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5 Types of Lizards That Live in Water

Most people think only of lizards as creatures that scurry around on the ground. They may see them in both wet and dry environments, but they are not generally thought of as something that lives in the water.

We want to help you see the vast number of different lizards that live in water to help you understand that there is a massive diversity of different types of creatures in this wide world that you should know about.

Collage photo lizards that live in water

Lizards that live in water

Lizards are more adept at living in the water than what people give them credit for. They are incredible swimmers who keep their nose above the water line as they move about in order to allow themselves to breathe even as they go through the water.

Given this, it is a known fact that lizards are able to make their way through the water and still get back on to dry land quite easily. Some even live the majority of their life in the water, and we will be reviewing some of these types of lizards as well.

Note that some of the lizards on this list spend much of their lives in the water, while others are able to easily survive in it for short periods when they need to.

1. Marine iguanas

Marine Iguana underwater
Marine Iguana underwater | Image by Took from Pixabay

Up first is the marine iguana, probably the most thought of lizard that lives in water. The marine iguana is found only on islands in the Galapagos archipelago, a volcanic chain of islands located off Ecuador’s coast and separated from land by open sea. Marine iguanas can actually hold their breath for up to an hour and dive up to depths of 30 meters (98 feet).

Marine iguanas are amazing animals and they deserve our attention. They are threatened by illegal trade, climate change and habitat destruction. We can help them by protecting their natural habitats and educating people about these beautiful animals’ plight.

2. Mangrove Monitor

Mangrove monitor
Mangrove monitor | Image by Letone from Pixabay

This lizard is a dark green or black lizard that has yellow or gold spots all over it. You will find this lizard all over the United States and many other parts of the world. They come in a variety of sizes, but the average comes in somewhere around 1.3 meters in length.

That measurement includes the tail of this species. Interestingly, the Mangrove Monitor is able to survive underwater by secrete salt from its nasal glands when it goes underwater. This makes it possible for the lizard to survive underwater even in saltwater conditions, and it can also eat marine life when it wants to.

This is a great way for it to both stay alive and even thrive in underwater environments. There are many people who have spotted the Mangrove Monitor in trees because they have excellent tree-climbing abilities. That being said, they are able to stay underwater for up to 45 minutes as they swim around.

3. Water Anole

Water anole
Water anole | image by Goodshort via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 3.0

The Water Anoles aren’t necessarily the fastest or most agile of lizards, but their ability to live underwater as necessary is a great way for them to stay alive. They tend to be known for using the water as a natural hiding place from their predators. They will slip under the water and away from their natural predators so as to stay safe from them.

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These creatures have formed a respiratory system that allows them to breathe underwater. They have a bubble at the top of their head that helps them breathe when they are in these conditions.

They are so small and people think that they are so cute that they are frequently kept as pets by those who love to have lizards in their home. You may want to consider getting one for yourself as well!

4. Common Five-Lined Skink

Common five-lined skink 
Common five-lined skink | image by Judy Gallagher via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

The Common Five-Lined Skink doesn’t necessarily live in water, but will happily hide out in the water until it has been able to escape from its predators as well. It knows that getting in under the water is a great way to avoid the turmoil that comes with trying to dodge its predators above the surface. These lizards are considered to be medium in size with a typical length being about 8.5 inches from head to the tip of their tail.

When these lizards are on land, they tend to hang out in moist wooded areas that have a lot of cover but also provide them with some open spaces where the sun can shine through and they can bask in it. This allows them to enjoy the best of both worlds as it were and get the benefits of the sunlight without giving up their ability to enjoy a little cover from their predators as necessary.

It is something that makes them common throughout many parts of the United States and beyond.

5. Caiman Lizards

Caiman lizard
Caiman lizard | Image by Catherine Read from Pixabay

If you find a large green lizard with a red or brown head, you are probably looking at a Caiman lizard. This is the type of lizard that is native to South America, but they can now be found in the United States as well. These lizards are instantly recognizable because they come in at up to 10 pounds.

Thus, you will see one and now that you are looking at a rather large lizard and that it is probably the Caiman lizard. This lizard spends a great deal of time in the water because they do a lot of foraging for food there. Unlike other lizards on this list, the Caiman lizard uses the water to find food rather than just to avoid becoming food!

Also, this lizard is known to use the water as a means of cooling its body temperature after it has been basking in the sun for long periods of time. Thus, you are probably just as likely to find a Caiman lizard in the water as you are on the land.

Never again think of lizards as only available to look at on the land. We have shown clearly that they also tend to exist in water environments at least some of the time. You may just happen to come across a lizard in the water and finally understand once and for all that they are just as likely to be found in water environments as they are anywhere else.