Florida Lizards: 25 Common Lizards of Florida & Pictures

Florida is a unique home to dozens of lizard species from across the world. Its long shape and position in the Gulf of Mexico create a wide range of ecosystems. It is also an important trading port for the global pet and exotic animal trade.

These factors, unfortunately, make Florida a high-risk area for invasive reptiles.

Today there are over two times the number of invasive vs native lizards in Florida. This diversity brings herpetologists from around the country to catch a glimpse of them.

Interested in what lizards Florida has to offer?

Continue reading for a complete list of all the lizards in Florida and how to identify them. We also share pictures of each species and where you might find them…

Common Lizards Of Florida

Florida Lizards Social

Florida lizards come in all sizes, shapes, and species.

In total, Florida has 12 lizard families, consisting of 17 native and 39 invasive species. This means there are over 50 different types of Lizards in Florida. Below is a table of the most common Florida lizard species:

Common Name Native Species Appearance Rank
Bark Anole No Gray with darker gray mottled patterns and a pink or white dewlap. 8
Broadhead Skink Yes Reddish brown with an orange head. 6
Brown Anole No Dark brown with light yellow speckles and a stripe along the back. Red dewlap ringed with yellow 1
Brown Basilisk No Tan or brown with white stripes along the face and shoulders. 14
Butterfly Lizard No Brown with white spots on the back, black bands on the side and bright orange skin flaps. 20
Coal Skink Yes Dark brown or black with a darker stripe along each side and a dark blue tail. 18
Eastern Fence Lizard Yes Tan with zigzag brown and white lines. 7
Florida Scrub Lizard Yes Light tan with a darker side stripe. 23
Florida Sand Skink Yes Light gray with a dark stripe through the eye. 24
Florida Worm Lizard Yes Solid pale pink or tan. 25
Green Anole Yes Solid lime green or brown. 2
Green Iguana No Bright green to orange and black bands on the tail. 3
Jamaican Giant Anole No Olive green with faint gray bands on the ribcage and white ring around their eyes. 17
Knight Anole No Bright green, white lips, white stripe on each shoulder and a light speckling along the sides. 12
Mediterranean House Gecko No Light gray to pink with dark leopard spots on the body and dark bands on the tail. 4
Nile Monitor No Black with alternating white spots and broken bands along the face, body, and tail. 16
Northern Mole Skink Yes Brown or black head fading to an orange tail. 21
Oustalet’s Chameleon No Brown, orange or white with dark mottled bands along the back and tail and white splotches across the sides. 22
Rainbow Whiptail No Bright aqua head, legs, and tail and a light green body with a dark stripe along its back. 11
Six-Lined Racerunner Yes Black with six white stripes from head to tail. 9
Slender Glass Lizard Yes Tan with a white underbelly and a brown stripe along the back. 15
Southeastern Five-Lined Skink Yes Black with five yellow lines and blue tail. 5
Texas Horned Lizard No Orange to sand-colored with darker brown back spots and star-shaped dark marking around the eyes. 19
Tropical House Gecko No Light pink to tan with dark and light M-shaped bands across the whole body. 10

The four most widespread lizard families are:

  1. Anoles
  2. Geckos
  3. Agamas
  4. Skinks

Wherever you are in Florida, you have an almost certain chance of catching a glimpse of at least one member of these families.

Anoles

Anoles are small, slender lizards. They are known for the brightly colored dewlaps displayed by males during the breeding season.

Most anoles found in urban areas are brown or green. They are a common sight across all of peninsular Florida. Green anoles are native to Florida, while brown anoles were introduced from the Caribbean.

Geckos

Geckos are small, nocturnal, and normally live in trees. They use special folds of skin on their fingers and toes to cling to nearly smooth surfaces. This makes them some of the best climbers of all reptiles.

There are 12 types of Geckos that call Florida home.

You will most likely only see the Mediterranean and tropical house species. These two Geckos can be found on ceilings and under awnings at night, where they hunt for insects. They are also unusual because they make short, high-pitched vocalizations to communicate.

Agamas

Agamas are colorful, heat-loving reptiles. They have no trouble dealing with Florida’s warm temperatures and are often found in suburban areas in the middle of the day.

All Agamas here are invasive; none are native to the United States.

The spiderman Agama is an unmistakable species with a bright red upper body and a dark blue back end. Another common Agama is the redhead, which has a red-orange head, black body, and orange tail.

Skinks

Finally, you will almost certainly see skinks in all parts of Florida, just not blue tongued skinks.

Skinks are smooth and slender lizards that typically have a long body and short legs. They have hard, shiny scales.

Florida has six native and three invasive species of skink. Broadhead, five-lined, and southeastern five-lined species are the most common.

25 Most Common Florida Lizards

1. Brown Anole

Brown Anole

The invasive Brown Anole (Anolis sangrei) is very similar in shape and size to Florida’s native green anole, aside from its color.

These anoles are tan, gray, and brown, with a cream-colored belly that fades into brown on the sides. Brown anoles also have dark stripes running down their backs, though these can be hard to spot.

  • Range: Entire state.
  • Commonly Found: Urban and suburban areas on fences, sidewalks, and tree limbs.
  • Size: 5 to 8 inches.
  • Color: Brown.
  • Identification Mark: Red dewlap with a yellow border.

2. Green Anole

Green Anole

The green anole (Anolis carolinensis) is one of the most common lizards in Florida, and they are not hard to miss.

Green anoles are typically bright, lime green with a white throat and underbelly. But, when stressed or cold, these lizards will turn dark brown while keeping their white throat marking. The invasive brown anole does not have the distinct white throat, lips, and underbelly.

Male green anoles have long fingers and a pink dewlap with white speckles. They will show their pink dewlap while doing a head-bobbing movement to attract mates.

  • Range: Entire state.
  • Commonly Found: Rooftops, trees, and fences in rural, urban and suburban areas.
  • Size: 5 to 8 inches.
  • Color: Green.
  • Identification Mark: Pink dewlap.

3. Green Iguana

Green Iguana

It is hard to mistake a Green Iguana (Iguana iguana) for anything else. This species is one of the largest lizards in Florida and is known for its long, whiplike tail that it lashes in self-defense.

Iguanas come in many shades of green, with some older males turning almost orange. They have long spines along their backs, and black bands on their tails. They can also be recognized by the flaps of skin around their heads and necks, and the unusual large, circular scale on each cheek.

In Florida’s southern tip, it is almost impossible not to find a green iguana. Though they do climb, most iguanas will also be found basking on the ground.

  • Range: Southern Florida along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.
  • Commonly Found: Alongside canals, swimming pools, gardens, sidewalks, beaches, or on low-hanging tree limbs.
  • Size: 5 to 6 feet.
  • Color: Yellow-green to gray-green.
  • Identification Mark: Circular scale on each cheek.

4. Mediterranean House Gecko

Mediterranean House Gecko

The Mediterranean House Gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus) is a small gecko with large eyes. Like most geckos, it has no eyelids and cleans its eyes with its tongue.

Mediterranean House Geckos are speckled with darker tan and white spots on their back, head and legs. These speckles turn into thin bands on the tail. The Mediterranean house gecko can be distinguished from the tropical house gecko by its speckled pattern.

These geckos are very common around outdoor light fixtures. At night they hunt for bugs attracted to the light.

  • Range: Entire state, especially southeastern edge.
  • Commonly Found: Urban areas near outdoor light fixtures, awnings and windows at night.
  • Size: 4 to 5 inches.
  • Color: Pale pink or gray.
  • Identification Mark: Dark spots and banded tail.

5. Southeastern Five-Lined Skink

Southeastern Five-Lined Skink

The Southeastern Five-Lined Skink (Plestiodon inexpectatus) is one of the most common lizards in Florida. It is often found basking on sidewalks, fenceposts, or patios in urban and suburban areas.

Juveniles are black with blue tails, similar to young broadhead skinks. Adults are completely black or dark brown, with a muddy orange head. This species can be distinguished from the closely related broadhead by their five white stripes, which run down their back and fade away at the tail.

  • Range: Entire state, except the southernmost coast.
  • Commonly Found: Dry forests, near buildings, lawns, and gardens, sidewalks.
  • Size: 5 to 8.5 inches.
  • Color: Black or dark brown.
  • Identification Mark: Five white stripes.

6. Broadhead Skink

Broadhead Skink

The Broadhead Skink (Plestiodon laticeps) is the largest skink in Florida. They are so big they will occasionally catch and eat other lizards. Typically, broadheads are found in urban and suburban areas in the northern half of Florida, near parks, tree groves, and gardens.

Juvenile broadhead skinks look almost identical to five-lined skinks, but will change as they mature.

Adults are brown, with faint black stripes along their sides and a patternless back. Males develop a dark red and orange head that is wide and triangular, giving them a strong bite. Females are slimmer and do not have the red head.

  • Range: Northern to middle Florida.
  • Commonly Found: Tree branches, trunks, swamps and forests.
  • Size: 10 to 13 inches.
  • Color: Brown and orange.
  • Identification Mark: Smooth brown body.

7. Eastern Fence Lizard

Eastern Fence Lizard

Florida’s Eastern Fence Lizard (Sceloporus undulatus) is a relatively small and plain lizard. They can be yellowish tan, light gray or almost black.

All eastern fence lizards have a row of W-shaped dark lines along their backs, with each line bordered by a lighter edge. Males have vibrant patches of aqua on either side of their underbelly, along with a large patch on their throat.

Though these lizards may look like brown anoles, they have bigger heads and shorter tails.

  • Range: Northern and middle Florida.
  • Commonly Found: Near rock piles, logs and stumps on the edges of fields, farmlands, and forests.
  • Size: 4 to 7.5 inches.
  • Color: Gray and brown.
  • Identification Mark: W-shaped pattern on the back.

8. Bark Anole

Bark Anole

The Bark Anole (Anolis distichus) is one of Florida’s smallest anoles. These little lizards are commonly found on tree trunks, and are difficult to spot because of their mottled color.

Most bark anoles found in Florida are dark brown or gray with a salt-and-pepper pattern of black and tan spots. Some individuals can have a green tint as well, especially on the front half of the body. The most unique characteristic of this species is its vibrant dark red dewlap, which has a bright yellow border.

  • Range: Southern Florida.
  • Commonly Found: Clinging to tree trunks or fence posts in shaded forest patches.
  • Size: 3 to 5 inches.
  • Color: Mottled brown.
  • Identification Mark: Dark red dewlap.

9. Six-Lined Racerunner

Six-Lined Racerunner

The Six-Lined Racerunner (Aspidoscelis sexlineatus) is a speedy lizard that is native to all parts of Florida. They are long and slender with a tail nearly twice as long as their body.

This species is black with a white throat and belly, which sometimes is tinted blue in males. Males, females, and juveniles all have six yellow lines that run from the tip of the snout to the tip of the tail.

  • Range: Entire state.
  • Commonly Found: Woodlands, floodplains, outcroppings, and grasslands.
  • Size: 6 to 9.5 inches.
  • Color: Black.
  • Identification Mark: Six yellow stripes.

10. Tropical House Gecko

Tropical House Gecko

The Tropical House Gecko (Hemidactylus mabouia) is a small, pink, nocturnal lizard that is almost identical to the Mediterranean house gecko. The only difference is this lizard has a faint pattern of M-shaped bands that run from the neck down to the tail. The Mediterranean house gecko is speckled.

Tropical Geckos are often found in southern Florida. They congregate under roof awnings, ceilings, and outdoor light fixtures. They are easy to find at night with a flashlight.

  • Range: South and Central Florida.
  • Commonly Found: Roof awnings, ceilings, and outdoor lighting.
  • Size: 3 to 5 inches.
  • Color: Pink or gray.
  • Identification Mark: Solid bands.

11. Rainbow Whiptail

Rainbow Whiptail

The Rainbow Whiptail (Cnemidophorus lemniscatus) is an eye-catching lizard that was introduced to Florida from the pet trade.

Rainbow whiptails live up to their name as a long, colorful lizard. They have a bright blue head and shoulders, an orange-green midsection, and a lime green tail and hind legs. Their sides, tail, and legs are dotted with white spots, and they have a series of brown, white, and tan stripes along their backs.

Large males are the brightest and most colorful, whereas females are slightly duller.

If you are looking for a rainbow whiptail, try searching along canals and undisturbed beaches, especially near a forest edge.

  • Range: Southeastern Florida.
  • Commonly Found: Forests, mangroves, and forested beaches.
  • Size: 10 to 12 inches.
  • Color: Green and blue.
  • Identification Mark: Aqua coloration.

12. Knight Anole

Knight Anole

The Knight Anole (Anolis equestris) looks like a small Iguana, but it is actually more closely related to green and brown anoles. They are one of the largest anole species and can reach 20 inches in length.

Knight Anoles are lime green with a light yellowish-white line of scales along their mouths. They also have a distinctive white stripe on each shoulder blade.

This anole can be found almost anywhere in southeastern Florida. Search the trunks of trees or low-hanging branches in urban parks or backyards and you are sure to find one.

  • Range: Southeastern Florida.
  • Commonly Found: Trunks of ficus, mango, umbrella, and mahogany trees.
  • Size: 13 to 20 inches.
  • Color: Bright green.
  • Identification Mark: Pale pink dewlap.

13. Ocellated Skink

Ocellated Skink

The Ocellated Skink (Chalcides ocellatus) has the famous glossy scales and pointed head that all skinks have. However, their color can vary quite a bit between individuals. Most are olive tan with a cream throat and underbelly. They are speckled with a salt-and pepper pattern and an especially noticeable checkerboard pattern around the mouth.

  • Range: Central Florida.
  • Commonly Found: Open ground on farmland, grasslands, and prairie.
  • Size: 6 to 12 inches.
  • Color: Tan.
  • Identification Mark: Shovel-shaped head.

14. Brown Basilisk

Brown Basilisk

The Brown Basilisk (Basiliscus vittatus) is the most unique of all Florida’s invasive lizards. These long, slender lizards have a noticeable head crest that showcases their triangular heads.

This species has a uniform dark brown body with two white stripes. This color, along with their head crest, allows them to stand out among Florida’s wildlife.

Basilisk lizards are often found close to water. They have long legs and extremely thin toes that allow them to run across the surface of water without sinking. This is their primary escape method from predators.

  • Range: Southern Florida.
  • Commonly Found: Near water in swamps, floodplains, canals, rivers, or wetlands.
  • Size: 15 to 25 inches.
  • Color: Brown.
  • Identification Mark: Head crest.

15. Slender Glass Lizard

Slender Glass Lizard

The Slender Glass Lizard (Ophisaurus attenuatus) looks just like a snake at first glance. It is long, legless, and slithers to move. However, the presence of eyelids and external ear openings makes this reptile a lizard, not a snake.

This species often takes cover under debris during the hottest parts of the day. Lifting groundcover like wood planks or rocks can let you catch a glimpse of a glass lizard. This slender lizard is brown on its back, with black stripes along the side and a white underbelly.

Glass lizards have a unique groove along either side of the body, just below the ear. This groove can detect noise and movement, similar to an ear.

  • Range: Entire state.
  • Commonly Found: In grasslands, dry forests, fields, farmland and dry prairie.
  • Size: 22 to 42 inches.
  • Color: Brown, black, and white.
  • Identification Mark: Stripe along the back.

16. Nile Monitor

Nile Monitor

The Nile Monitor (Varanus niloticus) is one of the largest monitor lizards in the world. They can even rival some alligators for size at over five feet.

Nile Monitors are typically black or dull green with thin yellow bands on the back of the head and neck. These bands dissipate into light speckles that eventually reform thicker bands down the tail. Nile monitors have long, tall tails that they use for propulsion through the water, making them excellent swimmers.

You are most likely to see a Nile monitor on the edges of developed areas, close to a body of water. They often like to bask on the side of irrigation canals or streams.

  • Range: Southwest Florida along the Gulf coast.
  • Commonly Found: Swamps, forests and canals.
  • Size: 5 to 6.5 feet.
  • Color: Green, black, or olive.
  • Identification Mark: White spotted pattern.

17. Jamaican Giant Anole

Jamaican Giant Anole

The Jamaican Giant Anole (Anolis garmani) is a bright green lizard that looks similar to the green anole. However, is easily recognizable because of its solid color and spiny backbone. The giant anole has a yellow ring around its eye and iguana-like spines along its back and tail, but it is not an Iguana.

The Jamaican giant anole was introduced to Miami from Jamaica in the 1970s. It can now be found across all southern Florida, both on the coasts and inland. It is usually spotted high up in tree clusters in suburban and rural areas.

  • Range: Southern Florida.
  • Commonly Found: High on tree trunks and in tree canopies.
  • Size: 3 to 5 inches.
  • Color: Green.
  • Identification Mark: Yellow dewlap.

18. Coal Skink

Coal Skink

The Coal Skink (Plestiodon antrhacinus) is a secretive lizard that prefers to live in rural areas away from development. They are brown or black and have four light stripes with two thicker dark stripes in between each pair of light stripes.

Any skink that is black (or almost black) is a type of coal skink.

Coal skinks have blunter heads than the five-lined skink, and no stripe along the spine.

  • Range: Northwestern Florida.
  • Commonly Found: Leaf litter in forests.
  • Size: 5 to 8 inches.
  • Color: Beige to black.
  • Identification Mark: Dark side stripe.

19. Texas Horned Lizard

Texas Horned Lizard

The Texas Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum) is an easy-to-spot reptile that looks like a toad because of its round, flat body, short head, and extremely stubby tail. This species lives up to its name by being covered in spiny horns. It has four large horns on the back of its head and its back and sides are covered in spines.

Horned lizards have a light tan or orangey-brown color, with four rows of darker, circular spots down their back. They have excellent camouflage and are well-adapted to hot, dry, and sandy areas.

  • Range: Northeast and Northwest Florida.
  • Commonly Found: Dry prairie, grassland, and arid farmland, near rocks or bushes.
  • Size: 2.5 to 4.5 inches.
  • Color: Tan or orange.
  • Identification Mark: Facial markings.

20. Butterfly Lizard

Butterfly Lizard

The Butterfly Lizard (Leiolepis belliana) is a medium-sized species of agama. It was introduced to Florida in the 1990s to be sold as a pet.

They are named for the expandable flaps of skin on either side of their ribcage. These skin flaps can extend out to flash a vibrant orange and black pattern. When the skin is folded up, the butterfly lizard is rather plain. It has a tan or beige body with a white throat and belly.

Butterfly Lizards are now invasive to Florida. This species likes open ground away from trees, and is mostly spotted along highways or in fields.

  • Range: Southern Florida on the Atlantic coast.
  • Commonly Found: Roadsides, fields (near clusters of rocks or fence posts) and farmlands.
  • Size: 12 to 15 inches.
  • Color: Tan and White.
  • Identification Mark: Orange skin flaps.

21. Northern Mole Skink

Northern Mole Skink

The Northern Mole (Plestiodon egregius) is a species of skink from the dry, sandy hills of north Florida. This species is a good burrower and will spend most of the day buried underground, either in their own burrows or in tunnels dug by gopher snakes.

This mole skink is dark, reddish brown with four parallel white stripes down its back. The hind limbs and tail are both bright, pinkish orange.

  • Range: Northern Florida.
  • Commonly Found: Sandhills and scrubland, near gopher mounds.
  • Size: 3.5 to 6 inches.
  • Color: Brown and orange.
  • Identification Mark: Orange tail.

22. Oustalet’s Chameleon

Oustalet’s Chameleon

The Oustalet’s Chameleon (Furcifer oustaleti), also called the Malagasy giant chameleon, is one of the largest chameleons in the world. They can grow up to 27 inches long.

These large chameleons are not as colorful as other species, so they can be hard to spot in tree branches. If you want to find one, try going out at night with a flashlight and searching tree canopies. They are the easiest to find in fruit trees (like oranges) or thickets.

Males are tan with black and brown dotted stripes, a striped tail, and a small, rounded head crest. Females are green with a series of white spots along their sides. This species can change colors to a dark red, black, and white pattern when disturbed or upset.

  • Range: Southeastern Florida.
  • Commonly Found: Fruit tree groves, shrubs, and branches.
  • Size: 20 to 27 inches.
  • Color: Tan.
  • Identification Mark: Head crest.

23. Florida Scrub Lizard

Florida Scrub Lizard

The Scrub Lizard (Sceloporus woodi) is a fairly small and hardy lizard that is typically found in dry habitats like the sandhills, farm fields, and grasslands of central Florida.

These lizards are gray to tan with a dark brownish-orange stripe down each side of the body. This stripe runs from the base of the neck to the start of the tail. Males have an aqua stripe and aqua shoulder patches too. Females have several wavy stripes, while males have no pattern.

  • Range: Central Florida.
  • Commonly Found: Near the bases of trees, stumps, or bushes.
  • Size: 4 to 5 inches.
  • Color: Brown, tan, and gray.
  • Identification Mark: Dark stripe along the sides.

24. Florida Sand Skink

Florida Sand Skink

The Florida Sand Skink (Neoseps renoldsi) looks almost identical to a glass lizard. However, you will spot its tiny, arms and legs. Each front limb has only one toe, while each back limb has two.

To help it dig, this species has a sharp, flattened head for “swimming” through the sand dunes.

This lizard is light gray to beige, with dark and light speckles that allow it to blend in easily to its sandy habitat. The sand skink also has a darker stripe through each eye that transitions into speckles further down the neck.

  • Range: Central Florida.
  • Commonly Found: Sand ridges, dunes, and scrub flatlands.
  • Size: 3 to 5 inches.
  • Color: Beige.
  • Identification Mark: Pointy head.

25. Florida Worm Lizard

Florida Worm Lizard

The Florida Worm Lizard (Rhineura floridana) looks almost identical to an earthworm. They are small, thin, legless, and even have darker rings along their body, just like a worm. They also live a very worm-like lifestyle, spending their entire lives underground, hunting for small invertebrates like termites.

The best way to identify a Florida worm lizard is by looking for dry, rough scales and jaws. Real worms do not have jaws or scales.

  • Range: Central Florida.
  • Commonly Found: Underground, in central Florida’s oak forests and sandhills.
  • Size: 7 to 15 inches.
  • Color: Pink.
  • Identification Mark: Worm-like.

Summary

Florida is a fantastic state for spotting lizards.

Not only does Florida have 17 native species like the Florida worm lizard or the green anole, but also 39 invasive species originating from all across the globe. Some of the most common invasive species are the green iguana and brown anole.

The best way to see Florida’s lizards is to make a list before your trip and learn which lizards live where. Depending on the species, it may be best to search for a lizard in treetops, near canals, or in a city park.

Are you ready to find Florida’s top 25 lizard species? Let us know in the comments.

About Nigel Robert

Nigel Robert Nigel is a lifelong reptile lover and has kept pet lizards since childhood. His first was a pet Leo which was shortly followed by a Beardie named, Rocky. For the last 10 years he has kept over 20 different species but his favorite is his Banana Ball Python, Monty.

Comments

  1. I saw a skink today with orange head, black brown body and repeat of orange and brown on tail. Does anyone know what kind of skink this one was?

    Reply

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