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Common Lizards In Florida

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Are you wondering what lizard you see in your yard? Are you wondering if it’s native to Florida? Here is a list of all lizards in Florida, along with whether they are native to the area or introduced.

List of Lizards In Florida

  • Northern curly-tailed lizard
  • Red-sided curly-tailed lizard
  • Indo-Chinese forest lizard
  • Common agama
  • Butterfly lizard
  • Oriental garden lizard
  • Green anole
  • Brown anole
  • Bark anole
  • Knight anole
  • Common Puerto Rican anole
  • Large-headed anole
  • Cuban green anole
  • Hispaniolan green anole
  • Jamaican giant anole
  • Florida scrub lizard
  • Eastern fence lizard
  • Green iguana
  • Black spiny-tailed iguana
  • Mexican spiny-tailed iguana
  • Brown Basilisk
  • Veiled chameleon
  • Oustalet's chameleon
  • Jackson's chameleon
  • Six-lined racerunner
  • Giant Ameiva
  • Rainbow whiptail
  • Argentine black and white tegu
  • Reef gecko
  • Ocellated gecko
  • White-spotted wall gecko
  • Flat-tailed House Gecko
  • Ashy gecko
  • Tokay gecko
  • Mediterranean house gecko
  • Tropical house gecko
  • Bibron's thick-toed gecko
  • Indo-Pacific gecko
  • Yellow-headed Gecko
  • Madagascan giant day gecko
  • Mole skink
  • Coal skink
  • Sand skink
  • Broadhead skink
  • Ocellated skink
  • Rough mabuya
  • Rainbow mabuya
  • Five-lined skink
  • Southeastern five-lined skink
  • Eastern glass lizard
  • Slender glass lizard
  • Mimic glass Lizard
  • Island glass lizard
  • Texas horned lizard
  • Nile monitor
  • Florida worm lizard

Curly-tailed Lizards

The curly-tailed originates from the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Haiti, Cuba, and Caicos with growing populations now found in Florida. This introduced lizard can be identified by its curly tail which is used to defend against predators and to signal to other curly-tailed lizards.

Species Include:

  • Northern Curly Tailed Lizard (Introduced)
  • Red Sided Curly Tailed Lizard (Introduced)

A northern curly-tailed lizard in Cuba

A red-sided curly-tailed lizard in captivity

Agamid lizards

Agama Lizards come from Southeast Asia, South Asia, and China and have smooth head scales with small spines on either side of the head. These gray to olive green colored lizards often have red spots on the back with yellowish lips. They can measure between 28cm and 42cm from head to the tip of the tail.

Species Include:

  • Indo-Chinese forest lizard (Introduced)
  • Common agama (Introduced)
  • Butterfly lizard (Introduced)
  • Oriental garden lizard (Introduced)

An Indo-Chinese forest lizard in Pakke Tiger Reserve

A male common agama with its red head

The butterfly lizard is an invasive species in Florida

A male oriental garden lizard (or changeable lizard)

Anoles

Anoles are found in the warmer parts of America with only the green anole being native to Florida. These lizards range in size from small to large and are usually brown or green, though there are a variety of colors based on the species. Most of the species have a bright colored dewlap. They can voluntarily break their tail when escaping from predators.

These lizards are active during the daytime and feed on insects, fruits, and flowers. They are very territorial. While useful in fighting pests, they can be very dangerous to small native animals and ecosystems. The male is usually larger than the female with lengths reaching up to twenty centimeters or eight inches from head to tip of the tail.

Species Include:

  • Green anole (Native)
  • Brown anole (Introduced)
  • Bark anole (Introduced)
  • Knight anole (Introduced)
  • Common Puerto Rican anole (Introduced)
  • Large-headed anole (Introduced)
  • Cuban green anole (Introduced)
  • Hispaniolan green anole (Introduced)
  • Jamaican giant anole (Introduced)

Green anoles are abundant in Florida

A male brown anole is displaying his dewlap

A green bark anole lizard can be found easily in Florida

A knight anole in a tree

A common Puerto Rican anole (Anolis cristatellus)

A large-headed anole (Anolis cybotes) on deck of house in Florida

Cuban green anoles (Anolis porcatus) has been introduced to Florida and various places

Hispaniolan green anoles (Anolis chlorocyanus) was introduced in southern Florida

Jamaican giant anole (Anolis garmani) is native in Jamaica but has been introduced to Florida

Iguanas

Iguanas are herbivorous lizards that come from tropical areas in Central America, South America, Carri bean, and Mexico with two native to Florida. The green iguana has become very popular as a reptilian pet. Iguana comes from the original Tajno name. There are six species you may see in Florida, these include:

Species Included: 

  • Florida scrub lizard (Native)
  • Eastern fence lizard (Native)
  • Green iguana (Introduced)
  • Black spiny-tailed iguana (Introduced)
  • Mexican spiny-tailed iguana (Introduced)
  • Brown Basilisk (Introduced)

A Florida scrub lizard (Sceloporus woodi) on hand

Eastern fence lizard (Sceloporus undulatus)

The green iguana (Iguana iguana) has been introduced in south Florida

Black spiny-tailed iguana (Ctenosaura similis)

The Mexican spiny-tailed iguana (Ctenosaura pectinata) was also introduced in the state of Florida

The brown basilisk (Basiliscus vittatus) is native to Mexico and has been introduced to Florida as a feral species

Chameleon Lizards

Chameleons have been introduced to Florida. They can easily be identified by their rapidly extruding tongues and swaying gait. They often have a crest or horn on the head or snout. The eyes are independently mobile, helping them aim at prey with ease, helping with focus and coordination. These lizards can climb with ease and live in warm habitats including rain forests and deserts. Originally from southern Europe, Africa, Madagascar, and Sri Lanka, chameleons can now be found in Florida, Hawaii, and California.

Species Include:

  • Veiled chameleon (Introduced)
  • Oustalet's chameleon (Introduced)
  • Jackson's chameleon (Introduced)

The veiled chameleon (Chamaeleo calyptratus) can be found in the wild in Florida

A male Oustalet's chameleon (Furcifer oustaleti)

The Jackson's chameleon (Trioceros jacksonii) was introduced to Florida, California and Hawaii

Lizards from Teiidae Family

These lizards are native to America often known as racerunners, whiptails, and tegus. What sets these apart from other lizards is their large rectangular scales and their fork, snake like tongues. These lizards are very terrestrial, some are semi aquatic and other are diurnal. They range from insectivores to carnivores.

Species Include:

  • Six-lined racerunner (Native)
  • Giant ameiva (Introduced)
  • Rainbow whiptail (Introduced)
  • Argentine black and white tegu (Introduced)

A male six-lined racerunner (Aspidoscelis sexlineatus) at lake Louisa State Park in Lake County, Florida

The giant ameiva lizard (Ameiva ameiva) is thriving in South Florida

The rainbow whiptail (Cnemidophorus lemniscatus) has established populations in Florida

Argentine black and white tegu (Salvator merianae)

Geckos

Geckos can be found in warm climates around the world ranging from 1.6cm to 60cm in length. Unlike other lizards, geckos use clicking sounds and chirping for communication. There are more than one thousand species worldwide, though you will only see twelve in Florida. Geckos don't have eyelids; they have a transparent membrane covering the eyeball with a fixed lens that helps it see in the dark.

Nocturnal species have outstanding night vision. They can all lose their tails as a defensive mechanism and their feet have specialized pads that help them climb any surface. They feed on insects, mosquito, and moths, often becoming a welcome member of homes in warmer climates worldwide.

Species Include:

  • Reef gecko (Native)
  • Ocellated gecko (Introduced)
  • white-spotted wall gecko (Introduced)
  • Flat-tailed house gecko (Introduced)
  • Ashy gecko (Introduced)
  • Tokay gecko (Introduced)
  • Mediterranean house gecko (Introduced)
  • Tropical house gecko (Introduced)
  • Bibron's thick-toed gecko (Introduced)
  • Indo-Pacific gecko (Introduced)
  • Yellow-headed Gecko (Introduced)
  • Madagascan giant day gecko (Introduced)

Florida reef gecko (Sphaerodactylus notatus)

Ocellated gecko (Sphaerodactylus argus)

White-spotted wall gecko (Tarentola annularis)

The flat-tailed house gecko (Hemidactylus platyurus) is also introduced to Florida

The ashy gecko (Sphaerodactylus elegans) is native to Cuba and was introduced to a small area of Florida

The tokay gecko is common in the pet market

Mediterranean house gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus)

Tropical house gecko (Hemidactylus mabouia)

A Bibron's thick-toed gecko (Chondrodactylus bibronii) in Manatee county, Florida

Indo-Pacific gecko (Hemidactylus garnotii)

The yellow-headed gecko (Gonatodes albogularis) in southern Florida

Small populations of Madagascar giant day gecko (Phelsuma grandis) in Florida and Hawaii

Skinks

The majority of skinks you see in Florida are native, even though there are more than one thousand five hundred species in the Scincidae family, making it the most diverse lizard families. These lizards don't tend to have a neck with small legs. The head is covered in scales. Some species have small legs and less than five toes, which has them moving similar to snakes, rather than that of a lizard.

The tail is long and tapering, which they can break off to protect themselves from predators. They can regenerate their tails if lost within four months. Skinks vary in size based on their species with the smallest being only 7.5cm to those that reach up to 35cm. Skinks are excellent in hiding due to their protective coloring.

Species Include:

  • Mole Skink (Native)
  • Coal Skink (Native)
  • Sand Skink (Native)
  • Broadhead Skink (Native)
  • Ocellated skink (Introduced)
  • Rough mabuya (Introduced)
  • Rainbow mabuya (Introduced)
  • Five-lined Skink (Native)
  • Southeastern Five-lined Skink (Native)

The mole skink (Plestiodon egregius) is a small lizard in central Florida

The coal skink (Plestiodon anthracinus) is native to Florida and other areas in the United States

A Florida sand skink (Plestiodon reynoldsi) in Highlands county

Male broad-headed skink (Plestiodon laticeps)

Ocellated skink (Chalcides ocellatus)

Rough mabuya or brown mabuya (Eutropis rudis)

Rainbow skink (Trachylepis margaritifera)

five-lined skink (Plestiodon fasciatus)

Southeastern five-lined skink (Plestiodon inexpectatus)

Glass Lizards

Glass lizards are native to Florida and are a large, diverse lizard family known for their medial faces, lateral skin fold, and reduced arch. There are over one hundred species of glass lizards around the world with the four you will see in Florida being native to the area.

Species Include:

  • Eastern glass lizard (Native)
  • Slender glass lizard (Native)
  • Mimic glass lizard (Native)
  • Island glass lizard (Native)

Eastern glass lizards (Ophisaurus ventralis)

Slender glass lizard (Ophisaurus attenuatus)

The mimic glass lizard (Ophisaurus mimicus) is is endemic to Florida and southeastern areas

The island glass lizard (Ophisaurus compressus) is native to the southeastern United States

Texas Horned Lizard

A juvenile Texas horned lizard on hand

The Texas horned lizard was introduced to Florida and is one of fourteen North American spikey-bodied species, referred to as horned lizards. These lizards originally come from east Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. These were very popular as pets back in the mid twentieth century and many of these lizards are belied to be escaped and released pets. These lizards grow to ten centimeters in males and just shy of twelve centimeters in females.

Even though they may look aggressive, the Texas horned lizard is very docile and enjoy spending their time basking in the sunshine. At night they bury in the sand, a measure they use when escaping predators. Their main diet is harvester ants, so you can often find these lizards close to the ant hills.

The Texas horned lizard puffs itself up to look bigger when threatened. They also have a unique self preservation method which involves shooting blood from its eye or mouth for up to five feet or 1.5m. This confuses predators and tastes very bad.

Nile monitor

The Nile monitor lizard is not native to Florida

The Nile monitor was introduced to Florida from Sub-Saharan Africa, along the Nile River. This monitor can be found in the forests and savannas in West Africa. They can grow up to a staggering eight feet (224cm) with their vent to snout length being approximately 50cm. Bigger Nile monitors can weigh up to 15 kilograms or 33 pounds.

In addition to being able to quickly recognize the Nile monitor by its exceptional size, they also have muscular bodies and strong legs with sharp pointed teeth. They use their sharp claws for digging, defense, tearing at prey, and climbing. They have forked tongues. They are recognizable for their brown gray coloration with yellow or green bars on the tail. They often have green or yellow spots on the back with a black spot in the middle. These lizards eat snails, fish, frogs, snakes, birds, small mammals, crocodile eggs, insects, and more. 

The Nile monitor is considered an invasive species in Florida and has breeding populations.

Florida Worm Lizard

Florida worm lizards or Rhineura floridana are native to Florida and come from the Rhineuridae family. While they are found primarily in Florida, they have been seen as far as Georgia. There are no reported subspecies.

These lizards vary in length with total lengths up to thirty centimeters or twelve inches. They have a shovel like snout, their eyes are not visible and neither are their limbs, which gives them a worm like appearance.

These lizards love to burrow and prefer rotting leaves, sand and soil. They spend most of their time burrowed in the ground, protecting themselves from predators. They leave the burrow after rain. These lizards eat mostly earthworms and insects, though they are opportunistic eaters, eating any invert it can eat with ease.

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