Lizards are found around the world. Lizards are a common reptile.

Eastern Collared Lizard

Size: The largest lizard is the Komodo monitor. It can grow longer than a person. The smallest lizard is a tiny gecko.

Characteristics: Most lizards have dry, scaly skin. They have four legs, clawed feet, and a long tail. You can see their outside ear opening.

Lizards have a weak tail. A small bump or tug will break it off. This will puzzle the enemy. The lizard can get away. Not all lizards have weak tails.

Lizard tails help in balance and movement. Fat is stored in the tail. Losing the tail can be a big problem. Some lizards can grow a new tail.

Food: Some lizards eat bugs and spiders. Others eat plants, small animals, or even other lizards.

Most lizards use their eyes to look for food. Some use their sense of smell.

Lizards have jaws with teeth. They also have teeth on the roof of their mouth.

Side-blotched Lizard

Habitat: Lizards live in deserts, forests, prairies, marshes, and rocky areas. Most lizards live on the ground or in trees.

Lizards are fun and easy to watch. They are most active on warm, summer days. On very hot days, some lizards hide.

Most lizards sleep through the winter. On warm days, they sometimes come out to eat.

Locomotion: Most lizards can run, climb, and cling. A few can swim.

People often see lizards dart over logs and rocks. They run quickly across the ground. However, some lizards have small, weak legs. These lizards move slowly.

Southeastern Five-line Skink

Reproduction: Most lizards put their eggs in a nest. Other lizards have live babies. The mother lizards do not care for their babies.
Western Whiptail

Enemies: The lizard has many enemies. Some lizards are eaten by birds. They are also eaten by animals, snakes, and other lizards.

Defenses: Some lizards break off their tails to escape enemies. Other lizards may swell up, hiss, or move their tail or body to scare an enemy. Some lizards can change colors to hide.

Few lizards are dangerous. But, be careful of lizards. Many lizards bite or have sharp spines.

Other Threats: Human are a probem for lizards. Some people eat lizards or lizard eggs. In the past, people killed lizards and sold their skin.

The lizard's habitat is sometimes destroyed by people building towns or farms.

Desert Spiny Lizard
Lizard missing its tail

Plateau Lizard, also known as Eastern Fence Lizard, Plateu Lizard, and Swift Lizard

More Information

Note: All photographs taken with a digital camera in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina, and Utah.
Developed by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 05/02.