How would you describe lizards walking? A long body, scaly skin, pointedly tail crawling on four legs! Scary, pitiful, and cute at the same time.  

Lizards are inferred as reptiles whose distribution possesses over the world. The crucial habitat of the lizards entails the trees, vegetation on the grounds, and the deserts among the rocks.

Most of the lizards are solitary. The cold-blooded nature of the lizards makes them regulate their body temperature in response to the outer environment. They may have higher adaptation to thrive in harsh terrains and climatic conditions. 

In the history of the animal kingdom, some lizards’ species are deadly venomous, while some of them are non-venomous. Some possess larger body sizes, while few of them with a minor.  

1. Green Basilisk (Basiliscus plumifrons)

Green Basilisk
Green Basilisk | Image Credit – Flickr

The green Basilisk is considered one of the excellent swimmers among the other lizard species. Because of the ability to run over the water, the term recognizes them as ‘Jesus Christ Lizards.’ 

The primary distribution of this lizard entails the tropical rainforest of Central America. Naturally, they are omnivorous and consume invertebrates, mice, and occasional fruit, depending on food availability. 

Concerning the dimension of the green basilisk lizard, they are 3 feet. The basic requirements of this lizard include higher temperatures and humidity along with the enclosures. The life span of the lizard is 8 to 12 years. 

2. Gidgee Skink (Egernia stokesii)

Gidgee Skink
Gidgee Skink | Image Credit – Flickr

Since most lizards are solitary naturally, they are considered unique because of their abundance in the group. They are from the Australian native group. It possesses 7 to 10 inches in size and prefers higher temperatures. 

It feeds on many insects and vegetable species. Their primary preference is in and outside their tank, with a fast-moving trait. They are costly to purchase and are kept as pets by the owner. 

This species requires a tank having a size of roughly 40 gallons. The basking area of the Gidgee skink reaches up to 120oF. They can thrive over 20 years. 

3. Gargoyle Gecko (Rhacodactylus auriculatus)

Gargoyle Gecko
Gargoyle Gecko | Image Credit – Flickr

Gargoyle Gecko is the species that resembles the crested Gecko having large and slit eyes. The primary difference between the Gargoyle Gecko and the Crested Geckos is that the Gargoyle Gecko lacks spiny eyelashes. 

The principal requirement of this species is the inclusion of tanking, lighting, and heating. It is shy, temperamental, and timid. When the people try to handle it down, they likely escape because they are more familiar and prefer the tank.

Their life span varies from 10 to 15 years and reaches up to 8 inches to the maximum. The owners of this species who keep them as pets are easy to care for and handle. 

4. Savannah monitor (Varanus exanthematicus)

Savannah monitor
Savannah monitor | Image Credit – Flickr

One of the monitor lizards seems less familiar than the other lizards. The savannah monitor is more extensive and less docile than the Ackies monitor. People desire to keep it as a pet because of its docile nature. 

The native lizards of the African savannah monitor lizard are 2.5 to 3 feet long and are inferred to be giant pets. Because of their larger size, they require larger housing. Once they escape, it will be challenging to follow them. 

Thus, considering a large enclosure is essential to the savannah monitor lizards. Since they prefer digging, a substrate looks crucial for this species. 

The principal food of this lizard species entails invertebrates, and other mice species. The savannah monitor lizard is very tamable, likely of the Ackies monitor. Gentle handling could be best for beginners who want them as pet lizards. They do thrive for 15 to 20 years. 

5. Chameleon (Chamaeleo sp)

Chameleon
Chameleon | Image Credit – Flickr

The Chameleon is known well for its great traits such as telescopic eyes, color-changing capacity according to time and environment, claws, and slow movements. They feel very significant sparing their time in the wilderness, but it requires special care upon captivity. 

They could act as an entertaining display species. This species is a native African species. Because of their shy nature, they could not defend themselves heavily. They may not be aggressive to their pet owners. In the wild, they could highly defend themselves. 

They are 1 to 27 inches and survive for two years in captivity. Their length depends on the species. Despite holding the docile trait by the Chameleon, they seem more complicated to care for than other lizard species. 

6. Chinese water dragon (Physignathus cocincinus)

Chinese water dragon
Chinese water dragon | Image Credit – Flickr

The water dragon is of several species. Among them are the common Australian and the Chinese water dragons. The Chinese water dragon is more popular compared to the Australian. 

Because of its necessity of higher humidity level, exceptional care is required for the owners. They prefer to stay and thrive in the larger enclosure and the highly regulated temperatures. Their food consumption includes an insectivorous diet. They feed on leafy vegetables as well. 

Intending to provide adequate care for the Chinese water dragon, they require larger tanks that comprise 4 to 6 feet. Since they can reach up to 3 feet, they need to adjust to the more extensive tanking system. 

They reflect very aggressive behavior from a very early age in various forms such as head bobbing and arm waving. They enjoy handling. 

The average lifespan of this species is 20 to 25 years. Because of their specific husbandry, they could easily adjust to the larger room in captivity. 

7. Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis)

Green Anole
Green Anole | Image Credit – Flickr

Throughout the globe, green anoles are distributed to the southeastern part of the United States and some regions of the Caribbean. This species is under the people’s choice because of bright red dewlaps under its chin. It looks attractive because of its bright green body. 

Despite holding a small size, they possess long tails. To better exist in captivity, one could arrange the housing, establishing a 20-gallon enclosure. It also highly requires light, temperature, and humidity, likely the other lizard species. 

It is highly considered for beginners who wish to keep it as a pet because of its convenient caring and smaller body size. The one specialty to be noted is that its excellent care entails the live plants. 

The live plants seem substantial for this species, basically in the terrarium for hiding and licking the dewdrops to recreate their habitat. 

The green anole looks pretty shy and is roughly 5 to 8 inches long. It probably neglects the handling and includes the shorter life span ranging between 3 to 6 years

8. Crested Gecko (Correlophus ciliatus)

Crested Gecko
Crested Gecko | Image Credit – Flickr

They hold the perfect eyelashes which travel from their eyes towards their tail. They are very fond of climbing, supported by their webbed feet, thus requiring a taller tank. 

Besides this, their requirements are a warmer environment and the humidity having higher content. 

Crested Gecko naturally is nocturnal, showing no requirements for lighting. For running the cycle of natural circadian rhythm, two to four hours’ light is adequate for them. 

Keeping it in captivity looks pretty convenient for this docile reptile species since they do not bite at all. It could grow up to 8 inches long, and its life span includes roughly ten years and over.

9. Bearded Dragon (Pogona sp)

Bearded Dragon
Bearded Dragon | Image Credit – Flickr

The bearded dragon seems friendly to humans. Once they trust their caretakers, they quickly get adjusted to them. 

Their habitat includes wide ranges and is endemic to the warmer climates in Australia. They are fond of spending a considerable time basking in lights and the larger area to roam around. 

When they feel a threat, they get hidden for their security. The bearded dragon enjoys themselves highly when they get healthy and a favorable environment to sustain themselves. 

10. Leopard Gecko (Eublepharis macularius)

Leopard Gecko
Leopard Gecko | Image Credit – Flickr

It is recognized as the most popular type among the geckos and pet lizards in the trade. The term ‘leopard’ was embedded in this species because of the distribution of black and brown spots with the base yellow-tan to its body, which resembles the leopard body figure.  

Under the adult stage, they measure roughly seven to ten inches long and are easy to handle and care for in captivity. A fascinating trait the leopard gecko holds is they do not comprise the sticky toe pads, despite being included in the gecko family. 

Since the gecko species are meant to be known for the sticky toe pads, it has not differentiated them from the gecko family. They spare most of their time, resting either inside a shelter or exploring its territory. 

11. Uromastyx (Uromastyx geyri)

Uromastyx
Uromastyx | Image Credit – Flickr

Uromastyx is very rare to find and hates topical environments. They have arrived from northern Africa and the middle east. Thus, they usually prefer arid climates. For its better habitat, they require rocks, sand, and massive heat. 

They are fond of residing in temperatures over 120 Degree Fahrenheit for basking. Warmer temperatures do highly support their life. 

12. Green Iguanas (Iguanas iguanas)

Green Iguanas
Green Iguanas | Image Credit – Flickr

Astoundingly, the green iguanas are herbivorous, indicating easier feeding for the lizard pet owners. They grow 6 feet long and require adequate space for their growth. Additionally, there should be a water pool in their tank. 

They seem very friendly and tame. It could be the best and most beautiful companions to keep it in captivity. 

13. Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum

Gila monster
Gila monster | Image Credit – Flickr

The Gila monster is regarded as one of the most poisonous lizards worldwide, which reside in the southwestern regions and arid parts of Mexico. It is 60 cm in length and weighs massive. 

They hold venom in their eight well-developed venom glands in the lower jaws and have enough venom to kill roughly two adult humans. This species has had several fatalities, which led to around 34 people being bitten, mainly from captivity. The bite is always considered venomous. 

When a Gila monster bites the victim using its sharp and fragile teeth and may embed in the victim, it wounds once it lets go of the victim. 

Because of the massive poisonous glands in their bodies, the Gila monster is considered one of the most dangerous lizards around the globe.

14. Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis)

Komodo dragon
Komodo dragon | Image Credit – Flickr

Komodo dragon is a well-known venomous lizard all across the world. The size reaches up to 3 meters long and weighs 70 kg. These lizards possess venom in their body parts including glands. 

Once they bite their prey, it has enough capacity to spread bacteria through saliva during biting to the victim’s wound and is responsible for causing the sepsis. 

Despite its ability to feed on the carrion, they efficiently hunt live prey. This species has been listed under the threatened category. Thus, the protection activities are forwarded to conserve the Komodo dragon for a prolonged period. 

15. Argus or yellow-spotted monitor (Varanus panoptes)

Argus or yellow-spotted monitor
Argus or yellow-spotted monitor | Image Credit – Flickr

Argus lizards are very familiar in terms of venomous lizards. Their distribution includes Australia. The males could grow up to 140 cm while that of females to 90 cm long. 

They live near water bodies and terrestrial habitats. Upon need, they live in the existing burrows thus, known by the excellent burrowers.

The diet composition of the yellow-spotted lizard includes small vertebrates and invertebrates. A fascinating fact that this species comprises is that it is very mobile and could catch the prey easier than other venomous lizards. 

16. Earless monitor lizard (Lanthanotus borneensis)

Earless monitor lizard
Earless monitor lizard | Image Credit – Flickr

Earless lizards inhabit the tropical forest near rivers and other water bodies. It is endemic to some areas of Asian countries. Astoundingly, they are not deaf despite lacking some hearing structures. They could emit certain types of sounds. 

Earless lizards measure up to 40 cm long. Because of being carnivorous, they consume fishes, worms, and several crustacean species. 

Naturally, they are nocturnal. Considering the venom, it is not always venom. But unfortunately, the glands which it possesses emit toxic substances have been recently discovered. 

Despite possessing the venom gland, their bites do not remain lethal to humans. This species comprises the anticoagulant effects, showing that their prey could face problems stemming from the blood flow. 

17. Guatemalan beaded lizard (Heloderma charlesbogerti)

Guatemalan beaded lizard
Guatemalan beaded lizard | Image Credit – Flickr

Guatemalan beaded lizards are familiar with the term ‘Motagua Valley beaded lizard’ since this species is confined to the Motagua Valley in Guatemala. Their habit entails dry forests. 

This venomous species consumes insects and eggs. Their body consists of black with irregular patches and bears arboreal habits reflecting that they spend primarily in trees. 

Over the years, illegal trade and habitat destruction have threatened this species. Thus, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) categorized Guatemalan beaded lizards under the Endangered category.

18. African fire skink (Lepidothyris fernandi)

African fire skink
African fire skink | Image Credit – Flickr

The name is enough to understand that its major distribution is in Africa. African fire skink comprises bright red colors. It is a small lizard species that is only 14-15 inches long. 

For the proper care of this species, basic husbandry looks pretty imperative. The skinks require a substrate to dig despite needless specific heating or lighting. This species feeds on the insects, but a pinky mouse is occasional. 

African fire skink is elusive. The average lifespan of this species is for 15 to 20 years. It is a very energetic and high personality lizard. 

19. Gold-Dust Day Gecko (Phelsuma laticauda)

Gold-Dust Day Gecko
Gold-Dust Day Gecko | Image Credit – Flickr

It is a native species of Madagascar. But recently, its distribution covers even the Hawaiian Islands. The gold-dust day gecko consumes insects, but the occasional diet may include fruits. 

Because the name ‘Gold-Dust Day’ infers gold specks in their dorsal side .’ They reach roughly 5 to 6 inches. It requires numerous logs and branches to get hidden in. 

This shy species is very fond of climbing, and their skins are torn easily. It is a pretty lovely lizard whose life span reaches approximately ten years. 

20. Spiny-tailed monitor (Varanus acanthurus)

Spiny-tailed monitor
Spiny-tailed monitor | Image Credit – Flickr

The term ‘spiny-tailed monitor’ was owed to this species because of the spiny structures in their tail. The color reddish brown comprises the yellow patches in several body parts. 

The spiny stripes in their body are meant for defending themselves against the larger predators. Spiny-tailed monitor prefers the raid regions and has a small size. Their diet comprises small mammals and insects. 

Most important, they dig the burrows intended to excavate the prey which comes around them. 

Comparison table

Lizard speciesScientific nameLocation/HabitatLife spanColorSize (max)Differentiating feature
Green Basilisk Basiliscus plumifronsThe tropical rainforest of Central America8-12 yearsgreen3 feetsExcellent swimmers
Gidgee Skink Egernia stokesiiQueensland, south, and western Australia20 yearsReddish brown7 to 10 inchesHigher abundance in a group
Gargoyle Gecko Rhacodactylus auriculatusNew Caledonian mainland10 to 15 years8 inchesRegeneration of tail once drops
Savannah monitor Varanus exanthematicusSouth Sahara Africa desert15 to 20 yearsBrown to gray2.5 to 3 feet longDifficult to follow once escape
Chameleon Chamaeleo spNative Africa2 years in captivityGreenish brown1 to 27 inchesTelescopic eyes
Chinese water dragon Physignathus cocincinusChina and mainland of Southeast Asia20 to 25 yearsBetween light and dark green4 to 6 feetRequires more extensive tanking system
Green Anole Anolis carolinensissoutheastern part of the United States and some regions of the Caribbean3 to 6 yearsGray brown to brown, or bright green5 to 8 inches longLonger tails
Crested Gecko Correlophus ciliatusNative to Australia10 years and overPale cream to dark, near balck8 inches longPerfect eyelashes, fosn of climbing
Bearded Dragon Pogona spWestern Australia`15 to 18 yearsGray, orange, brown, black40 to 61 cm from head to tailEndemic to the warmer climate
Leopard Gecko Eublepharis maculariusNepal, India, Pakistan, Iran15 yearsBlack, brown, yellow7 to 10 inches longLacks sticky toe pad despite belonging to the gecko family
Uromastyx Uromastyx geyriNorthern Africa or Egypt25 yearsBeige or orange with lighter spots34 cm with tailHates tropical environment, brightest coloured species and very fond of basking
Green Iguanas Iguanas iguanasMexico to central America, Brazil12-15 yearsGreen or bluish- green6 feetRequire adequate space for the growth 
Gila monster Heloderma suspectumSouthwest regions and arid parts of Mexico20 yearsYellow pink or orange60 cm in lengthMost poisonous lizards, possess enough venom to kill roughly adult humans
Komodo dragon Varanus komodoensisIndonesia’s Lesser Sunda Island25 yearsBlack to yellow gray 3 m longSpread bacteria through saliva during biting
Argus or yellow-spotted monitor lizardVaranus panoptesSouthern New Guinea of Australia12 to 20 yearsDark brown to reddish brown to yellowish90 to 140 cmExcellent burrowers 
Earless lizard Lanthanotus borneensissub-Sahara of Africa6 to 7 yearsbrown40 cm longNocturnal, possess toxic substances in glands
Guatemalan beaded lizard Heloderma charlesbogertiMotagua valley in Guatemalablack76 cm longIrregular patch in body
African fire skink Lepidothyris fernandiAfrica15 to 20 yearsBright red14 to 15 inches longRequires a substrate to dig
Gold-Dust Day Gecko Phelsuma laticaudaNative species of Madagascar10 yearsBright or yellowish green or rarely even blue5 to 6 inchesHides in logs and branches and fond of climbing
Spiny-tailed monitorVaranus AcanthurusNative to northern Australia15 to 20 yearsReddish brown50 to 70 cmDig burrows to excavate prey

Kalpana Ghimire holds a post-graduate degree in Environmental Science from Nepal. She possesses numerous research experiences working in water pollution, community forestry, environment conservation status, and wildlife ecology. She was an internee in the Department of Environment (EIA monitoring and auditing section) under the Government of Nepal. Kalpana Ghimire is an avid traveler, an enthusiastic wildlife researcher, and has a huge passion for working in the environment sector. She loves far traveling to the natural areas, conducting field wildlife research and reading the novels.