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15 Native Lizards in Arkansas

In Arkansas there are around 15 lizard species that you may come across in the state, with a few of them being introduced to the region. Lizards are very important in their habitats, and are a small part of a larger ecosystem. Lizards are useful for eating pest insects, and also are a valuable food source for many animals.

Some lizards make good pets, while others are better kept in the wild. Arkansas is filled with a variety of wilderness like woodlands, swamps, and prairies. The state is great for viewing wildlife, with more than 100 reptiles and amphibians to be spotted in the region.

Learning about lizards is essential in maintaining their environments, and protecting the native species that may be endangered. Let’s take a look at the 15 lizards that live in Arkansas, and the important things to know about them. 

Lizards in Arkansas

Anguidae

1. Western Slender Glass Lizard

Western Slender Glass Lizard (Ophisaurus attenuatus ssp. attenuatus) by HCarlton
Western Slender Glass Lizard (Ophisaurus attenuatus ssp. attenuatus) by HCarlton
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Anguidae
  • Scientific Name: Ophisaurus attenuatus attenuatus
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 22 to 46 in. (55.88 to 116.84 cm.)
  • Lifespan: 10 to 30 years
  • Average Price Range: $50

In Arkansas the western slender glass lizard has a scattered population across the state. Due to their distribution this lizard is very rare to come across. Their presence has been absent in regions like the Interior highland mountain regions, and the South Central Plains of Arkansas.

Western slender glass lizards live in woodlands, found in fields, sandy hills, and plain habitats. These lizards are active in the day, and inhabit burrows. The months from April to October are when these lizards are out from hibernating, and they begin to breed in the spring. These lizards lay up to 15 eggs, placing them in moist, and hidden places like under logs.

Western slender glass lizards have long snake-like bodies, with a tan, yellowish, or olive color. They have smooth scales, with dark stripes running down their side. These lizards can be differentiated from snakes from their blinkable eyelids, to their ear holes. The scales, and body movements also help differentiate from snakes.

These lizards are mainly active in the day, and spend their time feeding on insects, and other small animals. Their secretive nature makes it hard for them to be studied. Pollution, and the destruction of this lizard habitat is why they have seen a decline in some regions.

Dactyloidae

2. Green Anole

Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis)
Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis)
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Dactyloidae
  • Scientific Name: Anolis sagrei
  • Other Names: Bahaman Anole, Cuban Brown Anole
  • Adult Size: 5 to 9 in. (12 to 22.86 cm)
  • Lifespan: 5 years
  • Average Price Range: $10

Green anoles inhabit the southern portion of Arkansas. These lizards are native to the southeastern United States. Green anoles live in woodlands, swamps, and other habitats with trees. They are active in the day, and are one of the few lizards that enjoy climbing in vegetations, and trees.

These lizards get their name from their green coloring, but have a color that may also appear brown or other shades. Green anoles are medium sized, with large heads, and long bodies. Compared to the brown anole they have a more triangular shaped head. These lizards have dewlap under their throat, that is reddish or orange.

Green anoles that are females are lighter in color, and also have smaller dewlaps. These lizards breed in the spring, and are able to hybridize with the invasive brown anoles. Green anoles can lay up to 10 eggs, and can store sperm in their body for months. Their eggs take around a month to hatch, and they mature in around 8 months.

This lizard is not a threatened species, but the brown anole can negatively affect their habitats. Green anoles are found more in the trees compared to the brown anole. They feed on insects like moths, roaches, and beetles. When active in the breeding season this lizard can be very aggressive with each other.

3. Brown Anole

Brown Anole (Anolis sagrei)
Brown Anole (Anolis sagrei)
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Dactyloidae
  • Scientific Name: Anolis sagrei
  • Other Names: Bahaman Anole, Cuban Brown Anole
  • Adult Size: 5 to 9 in. (12 to 22.86 cm)
  • Lifespan: 5 years
  • Average Price Range: $10

The brown anole is an introduced lizard that lives in Arkansas. Brown anoles are native to Cuba, and the Bahamas. They have been introduced to several regions including North America, other Caribbean islands, and Taiwan. Brown anoles are highly invasive due to their ability to adapt.

These lizards get their name from their brown coloring, but they may also appear grayish. They can have yellowish, or white markings on their body. Male anoles have a large dewlap under their neck which looks orange. Their heads are large, and round. Brown anoles have a spotted marking on their body.

Brown anoles are invasive in the United States, and can be very aggressive with other lizards in the breeding season. These lizards lay around 15 to 18 eggs in the breeding season, laying them in moist places. Their eggs take around a month or more to hatch.

Brown anoles do have some benefit, since they feed on many pest invertebrates, like insects. These lizards may hybridize with the green anole. Brown anoles may be eaten by predators like birds, larger lizards like the broad-head skink, and snakes. Brown anoles use their coloring to camouflage, and can even lose their tail, and grow it back to escape.

Crotaphytidae

4. Eastern Collared Lizard

Eastern Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus collaris)
Eastern Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus collaris)
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Crotaphytidae
  • Scientific Name: Crotaphytus collaris
  • Other Names: Yellow-headed Collared Lizard
  • Adult Size: 8 to 15 in. (20 to 38 cm.)
  • Lifespan: 10 to 12 years
  • Average Price Range: $70

Eastern collared lizards have a scattered population within the northern region of the state. These lizards are native to North America, and are mainly found within the south-central United States. Eastern collared lizards live in rocky, and open woodland habitats.

Eastern collared lizards get their name from the black collared marking that appears around their neck. This species is sexually dimorphic, with males being more colorful than females. Eastern collared lizards can have a yellow, green, blue, or tan shade on their back. Spots, or stripes can appear on their body.

Active in the day, these lizards can often be seen basking on a rock. They are very quick, and when running quickly can move bipedally. Eastern collared lizards are active most in the spring months, and during this season they can be territorial with other lizards due to breeding.

Winter is when these lizards hibernate, and are not seen. Eastern collared lizards feed on insects, and other small invertebrates. They eat things like spiders, grasshoppers, small lizards, and sometimes plants. These lizards can run up to 16 mph (26 km/h), which can help them escape predators or catch prey.

Phrynosomatidae

5. Texas Horned Lizard

Texas Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum)
Texas Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum)
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Phrynosomatidae
  • Scientific Name: Phrynosoma cornutum
  • Other Names: Horny Toad
  • Adult Size: 3.7 to 5 in. (9.93 ot 12.7 cm.)
  • Lifespan: 5 years
  • Average Price Range: $40

The texas horned lizard is an extremely rare lizard to be seen in Arkansas, and the majority of the populations have been extirpated from the state. Texas horned lizards are native to the United States, found in the south-central region of the U.S. These lizards live in semi-arid habitats, with lots of sparse vegetation. They are active in habitats with loose, or loamy soils.

Texas horned lizards are covered in spikes, with larger ones being on their head. The bodies of these lizards are round, and flat. They have a tan, yellowish appearance. Texas horned lizards using their coloring and spikes can easily be missed due to their camouflage, and tendency to hide within vegetation.

Active in the day, these lizards spend their time basking in the sun, and need lots of sunlight to meet their vitamin D needs. These lizards have been seeing a decline in population due to invasive red ants that eat them. Texas horned lizards feed on insects, spiders, but mainly harvester ants.

To protect themselves from canine predators Texas horned lizards are able to accurately shoot blood from their eyes at enemies. These lizards also use their spikes, and inflate their body to be less edible.

6. Prairie Lizard

Prairie Lizard (Sceloporus consobrinus) by ericmon
Prairie Lizard (Sceloporus consobrinus) by ericmon
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Phrynosomatidae
  • Scientific Name: Sceloporus consobrinus
  • Other Names: Southern Prairie Lizard
  • Adult Size: 4 to 7 in. (10.16 to 17.78 cm.)
  • Lifespan: n/a
  • Average Price Range: n/a

In Arkansas the prairie lizard can be spotted all across the state. Open woodlands, grasslands, fields, and urban areas are common habitats this lizard lives in. They are a common lizard to find coming into people’s homes. When not active prairie lizards can be found under debris like logs, rocks, or within other small crevices.

Prairie lizards are a gray to brown species, with roughly keeled scales. This lizard can have a tannish wavy pattern over its back. Their bellies can have an iridescent blue shade on them, with black. Females of this species have the wavy markings on the back, while male are more likely to be plain, with blue on their underside.

The spring to fall months are when this lizard is active, and they are typically seen during the day. This lizard breeds in April to July, and females lay around 4 to 17 eggs.

Open woodland habitats are the most common where these lizards are found, and they feed on insects, and other small animals. Cats, mammals, and birds are the prairie lizards predator in the wild. Fences, large rocks, and the sides of homes are common places this lizard is seen. When spotted they will dart off, and find a place to hide in.

7. Eastern Fence Lizard

Eastern Fence Lizard (Sceloporus undulatus)
Eastern Fence Lizard (Sceloporus undulatus)
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family:  Phrynosomatidae
  • Scientific Name: Sceloporus undulatus
  • Other Names: Northern fence lizard, gravid lizard, pine lizard
  • Adult Size: 4 to 6 inches
  • Lifespan: 5 to 7 years
  • Average Price Range: $20

The eastern fence lizard is a species that is native to the eastern United States, with potential occurrences, and sightings in Arkansas. These lizards are found in wooded habitats with loose soil that gets lots of sunlight. They are common to see on fences, rocks, or other large structures.

Eastern fence lizards are a medium sized species, with brown, to gray coloring. They have roughly keeled scales, with white bellies. Males may have a blue coloring on their underside. Eastern fence lizards can also have a dark wavy pattern that runs down their back.

These lizards are active in the early spring, and begin to breed during this season until summer. Females can lay up to 16 eggs, and they will emerge in the summer, then hibernate when winter comes. Eastern fence lizards are very rare in Arkansas, and are believed to have been brought in from other states.

This lizard feeds on insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates. These very speedy lizards use their camouflage to help them hide within the wilderness. These lizard populations are spread across Arkansas, and they are not as common as some of the other lizards in the state.

Scincidae

8. Southern Coal Skink

Southern Coal Skink (Plestiodon anthracinus pluvialis) by JD Wilson
Southern Coal Skink (Plestiodon anthracinus pluvialis) by JD Wilson
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Scincidae
  • Scientific Name: Plestiodon anthracinus pluvialis
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 5.1 to 7.1 in. (13 to 18 cm.)
  • Lifespan: 6 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The southern coal skink is a subspecies of coal skink that lives in the majority of Arkansas. These lizards are native to the south-central United States. They live in woodlands, and hill habitats. Under stones, or within leaf litter are common places this lizard hides. They are found around water sources like springs, and creeks.

Southern coal skinks are medium-sized, with smooth scales. They have a tan or olive appearance, with dark stripes running down their side. These lizards have small limbs, with large tails that may appear blue when born. This subspecies may have a spotted-like appearance that covers them.

The spring and early summer is when coal skinks breed. They lay around 8 to 9 eggs. Southern coal skinks that are young are black, with faint stripes on them. These lizards have a stable population, and are listed as a species of “least concern”, by the IUCN.

Southern coal skinks feed on small insects, and are mainly active in the day. They may jump into the water if approached by a predator like a small mammal, or bird. Coal skinks like other skinks are also able to lose their tail to escape predators.

9. Common Five-lined Skink

Five Lined Skink - (Plestiodon fasciatus)
Five Lined Skink – (Plestiodon fasciatus)
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Scincidae
  • Scientific Name: Plestiodon fasciatus
  • Other Names: American
  • Adult Size: 4.9 to 8.5 in. (12.5 to 21.5 cm)
  • Lifespan: 6 years
  • Average Price Range: $12

The common five-lined skink is native to Arkansas, and can be sighted across the state. These lizards have a large range that covers the southeastern United States. Common five-lined skinks are terrestrial, and are found in moist woodland habitats, often near water sources. Active in the day, they enjoy basking in the sun.

Common five-lined skinks get their name from the five lines that run down their body. These lizards have a blue tail when born, which fades as they age. Common five lined skinks have smooth scales with an olive, gray, or tannish coloring. The lines run from their head to tail, and often have a yellowish hue.

In the spring through summer is when this lizard breeds, and lays eggs. This species can lay up to 18 eggs, and they are placed in dark, and moist environments. Common five-lined skinks Will make a small burrow for her eggs, usually in a secluded area.

Spiders, crickets, beetles, moths, and other types of invertebrates are what this lizard eats. They have seen a decline in some of their range, but overall this lizard has a stable population. Common five lined skinks are often kept as pets, and require minimum care.

10. Broad-headed Skink

Broad-headed Skink (Plestiodon laticeps)
Broad-headed Skink (Plestiodon laticeps)
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Scincidae
  • Scientific Name: Plestiodon laticeps
  • Other Names: Broadhead Skink, Red-headed Scorpion
  • Adult Size: 5.9 to 13 in. (15 to 33 cm.)
  • Lifespan: 4 to 8 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

Broadhead skinks are native to the southeastern United States, and have a range that covers the entirety of Arkansas. You can find these lizards in oak, and other types of woodlands. They are semi-arboreal, but younger ones typically stay closer to the ground. Broad-headed skinks are active in the day, and move down to the ground to forage.

The broad-headed skink is very large, and one of the biggest lizards in Arkansas. They are named after their wide jaws. They have a plain appearance, with olive, to tan coloring. The underside of this lizard is pale white, or cream, with no patterns. The females of this species have stripes running down their bodies, while males have bright red heads in the mating period.

Broad-headed skinks sleep in trees, but during the breeding season in spring get very active. Males may fight with each other for territories, and will do their best to find the largest mate. The larger a broad-headed skink is, the more eggs she can lay, and this lizard may have between 8 to 22 eggs.

Large invertebrates and spiders and insects are what this lizard eats. They will seek shelter in places like under rocks, logs, or into the trees if attacked by a predator. This lizard is very common across its range and has a stable population.

11. Southern Prairie Skink

Southern Prairie Skink (Plestiodon s. obtusirostris) by Franz Herpman
Southern Prairie Skink (Plestiodon s. obtusirostris) by Franz Herpman
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Scincidae
  • Scientific Name: Plestiodon s. obtusirostris
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 5 to 9 in. (13 to 22 cm.)
  • Lifespan: n/a
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The southern prairie skink has been sighted in a few regions within Arkansas, but are very rare in the state. This lizard lives in open sandy, grassland habitats. They enjoy places that have lots of loose soil, and tall plants for them to hide in. Prairie skinks also dig burrows, but come out to bask in the day.

This lizard is small, with tan, to black coloring, with dark stripes on their sides. When born they have blue tails, and the scales of these lizards are smooth. This skink mates in the spring to summer, and lays up to 10 eggs. They have reached sexual maturity by the time they reach their third year of life.

Southern prairie skinks feed on spiders, crickets, grasshoppers, and other similar insects, but avoid ants. They have colorings, and markings that help them blend into their woodland environments.

12. Little Brown Skink

Little Brown Skink (Scincella lateralis)
Little Brown Skink (Scincella lateralis)
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Scincidae
  • Scientific Name: Scincella lateralis
  • Other Names: Ground Skink, Brown-backed Skink
  • Adult Size: 3 to 5.25 in. (7.62 to 13.3 cm.)
  • Lifespan: 2.5 years
  • Average Price Range: $5

Little brown skinks are native to the southeastern United States, and are found all across Arkansas. This lizard lives in the loose soil, and leaf litters of woodlands. They are common near plants, and edged water habitats. Little brown skinks are fossorial, and spend most of their life underground. They can be seen during the day and night.

Little brown skinks are one of the smallest lizards in all of North America. This lizard has a very slender body, with dark marks on their body, and specks on them. They have long tails, and small limbs. Little brown skinks have a moist appearance, with very smooth scales.

This lizard feeds on small insects and spiders that fit into their tiny mouths. They use their tongue to find food, and pick up chemical sense. They are preyed on by animals like blue birds, large snakes, and other lizards. Little brown skinks breed in the spring and summer, laying up to 6 eggs. They put their eggs in moist soil under debris like logs, and grow to sexual maturity in around a year.

13. Great Plains Skink

Great Plains Skink (Plestiodon obsoletus)
Great Plains Skink (Plestiodon obsoletus)
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Scincidae
  • Scientific Name: Plestiodon obsoletus
  • Other Names: 3.5 to 5.11 in. (9 to 13 cm.)
  • Adult Size: 6.5 to 13.75 in. (16.51 to 34.9 cm.)
  • Lifespan: 3 years
  • Average Price Range: $50

The great plains skink is a lizard found in the south-central region of the United States. These lizards live in foothills, and mountainous habitats. They are only found on a small place within Arkansas near the northwestern corner of the state. This lizard is found near water, and is seen at elevations up to 4,500 ft.

Great plains skinks are one of the largest skinks. These lizards have a brown, gray, or olive color, with dark markings on their scales. Great plains skinks that are young have a blue tail, with black coloring and white spots.

This lizard breeds in the spring, and can lay up to 32 eggs. They will guard their eggs until they hatch in the late summer. Great plains skinks have a stable population in their range. These large lizards feed on things like insects, and other small invertebrates.

Teiidae

14. Prairie Racerunner

Prairie Racerunner Lizard (Cnemidophorus sexlineatus viridis)
Prairie Racerunner Lizard (Cnemidophorus sexlineatus viridis)
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Teiidae
  • Scientific Name: Cnemidophorus sexlineatus viridis
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 6 to 10.5 in. (15.24 to 26.67 cm.)
  • Lifespan: 6 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

Prairie racerunners live in the United States in the midwestern region, and are found in Arkansas. These lizards live in open grassland, and prairie habitats. They are very quick, and use their speed to cross large fields. Prairie racerunners are often seen near river floodplains, with sandy, or gravel ground.

This lizard has a very long, and slender body, with dark brown, to black coloring. They have seven yellowish stripes that run down them. Their scales are very small, and their toes long. Male prairie race runners have larger heads, while females have bigger bodies.

Prairie racerunners feed on insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates. They use their speed to catch meals, but also escape predators like foxes, large birds, and larger lizards. Prairie racerunners have a stable population, but may be missed easily due to their camouflage and speed.

Gekkonidae

15. Mediterranean House Gecko

Mediterranean House Gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus)
Mediterranean House Gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus)
  • Experience Level: Beginners
  • Family: Gekkonidae
  • Scientific Name: Hemidactylus turcicus
  • Other Names: Moon Lizard, Turkish Gecko
  • Adult Size: 4 to 5 in. (10 to 13 cm.)
  • Lifespan: 3 to 9 years
  • Average Price Range: $10

The Mediterranean house gecko is potentially one of the only gecko species that has established a population in Arkansas. Today this lizard has spread to many parts of the world including North America, but they are originally native to the Mediterranean. This gecko is mainly active at night, and is found in urban areas near homes, warehouses, and other buildings.

This gecko is small, with tan to cream coloring. They have very bumpy skin, with dark brown, and black spots covering them. Mediterranean house geckos have pads on their feet which help them climb on walls. Their eyes are yellow, with elliptical pupils, and their heads pointed.

These lizards make small chirping noises, which they use to communicate with other lizards. They breed in the spring to fall months, and when born this lizard fends for itself. They have excellent eye vision which helps them seek prey, or see predators.

Mediterranean house geckos mainly feed on insects like crickets, roaches, ants, snails, isopods, and spiders. This gecko does not seem to have an affect on native Arkansas lizards since they mainly live in urban areas. Mediterranean house geckos were believed to have been transported to the U.S by trade and shipments from other countries.

FAQ

Are there any invasive lizards in Arkansas?

In Arkansas there are around 13 lizards that are native to the state, with the rest in the state being invasive in the region. The pet trade, and shipments from other countries is the main reason lizards become invasive to new areas. Invasive lizards can be a threat to native species since they take the resources and space.

What is the most common lizard in Arkansas?

Skinks are the most common type of lizard that lives in Arkansas. There are around 6 skink species that live in the state, with most of them being native. Skinks vary in color, size, and where they live. They have many similar traits between them, which include their blue tails when born. 

In Arkansas are there any dangerous lizards? 

The only venomous lizard that lives in the United States is the Gila Monster, but this species is not found in Arkansas, and only seen in a few desert states. The lizards that live in Arkansas are typically harmless, and will flee if spotted. Some lizards do bite if provoked, and you should sanitize yourself if you come in contact with a wild lizard since they can carry germs.

Wrapping up

In Arkansas there are around 15 lizards that you may come across. Many of the lizards in the state are invasive, but there are plenty of native lizards that have roamed the region for centuries. Lizards are amazing animals to find, and you can identify each species from their appearance, behavior, and where they live.

If you have any more information about the lizards in Arkansas, or want to tell your experience about them be sure to comment below. As you learn more about lizards it becomes easier to find them in the wild. Keeping lizards habitat protected is essential in maintaining an overall healthy ecosystem in Arkansas.

Lizards in other nearby states

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