For new visitors to Florida, seeing a lizard crawl up the outside of the screen door might provide quite a bit of entertainment. But for anyone that’s lived in Florida for any length of time, seeing a lizard becomes more commonplace. Although there are literally thousands of types of lizards that can be found worldwide, the following is a short list of species commonplace to our little section of the world.
1. The Gecko! This cute little creature is the most common lizard seen in Florida. They may grow up to six inches, so they stay relatively little. They are not harmful to humans or pets and do not bite or inject venom. In fact, since they usually eat spiders, roaches and other bugs, many Floridians are glad to see the little gecko hanging around.
2. The Anole is another lizard common to the Florida region. The most common type of anole is either the green anole or the brown anole. The green anole has chameleon like capabilities and can change its color to adapt to its environment. Brown anoles have bright orange or yellowish flap under their necks, known as dewlaps. Anoles typically eat crickets, grubs and maggots and can be tamed to become a family pet. Anoles are also known for losing its tail as a defensive measure.
3. Skinks. There are several different varieties of skinks that can be found in Florida. These include: the ground skink, the mole skink, the sand skink and the southeastern five-lined skink. A skink is a type of lizard that usually has very short legs and not much of a neck. They usually have very long, tapering tails as well. One of the characteristic of skinks is that they love to dig holes in the ground and burrow down into the dirt. Fun skink fact of the day: Many skinks have blue tails, which are believed to be defensive mechanisms as blue tails may indicate something that’s poisonous to eat.
Most Floridians don’t mind the occasional lizard, so long as they remain outdoors, in the minority and eating bugs. Unfortunately, new non-native lizards are invading our area. These are the tegu lizards, which can often grow to four feet long. Many people believe that these lizards start as pets and when they become too big, they are released outside without any consideration of what this invasive species might do.