Florida is known for having a lot of different kinds of animals, like green lizards. But many people may not know that some of the green lizards in Florida are actually species that were brought there from other places. Some of these reptiles can also be different shades of green.
Some are bright, vivid green, while others have dark olive colors. No matter what shade they are, green lizards are interesting to watch in the wild. Let’s learn more about some of these interesting creatures and what makes them special.
13 Green lizards in Florida
Keep in mind, several of the lizard species on this list have been introduced the state and are not native to Florida. They thrive in Florida’s tropical climate and are therefore not found anywhere else in the United States.
1. Madagascar giant day gecko
Scientific Name: Phelsuma grandis
Several green species of lizards have been brought to Florida, including Madagascar giant day geckos. They can reach a length of 11 inches and have a body color that’s bright green all over, except for a red stripe that runs from their nostrils to their eyes.
These animals are extremely territorial, with males not allowing other males near their territory. Once caught, they can easily get away because they’re very good at getting out of enclosures.
2. Green ameiva
Scientific Name: Ameiva ameiva
The green ameiva, also called the giant ameiva, is a very long lizard that can grow up to 20 inches long. The females of this species are much less green in color than the males, who have a vibrant green coloration.
They live on the forest floor and often hide under logs and in piles of dead leaves. Green ameivas also eat many different kinds of insects, as well as frogs and other lizards.
3. Veiled chameleon
Scientific Name: Chamaeleo calyptratus
Another type of introduced species that can be found in Florida is the veiled chameleon, which can be found in the counties of Lee, Collier, Miami-Dade, and Broward. It’s a type of lizard that lives in places like plateaus, mountains, and valleys, where it often lives in trees.
Adult females have bands of white, orange, and yellow across their green bodies, whereas adult males have bands of yellow and blue across their bodies and have brighter coloring overall.
4. Blue-crested lizard
Scientific Name: Calotes mystaceus
The colorful blue-crested lizard is a species of lizard that’s native to Southeast Asia, China, and South Asia but has been introduced to Florida. They’re known for their gray to olive color, which changes during the breeding season to turquoise, bright blue, yellow, and gold. This species of lizard can live in a variety of places, such as lowland and lower montane forests, gardens, parks, and the edges of forests.
5. Knight anole
Scientific Name: Anolis equestris
The brightly colored lizard known as the knight anole is native to Cuba but has since made its way into Florida, where it’s now considered an invasive species. They have a bright green coloration, with a yellow or white stripe that runs across their eyes and shoulders.
The head of this species is large and bony, much like the head of a knight piece in a game of chess, which is where the name of this species comes from. Because of their arboreal lifestyle, knight anoles are most commonly found in living trees.
6. Green iguana
Scientific Name: Iguana iguana
Green iguanas are native to Central and South America, but are now found in Florida, particularly along the Atlantic Coast in Broward and Palm Beach Counties and along the Gulf Coast in Collier and Lee Counties.
These introduced species are typically located near bodies of water and live in trees, which explains why they’re such skilled climbers and can survive falls of up to fifty feet without suffering any injuries. These bright or dark green colored lizards are herbivores that eat mostly leaves, flowers, fruits, and shoots.
7. Green anole
Scientific Name: Anolis carolinensis
The green anole is the only species of anole that’s native to Florida. You can find it in places with very high humidity, such as swamps, forests, wooded beaches, and other areas with trees.
This reptile is fiercely protective of its territory and its diet of small insects and other reptiles. Green anoles can either be green or brown in color, but they have the ability to change the color of their bodies.
8. Oriental garden lizard
Scientific Name: Calotes versicolor
The Oriental garden lizard is a large species of lizard that can reach a length of 14.5 inches. Its coloration ranges from light brownish olive to a bright red, black, or a mixture of the two.
They thrive in grassy and leafy undergrowth areas, especially in open habitats. When feeding, Oriental garden lizards will typically grab their prey with their teeth, shake ferociously to stun the prey, and then swallow it whole.
9. Jackson’s chameleon
Scientific Name: Trioceros jacksonii
Because male Jackson’s chameleons have three brown horns, they’re also referred to as three-horned chameleons. As a result of the exotic pet trade in the United States, this particular species of chameleon was brought to the state of Florida.
Males of this species can change color to yellow in order to impress females during mating season, while females are a vibrant green with blue and yellow highlights.
10. Six-lined racerunner
Scientific Name: Aspidoscelis sexlineatus
If you were in the state and saw a dark green lizard, there is a good chance that the lizard you saw was a six-lined racerunner. They’re referred to as racerunners since they’re capable of running at extremely high speeds.
These animals are typically a very dark shade of green or brown, and they have stripes on their backs that are either yellow or greenish-yellow in color. These animals are most likely to be spotted in environments with grasslands, woodlands, open floodplains, or rocky outcroppings.
11. Common agama
Scientific Name: Agama agama
The Common Agama is a species of lizard native to Africa that has made its way to Florida as a result of trade in reptiles. This species’ current distribution in South Florida extends from Miami north to Martin County.
They prefer to live in areas with rocks, bushes, and forests, but some of them have adapted to live in human habitats as well. Although the bodies of dominant males are blue and their tails are yellow, the heads of females and adolescents are typically olive green in color.
12. Brown basilisk
Scientific Name: Basiliscus vittatus
One of the species of lizards with a greenish coloration that you can find in the southern coastal areas of Florida is the brown basilisk. These lizards primarily feed on insects, but they have also been observed eating frogs and fish.
They may be brown or olive brown in color, with black crossbands and a white stripe that runs from the eyes down to their legs. Brown basilisks can also run about 33 to 66 feet through water without sinking.
13. Eastern glass lizard
Scientific Name: Ophisaurus ventralis
The eastern glass lizard is a type of lizard that’s often mistaken for a snake because it doesn’t have legs. They’re also the greenest species of legless lizard, with adults having green upperparts and yellow undersides. These glass lizards can reach a maximum length of 43 inches, and their diet consists primarily of insects and other types of invertebrates.