They’re scaly, sometimes alien-like, and they’re everywhere! But despite their looks, lizards are in fact one of the most interesting animals on earth. They come in different shapes and sizes, some small enough to fit in your palm, while others are as large as alligators. Do you want to know more about our reptilian friends? Read on to learn 25 facts about Lizards.
Fact 1: There are around 6,000 species of lizard found on Earth.
- Lizards belong to a group called ‘squamata reptiles’ (this order includes lizards, snakes and amphisbaenians).
Fact 2: Most lizards are quadrupedal, which means they run in a unique side-to-side motion.
- Quadrupedal means that all 4 feet of an animal are off the ground at the same time when the animal is walking/running.
Fact 3: Most lizards are carnivorous, and will lie in wait for an opportunity to ambush their prey.
- Many of the smaller species’ eat insects, while the Komodo Dragon can eat mammals that are as big as a Water Buffalo.
Fact 4: Lizards make use of a variety of antipredator adaptations.
- Lizards, when placed under pressure by a predator, can use venom, camouflage, reflex bleeding, and even drop their tails to escape death.
Fact 5: Lizards are reptiles, just like snakes and alligators.
- Like other reptiles, lizards have dry skin that is covered in hard scales. They’re also cold-blooded animals, which means that their body temperature depends on their environment.
Fact 6: With so many species of lizard, it’s no surprise that they’re found almost everywhere!
- In fact, lizards inhabit every continent except Antarctica, where it’s too cold for them to live.
Fact 7: Most species of lizard live on the ground.
- However, some select few live in the water, on trees, and perhaps in your homes.
Fact 8: You call a male lizard a “bull” and a female lizard a “cow” or a “lizardess”.
- A group of lizards is called a ‘lounge’.
Fact 9: The age of a lizard varies from species to species.
- Some can live for a year, others 20 years, some have been known to live up to 50 years of age.
Fact 10: With a length of 10 feet and a weight of 135 kilograms, the ‘Komodo Dragon’ is the world’s largest lizard.
- The Komodo dragon, also known as the Komodo Monitor, is a species of lizard found in the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, and Gili Motang.
Fact 11: The tiniest lizard on the planet is the ‘Jaragua Sphaero’, also known as the ‘Dwarf Gecko’.
- Another 2 teeny tiny lizard species are the Virgin Islands’ ‘Dwarf Sphaero’, and the Virgin Islands’ ‘Dwarf Gecko’, both lizards are just 1.6 centimetres long.
Fact 12: Many lizard species display perfect cryptic colouration, allowing them to blend into their surroundings.
- Others are also vividly coloured, in shades of emerald and turquoise blues, reds and yellows.
Fact 13: Lizards, like the iguana, can see in colour.
- Iguanas have good vision and can see shapes, shadows, colours, and movement at long distances. Their vision enables them to navigate through crowded forests and to locate food. They also use visual signals to communicate with other members of the same species.
Fact 14: The ‘Pygmy Short-Horned’ lizard defends itself by squirting blood from its eyes when it’s being hunted by a predator.
- The predators tend to be scared-off with this move! No surprise there then…
Fact 15: Lizards conserve water by excreting salts from their body.
- You can see white residues on their body which is actually salt.
Fact 16: Contrary to popular belief, Chameleons don’t change colour to blend into their surroundings.
- They change colour according to their mood, temperature, health, communication and light.
Fact 17: Most lizards are excellent climbers.
- One species in particular, the ‘Gecko Lizard’, is a climbing connoisseur.
Fact 18: Lizards have a unique adaptation called “Autotomy” which they use for defence.
- A lizard can shed its tail off and regrow a new tail in place of the older one. However, the new tail will be thinner than the first one.
Fact 19: Until 2006, it was thought that the ‘Gila Monster’ and the ‘Mexican Beaded Lizard’ were the only venomous lizards around.
- It was then discovered that some other species of monitor lizard, like the Komodo Dragon, can produce a lethal venom in their oral glands.
Fact 20: Lizards are egg-laying animals.
- The female deposits the eggs in a protective structure like a nest, or crevice, or simply on the ground. In the case of the Lace Monitor lizards, the young hatch close to 300 days of age, and the female returns to help them escape the termite mound where the eggs were laid.
Fact 21: Like turtles and crocodiles, temperature determines the sex of a lizard.
- Low-temperature incubation produces more females, while higher temperatures produce more males.
Fact 22: ‘Draco Lizards’ or flying dragons can glide from tree to tree.
- A thin membrane joins the fore and the hind limbs of the lizard, and acts like a parachute, enabling them to glide from one treetop to another.
Fact 23: Lizards have small, sharp, pointed teeth.
- Each time a lizard’s tooth falls out, a new one quickly grows to replace the lost tooth, allowing the lizard to continue feeding and protecting itself.
Fact 24: Many species of lizards are listed as ‘Endangered’ or ‘Critically Endangered’.
- Among the most common threats to these animals are habitat destruction, as well as predation from certain animal species that have been introduced into the wild by humans.
Fact 25: Due to their slow metabolism, Komodo Dragons can survive on as little as 12 meals per year.
- It takes the Komodo Dragon roughly 15 to 20 minutes to swallow large prey, and the giant lizard must bask in the sun to speed up digestion.