bordered by blue.

11. Common Five-lined Skink

Image by Bo Abernethy via iNaturalist

The common five-lined skink (Plestiodon fasciatus), also known as the American five-lined skin is a medium-size lizard growing up to 8.5 inches (21cm) in total length, including the tail.

The juveniles are dark brown with five yellow to white stripes along the body, complemented by a bright blue tail, which fades with age.

Adults tend to be brown.

These skinks prefer wooded habitats that have ample cover and places to bask in the sun.

Further Reading:

12. Ornate Tree Lizard

Ornate Tree Lizard

These lizards grow up to 2.3 inches (5.9cm) from their snout to their vent.

Males have turquoise patches on their abdomen, which females do not have.

Males come in a range of colors, though most populations only have one or two colors.

Some of the colors noted include an orange patch on the throat fan with a blue spot in the center, these males tend to be more aggressive than those that are plain orange, leaner and longer.

13. Crevice Spiny Lizard

The crevice spiny lizard (Sceloporus poinsettii) is a gray lizard that may have some red to brown color with white or black collar around the neck. They are light gray on the underside, though males do have a blue patch on either side of their tummy.

Tails have black banding.

These lizards grow up to 12.2 inches (31cm) in total length, including the tail.

They are very shy and nervous lizards that will run to a crevice if approached.

They can be found in holes and crevices, usually in limestone rock.

14. Prairie Lizard

Prairie lizards (Sceloporus undulatus) are small brown to gray lizards with rough scales, reaching total lengths of around five inches.

This lizard’s color will vary on its sex with males usually brown or dark gray with no pattern, but blue tummies and throats.

Females have wavy lines on their backs and some orange or red coloration at the base of their tails. Their bellies are white and may have some faint darker spots.

These lizards run up trees if approached in order to escape from predators.

15. Keeled Earless Lizard

The keeled earless lizards (Holbrookia propinqua) have small and pointed dorsal scales. An adult will grow up to 5.5 inches (14cm) in total length.

They are found in a host of habitats from oak forests to cleared fields, coastal plains, and grasslands. They prefer sandy streamside areas and are often found in loose sand.

16. Eastern Collared Lizard

The Eastern collared lizard (Crotaphytus collaris) can grow up to fifteen inches (38cm) in total length. They have large heads and powerful jaws with males having a brown head and green/blue body.

Females also have a light brown head, but their body is the same brown.

These lizards can be found in open and dry regions, including Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Kansas, for example.

17. Six-lined Racerunner

Image by Greg Lasley via iNaturalist

The six-lined racerunner (Aspidoscelis sexlineatus) is brown, black, or dark green in color and has six green/yellow to yellow stripes that run from the head down the tail.

Females have a white tummy, while males have a pale blue tummy and pale green dewlap.

They are slender and their tails are two thirds their body size.

These lizards are active in the day, preying on insects, they are also very wary and shy and will flee at fast speeds of up to 29 kilometers per hour (18mph) to get to cover and hide.

Their habitats range from woodlands and grasslands to rocky outcrops and open floodplains.

18. Common Side-blotched Lizard

Common Side-blotched Lizard

This is a small lizard with males growing to 2.4 inches (6cm) from snout to vent.

Females are smaller than males with pigmentation varying between populations and sexes.

Males sometimes have blue on their backs and tails with yellow sides, while others may not have any pattern.

Females can have stripes down their backs.

Both sexes have a noticeable blotch on their sides.

19. Broad-headed Skink

Image by Laura Gaudette via iNaturalist

The broad-headed skink (Plestiodon Laticeps) is one of the largest skinks which can grow up to 13 inches (33cm) in total length.

They have wide jaws, triangular-shaped heads and can be found in urban areas to forests, with plenty of leaf litter.

Males are olive to brown in color with orange heads during mating season. Females have five stripes that run down the back and tail.

Juveniles display a bright blue tail, which fades with age.

These skinks live in trees and on the ground.

Further Reading:

20. Four-lined Skink

Four-lined Skink

Image by Javi Gonzalez via iNaturalist

There are two subspecies of the four-lined skink both distinguished by their stripes and coloration.

Some are gray or light brown with stripes that extend from the eyes to past the forelegs, these are the long-lined skinks.

The short-lined skinks are darker in color and their stripes stop before the forelegs.

Juveniles have blue tails, which fade with age. Adults can grow up to 7 inches (18cm) in total length.

They prefer wooded and rocky areas with long lined skinks often being seen in grasslands.

All Lizards In Texas

Anguidae (anguid and legless lizards)

  • Texas alligator lizard (Gerrhonotus infernalis)
  • Western slender glass lizard (Ophisaurus attenuatus)

Dactyloidae (anoles)

  • Green anole (Anolis carolinensis)
  • Brown anole (Anolis sagrei)

Crotaphytidae (collared and leopard lizards)

  • Eastern collared lizard (Crotaphytus collaris)
  • Reticulated collared lizard (Crotaphytus reticulatus)
  • Longnose leopard lizard (Gambelia wislizenii)

Gekkonidae (geckos)

  • Texas banded gecko (Coleonyx brevis)
  • reticulated gecko (Coleonyx reticulatus)
  • Rough-tailed gecko (Cyrtopodion scabrum)
  • Mediterranean gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus)
  • Asian house gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus)

Iguanidae (iguanas)

  • Green iguana (Iguana iguana)
  • Mexican spinytail iguana (Ctenosaura pectinata)

Phrynosomatidae (sand, horned, and spiny lizards)

  • Greater earless lizard (Cophosaurus texanus)
  • Spot-tailed earless lizard (Holbrookia lacerata)
  • Southern earless lizard (Holbrookia subcaudalis)
  • Speckled earless lizard (Holbrookia approximans)
  • Lesser earless lizard (Holbrookia maculata)
  • Prairie earless lizard (Holbrookia maculata perspicua)
  • Keeled earless lizard (Holbrookia propinqua)
  • Texas horned lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum)
  • Short-horned lizard (Phrynosoma douglasii)
  • Roundtail horned lizard (Phrynosoma modestum)
  • Dunes sagebrush lizard (Sceloporus arenicolus)
  • Sagebrush lizard (Sceloporus graciosus)
  • Mesquite lizard (Sceloporus grammicus)
  • Desert spiny lizard (Sceloporus magister)
  • Big Bend Canyon lizard (Sceloporus merriami annulatus)
  • Presidio Canyon lizard (Sceloporus merriami longipunctatus)
  • Canyon lizard (Sceloporus merriami)
  • Texas spiny lizard (Sceloporus olivaceus)
  • Crevice spiny lizard (Sceloporus poinsettii)
  • Blue spiny lizard (Sceloporus serrifer)
  • Southern prairie lizard (Sceloporus undulatus consobrinus)
  • Northern prairie lizard (Sceloporus undulatus garmani)
  • Northern fence lizard (Sceloporus undulatus hyacinthinus)
  • Rosebelly lizard (Sceloporus variabilis)
  • Texas tree lizard (Urosaurus ornatus ornatus)
  • Big Bend tree lizard (Urosaurus ornatus schmidti)
  • Common side-blotched lizard (Uta stansburiana)

Scincidae (skinks)

  • Southern coal skink (Plestiodon anthracinus pluvialis)
  • Five-lined skink (Plestiodon fasciatus)
  • Broadhead skink (Plestiodon laticeps)
  • Variable skink (Plestiodon multivirgatus epipleurotus)
  • Great Plains Skink (Plestiodon obsoletus)
  • Southern prairie skink (Plestiodon septentrionalis obtusirostris)
  • Short-lined skink (Plestiodon tetragrammus brevilineatus)
  • Four-lined skink (Plestiodon tetragrammus tetragrammus)
  • Ground skink (Scincella lateralis)

Teiidae (whiptails)

  • Chihuahuan spotted whiptail(Aspidoscelis exsanguis)
  • Texas spotted whiptail (Aspidoscelis gularis)
  • Trans-Pecos striped whiptail (Aspidoscelis inornatus heptagrammus)
  • Laredo striped whiptail (Aspidoscelis laredoensis)
  • Marbled whiptail (Aspidoscelis marmoratus)
  • New Mexico whiptail (Aspidoscelis neomexicanus)
  • Eastern six-lined racerunner (Aspidoscelis sexlineatus sexlineatus)
  • Prairie racerunner (Aspidoscelis sexlineatus viridis)
  • Checkered whiptail (Aspidoscelis tesselatus)
  • Desert grassland whiptail (Aspidoscelis uniparens)