Florida is home to a great diversity of lizards. In fact, over 50 species of these reptiles inhabit the state! While many of these lizards are natives, some have been introduced from other parts of the world.
Lizards can be found in practically every environment in Florida, from the swamps and forests to the urban areas. They play an important role in keeping down the population of bugs and other small creatures.
In this article, we will take a look at 10 different lizard species that call Florida home.
10 Lizard Species Found in Florida
Large & Invasive Species
Florida is home to a variety of lizards, including several species that are considered invasive. Invasive lizards are those that have been introduced to an area by humans and which pose a threat to the local ecosystem.
These lizards can be harmful to humans, as they can compete with native species for food and habitat. In addition, they can transmit disease to native wildlife and humans.
Some of the most common invasive lizards in Florida include the green iguana, brown Anole, and house gecko. These lizards can grow to be quite large, and their populations can quickly grow out of control.
If you see one of these lizards in your yard, it’s best to report it to the authorities so that it can be removed before it does any damage.
1. Nile Monitor
The Nile monitor is a large lizard that is native to Africa but has been introduced to Florida. These lizards can grow to be over six feet long and are typically olive or black in color, with yellow or cream bands on their mouths, heads, and backs.
Nile monitors are good swimmers and can stay underwater for 15 minutes, but they also enjoy basking in the sun on rocks and branches near water.
Although they are poisonous, Nile monitors are usually harmless to people. However, their toxins can kill small animals, and they have been known to attack humans if they feel threatened.
As a result, it is best to avoid contact with these lizards if possible. If you do come across one, keep your distance and slowly walk away from the area.
2. Gecko Tokay
The Tokay Gecko is a large, South Asian lizard that can grow to be 13-16 inches in length. They are known for their vibrant coloring, which can include red, black, or blue spots on a gray body.
While they are native to tropical and rocky environments, they have become increasingly common in Florida residential areas in recent years.
While they can be aggressive when provoked, they are generally considered to be beneficial to have around as they will help to control local insect and rodent populations.
However, it is important to exercise caution when handling them as they are known to bite humans and can transmit salmonella via their saliva.
3. Argentine Black and White Tegu
The Argentine Black and White Tegu is a large lizard native to South America. These lizards can grow up to 60 inches in length and have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years.
They are omnivorous, meaning they will eat both plants and animals, and their diet includes insects, rodents, snails, eggs, fruits, and mice. In recent years, these lizards have been appearing in Florida in increasing numbers and causing damage to the local ecosystem by eating animal eggs.
They are excellent swimmers and often live near water sources. Although they are not usually aggressive, they can bite if they feel threatened. Their strong jaws can cause painful and damaging bites, so it is important to be aware of their warning signs. If you see a Tegu Heavy breathing, tail thrashing, or stampeding feet, it is best to leave it alone.
Iguanas are a species of lizard that is native to Central and South America. In Florida, they are considered to be invasive pests that can ruin crops and cause damage to property. Iguanas can grow to be 12-15 inches long and weigh up to 10 pounds.
They are characterized by their green coloration, but they can also be blue, brown, purple, black, red, or orange. Iguanas have sharp claws and teeth that can pose a threat to humans. They are also good climbers and can jump from great heights.
Iguanas typically eat plants and leaves, but can also consume fruits and flowers. In Florida, iguanas are a major nuisance for homeowners and businesses due to the damage they can cause. If you spot an iguana on your property, it is best to contact a professional for removal.
5. Anole Brown
The Brown Anole is a small lizard with a long tail that is native to Cuba. It was introduced to Florida in the early 20th century and has since become established throughout the state.
The Brown Anole is brown or tan in color, with dark brown or black markings on its body. It has a bright orange-red dewlap, or skin flap, on its throat. The Brown Anole is active during the day and enjoys basking in the sun.
It is an excellent climber and can often be seen clinging to walls or trees. The Brown Anole eats small insects, such as ants and flies. It also eats other lizards, including juveniles of its own species.
In Florida, the Brown Anole is considered to be an invasive species due to its ability to outcompete native lizards for food and habitat.
Small lizards are a common sight in Florida. There are several different species of small lizards, each with its own unique appearance. Perhaps the most well-known small lizard is the green anole.
Green anoles are distinguished by their bright green coloration and long, slender tails. Another common small lizard is the brown anole. Brown anoles are brown or gray in color and have shorter tails than green anoles.
Additionally, brown anoles can change their color to match their surroundings. If you see a small lizard that is not green or brown, it is likely a gecko.
Geckos come in a variety of colors and patterns, but they are all distinguished by their large eyes and sticky toes. While small lizards may seem shy at first, they can quickly become accustomed to humans and make great pets.
6. Reef Gecko
The Reef Gecko is a small lizard that is native to North America. Adult geckos are typically 2 inches in length, while hatchlings are only 1 inch.
They are brown in color with dark brown dots, and females have three dark stripes. These lizards are nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night. They spend their days hiding behind the vegetation, and they hunt insects for food.
The Reef Gecko is an excellent pet for those who are looking for a small, low-maintenance lizard. They have a lifespan of 10 to 20 years and only require a small tank or terrarium.
If you are considering getting a Reef Gecko as a pet, be sure to research the proper care requirements so that you can provide them with a happy and healthy home.
7. Eastern Fence Lizard
The Eastern Fence Lizard is a small lizard that is found in northern Florida and parts of the southeastern United States. These lizards get their name from their habit of basking on fence posts, and they are usually brown or dark in color to help them blend in with their surroundings.
These lizards are not very big, typically only reaching 4-7.5 inches in length as adults, but they make up for their small size by being very active and entertaining to watch.
Eastern Fence Lizards are also fairly easy to take care of as pets, as they only require a small enclosure and can be fed a diet of crickets, grasshoppers, and fruit flies.
If you are looking for a fun and low-maintenance pet lizard, the Eastern Fence Lizard is a great choice.
8. Florida Scrub Lizard
The Florida Scrub Lizard is a unique reptile that is native to the state of Florida. They are relatively small in size, with adults reaching a maximum length of 5.5 inches, and their tails accounting for 3 of those inches.
They are typically gray or brown in color, with a scaled body and a brown stripe extending from their neck to their tail. Males of the species often have blue sides and necks, while females usually have very few or no blue spots at all.
These lizards prefer to live in sandy, tree-shaded environments such as scrubs, and they can be found in places like the Ocala National Forest. The Sand Pine scrubs that cover the Ocala National forest are a perfect habitat for these little creatures.
9. Six-Lined Racerunner
The Six-Lined Racerunner is a species of Lizard that is native to the southeastern United States. Adult size for this lizard is typically between 6 and 9.5 inches in length, and they have a lifespan of around six years.
These lizards are insectivores and their diet consists primarily of crickets, grasshoppers, and other small insects. One unique characteristic about this species is that they prefer hot and dry habitats such as dunes and open fields, but they are actually terrified of high temperatures and will seek shelter if the temperature gets too hot.
Male Six-Lined Racerunners have blue bellies and green throats, while females have pink or white bellies and dark black or green bodies. These lizards have velvety skin instead of glossy, scaly skin like most other lizard species.
The anole is a lizard that is native to the southeastern United States. It is a common sight in Florida, where it is also known as the green anole. The anole is a small lizard, with adults ranging in size from 5 to 8 inches.
It is a carnivore, and its diet consists of spiders, crickets, worms, moths, and beetles. The anole is able to change its coloration, which leads many people to mistake it for a chameleon.
However, the anole is typically green in color, although it may turn grey, brown, or yellow. The anole is a good climber, thanks to its sticky feet.
Male anoles have a pink dewlap on their necks, which turns red when they are ready to mate or fight. The anole is a ubiquitous lizard, and in the summer months it can often be seen basking in gardens and yards.
What’s the most common lizard in Florida?
The brown anole (Anolis sagrei) is a common lizard of the southeastern United States and can be found as far north as Virginia and as west as Texas. This species is also common on many Caribbean islands, including Cuba, the Cayman Islands, and the Bahamas.
The brown anole is believed to have arrived in Florida via ship around a century ago, and it has since become the most common lizard in developed areas of the state.
Brown anoles are small lizards with brown or greenish-brown skin. They typically grow to between 4 and 8 inches in length, with males being larger than females.
These lizards are proficient climbers and can often be seen basking on tree branches or fence posts. Brown anoles are mostly herbivorous, feeding on insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates.
While they are not considered to be harmful to humans, brown anoles can sometimes be a nuisance when they enter homes in search of food or shelter.
What are the big lizards in Florida called?
Argentine black and white tegus are the big lizards typically found in Florida. They can grow to be approximately five feet long and have a mottled black and white coloration that normally forms a banding pattern across the back and tail.
Although these lizards are not venomous, they can deliver a painful bite if they feel threatened. Argentine black and white tegus are also excellent swimmers and climbers, which makes them difficult to contain once they have invaded an area.
In recent years, these lizards have become a nuisance in Florida as they have begun to out-compete native species for food and habitat. As a result, Florida wildlife officials are working to control their population.
Can Florida lizards hurt you?
Venomous animals are typically defined as those that have a venom gland connected to hollow fangs that they use to inject their poison into their prey.
However, there are no known lizards in Florida that fit this definition. There are, however, several species of lizards in the state that do contain poisonous saliva.
These lizards can spread their toxins through bites or through contact with their skin. While the effects of these lizards’ toxins are usually not serious, they can cause discomfort and pain.
As a result, it is best to avoid handling these lizards if possible. If you must handle one of these lizards, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterward.
Why is there so many lizards in Florida?
There are a few reasons why Florida is such a perfect home for many lizards. For one, the climate is hot and humid, which is ideal for many species of lizards.
Additionally, Florida has a large number of natural systems, such as wetlands and forests, that provide the perfect habitat for these animals. Finally, Florida’s lack of predators means that these lizards can survive and thrive in this state.
As a result, it’s not surprising that Florida has become home to many invasive lizard species. While some people may enjoy seeing these creatures sunning themselves on sidewalks and in parks, others find them to be a nuisance. Either way, it’s clear that lizards are here to stay in Florida.
Florida is home to a variety of lizards, ranging in size from small to large. While none of these lizards are dangerous, some can be a nuisance.
Among the lizards that may deliver severe and bacteria-filled bites are the Nile Monitor, Tokay Gecko, Argentine Black and White Tegu, and Green Iguana.
This guide can help you identify harmless lizards and those to avoid. Some of the characteristics of harmless lizards include their small size, lack of coloration, and lack of patterns on their skin. I
n contrast, lizards that may be harmful are typically larger in size, brightly colored, and have distinct patterns on their skin. If you see a lizard that you cannot positively identify as being safe, it is best to err on the side of caution and avoid contact with it.