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Lizards In Kansas

There are 16 lizard species you may come across when in Kansas state.

Whether you are exploring the local area or you find a lizard in your yard, continue reading to identify the lizard and learn more about its behavior.

1. Slender Glass Lizard

The slender glass lizard (Ophisaurus attenuatus) is a legless lizard, which was originally believed to be a subspecies of the eastern glass lizard.

They break their own tails in order to escape predators. Their tails never grow back completely if it is broken off.

These lizards enjoy a varied diet of insects and small animals, including smaller lizards.

These lizards can be identified with their brown to yellow bodies which have six stripes and white specks on the middle of the scales.

They grow to up 36 inches, which is just short of a meter, with their tails taking up two thirds of the body length.

These lizards move fast and will thrash if caught. 

2. Common Collared Lizard

Eastern collared lizard in Colorado. Image by brentwhite1213 via iNaturalist

The common collared lizard (Crotaphytus collaris) is also known as an Eastern collared lizard or Oklahoma collared lizard.

They are the state reptile of Oklahoma.

These have yellow heads, which are large with powerful jaws.

Males are often colorful with blue to green bodies and yellow stripes on their tails and backs with bright yellow to orange throats. Females are light brown in color.

These lizards can grow up to around 15 inches (38cm) including their tails.

3. Mediterranean House Gecko

Image by Jakob Fahr via iNaturalist

This gecko is common to the Mediterranean, where it has now spread to many countries around the globe.

The Mediterranean house gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus) is nocturnal and grows to around 5.9 inches (15cm) with large eyes and tan-colored skin that has black spots.

Their tummy tends to be translucent in color.

They have rounded snouts with variable length digits.

They have a granule appearance with tapering tails, which are covered in tiny scales.

These geckos can be seen on their own or in groups of up to five.

4. Western Green Lizard

The Western green lizard (Lacerta bilineata) can be found throughout the United States, Europe, and the United Kingdom.

They grow to around 16 inches (40cm) including their tails with the tail being two thirds the entire body length. They usually weigh around 35 grams.

The Western green lizard is bright green with males having large heads and blue throats.

Juveniles are brown with a yellow tummy and four lines along the flank.

They are very territorial and feed on large insects. Males will fight during mating season.

These lizards can live up to fifteen years.

5. Italian Wall Lizard

The Italian wall lizard (Podarcis siculus) is native to Bosnia and many parts of Europe. It was later introduced to Canada and the United States.

These lizards prefer shrub vegetation, rocky areas, and shores, along with rural gardens, plantations, and urban areas.

There have been blue morphs identified with many subspecies.

6. Lesser Earless Lizard

This lizard is commonly found in the central and southwestern United States, including Arizona, Texas, Kansas, South Dakota, Colorado, and more.

There are nine subspecies which have been identified over the years with the first subspecies being identified in 1851, which was the Northern earless lizard. The last to be identified was the Eastern earless lizard in 1956.

7. Texas Horned Lizard

Image by jtitzl via iNaturalist

The Texas horned lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum) is one of the spiky body reptiles, which are known as horned lizards in North America.

They have founded bodies and flat snouts, which makes them look like a toad.

The horns are an extension of the cranium and are made from bone.

The Texas horned lizards are the largest of the horned lizards in the US, growing up to 2.7 inches (6.9cm) from snout to vent with females being larger than the males.

Females can grow up to 4.5 inches (11.4cm).

8. Prairie Lizard

Image by Greg Lasley via iNaturalist

The prairie lizard (Sceloporus undulatus) can reach 3 inches in snout-vent length.

Their coloration and patterns are variable within populations. Colors tend to be grown, gray with gray strips along the mid line of the body

9. Six-lined Racerunner

Image by Greg Lasley via iNaturalist

This lizard can be found throughout the south central and south eastern United States.

They are dark green, black or brown lizards with six green/yellow or yellow stripes that run down the body all the way from the head to the tail.

Females have a white tummy, while males’ tummies may be pale blue. Males often have a pale green throat.

Their tails are two thirds their total length.

They are wary and fast-moving, reaching speeds of around 29 kilometers per hour (18mph).

You can find this lizard in a host of habitats from woodlands and rocky outcrops to grasslands and open floodplains.

10. Coal Skink

Image by J.D. Willson via iNaturalist

The coal skink (Plestiodon Anthracinus) can reach lengths of 7.1 inches (18cm), but its snout to vent length is only around 2.8 inches (7cm).

They have four light stripes that run down to their tails and they don't have any lines on their heads.

Males tend to have red coloration of their heads during the breeding season.

Their lateral stripe is broad and comprises of around four scales in width.

11. American Five-lined Skink

Image by Bo Abernethy via iNaturalist

The five-lined skink (PlestiodonFfasciatus) is common in the United States.

This skink grows to around 8.5 inches (21.5cm) including the tail.

Juveniles are often black to dark brown with five distinct yellow to white stripes and a bright blue tail, the blue tail fades as they age, along with the stripes.

Older lizards tend to be brown in color.

12. Broad-headed Skink

Image by Laura Gaudette via iNaturalist

This skink, along with the Great Plains skink, is the largest of this species, growing up to thirteen inches (33cm) in total length.

These lizards have wide jaws, giving their heads a triangular look.

Males are olive to brown in color with bright orange heads, which are displayed during the breeding season.

Females have five light stripes that run down their back and tail.

Juveniles are black to dark brown with stripes and a bright blue tail, which fades with age.

They prefer forest areas, where there is an abundance of leaf litter.

You may see the broad-headed skink on the ground or in a tree.

13. Great Plains Skink

Image by johnwilliams via iNaturalist

The great plains skink (Plestiodon obsoletus) is one of the largest skinks that grows up to 34 centimeters including the tail.

hey are beige to light gray in color with black to dark brown dorsal scales, which run diagonally.

They have a yellow tummy and juveniles can be identified with their white spots on their lips and head, combined with their blue tails.

14. Southern Prairie Skink

Southern Prairie Skink

Image by Alex Harman via iNaturalist

The Southern prairie skink (Plestiodon obtusirostris) has the ability to use its tail to preoccupy predators, giving the lizard time to escape.

It can break its own tail when grabbed, which gives the lizard time to run for some leaf litter or rocks.

While its tail does regenerate, it doesn't grow back to its original length.

Some of the species have pink coloration to their tail regrowth.

15. Northern Prairie Skink

Northern Prairie Skink

Image by pserani01 via iNaturalist

The Northern prairie skinks (Plestiodon septentrionalis) are agile reptiles in cylindrical-shaped bodies and smooth scales.

They break their tails when a predator comes down on them on the ground. The tail does regenerate, usually the same color as the body, but it will never grow its full length.

These skinks are small and slender with gray to olive-brown bodies with light and dark stripes that run all the way down the body. Their underside is light gray.

They grow to 8 inches (20cm) in total length with half being made up of the tail.

16. Ground Skink

The ground skink is usually dark brown in color. with dark spots. They can be tan to yellow in color. with darker spots.

They have fat tails and can be found throughout the world where they prefer temperate climates with plenty of arthropods for food.

They are one of the smallest reptiles in the United States growing to 6 inches in total length.

They have short legs and elongated bodies.

The color can vary considerably and can be found from Kansas to the Florida Keys.

They prefer open areas and forest regions where there is plenty of leaf litter. They are often found on the edge of ponds and streams where there is loose soil, rotting leaves, and fallen logs.