How often do you see those little lizards running around in Florida? I see them all the time, they scatter along the beach access walkways, in parking lots, on trees, and just about everywhere else. If you’ve ever wondered what they were called, I bet they’re on this list along with a few other species of lizards you may have seen in Florida.
According to the San Diego Zoo there are 4,675 species of lizards in the world. And Wikipedia says 68 of those species live in Florida. The large majority of these lizards in Florida are not native and were bought in from other countries. They were able to survive in Florida’s warm climate, this has made parts of Florida a haven for exotic species of reptiles.
Here are 6 of the most common lizards in Florida.
6 common lizards in Florida
1. Brown Anole
The brown anole was introduced to south Florida from the West Indies in the 1880s. Their population has grown over the years and their range now covers most of Florida and even parts of south Georgia. They are not dangerous but will bite in self defense, however they are too small to hurt you. The male puffs out his throat as a display for females. They are not native to Florida and may pose a threat to green anoles, Florida’s only native species of anole. These are probably the most commonly seen lizards in Florida.
2. Green Anole
Green anoles are common in not only Florida, but most of the southeastern United States. They are solid colored and lack the patterns that brown anoles have but like other anoles they are able to change colors so they may be brown or bright green. Both green and brown anoles are similar in size and behavior and are commonly seen within their range in Florida.
3. Eastern Fence Lizard
Fence lizards are found throughout the panhandle and central Florida. They’re gray in color, but during the mating season males have blue chins. They prefer dry, open forests with fallen trees and places to hide and feed on insects. Fence lizards are very common in the Southeastern United States.
4. Tropical House Gecko
Tropical house geckos are more prevalent in central and south Florida. They are about 5-7 inches in length and as nocturnal lizards, come out at night to feed on insects. You can often see them near lights where bugs gather. Like other geckos they are equipped with sticky toe pads that allow them to climb on virtually any surface they want.
5. Mediterranean House Gecko
Once common throughout the state, Mediterranean house geckos were driven north by the tropical house geckos that are slightly larger and more aggressive. However in northern Florida Mediterranean geckos are more common. The two species do not get along and you usually won’t find both in the same location.
6. Green Iguana
Another non-native species in Florida, the green iguana was introduced into Florida over the years through the pet trade. Likely meaning that iguana owners couldn’t handle 4 foot lizards and simply let them go into an environment where they flourished. Although iguanas are interesting and exotic lizards, they do not belong in Florida and are already causing problems. The Cayman Islands are currently overrun with Iguanas and are having to exterminate part of the population. I’m sure Florida residents do not want that.