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The Only 3 Native Lizards in Delaware

There are three native species of lizards in Delaware, which are just a few of the many reptiles you may find. Lizards live in many habitats from woodlands, grasslands, to urban lizards. The three lizards that live in Delaware are very common, but you may not see them unless you know when, and where to look.

This article will cover the three lizards in Delaware and interesting facts about them like where they live, what they eat, and how they look. The more we learn about the lizards in North America the easier it is to protect, and preserve them in the wild.

Lizards in Delaware

Phrynosomatidae

1. 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 (10.16 to 15.24 cm.)
  • Lifespan: 5 to 7 years
  • Average Price Range: $20 

Eastern fence lizards are a common species that lives in Delaware, and other regions in the eastern United States. These lizards live in woodlands, grasslands, urban areas, and shrubland habitats. Eastern fence lizards enjoy climbing, often seen on fences, or trees. 

Compared to the other lizards that live in Delaware the scales of the eastern fence lizard are very keeled. They have a tan, black, or gray coloring, with a plain, or chevron marking on their back. Males can get bluish coloring on their scales and underside to help them attract mates in the breeding season. 

Eastern fence lizards spend their day hunting for insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates they may find. When breeding in the spring to fall these lizards lay up to 16 eggs. In winter they hibernate due to the cold. 

Scincidae

2. 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 five-lined skink
  • Adult Size: 4.9 to 8.5 in. (12.5 to 21.5 cm)
  • Lifespan: 6 years
  • Average Price Range: $12

Common five-lined skinks are native to the eastern United States. This skink is found in woodlands, and damp forest habitats. They are active in the day, often hiding under rocks, and other debris.

These lizards are named after the five lines that run down their body. They have a tan, olive, or black coloring, with yellowish stripes on them. In the breeding season males may have reddish markings on their face. When young this lizard will have a blue tail.

Common five-lined skinks are very secretive, feeding on small insects, and small invertebrates. They are able to drop their tails in order to escape predators, and will grow it back. Common five-lined skinks are very abundant in their range, but may not be seen due to their secretive nature.

3. 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 eastern United States, and can be found in all of Delaware. These lizards get their name from their tan coloring, and have dark stripes on their sides, with specks on them. When born little brown skinks may have a bluish tail. Their bodies are slender, and limbs nimble.

In woodlands, grasslands, urban areas, and habitats near water sources are where this lizard lives. They are fossorial, living in loose soil, or leaf litter. Little brown skinks are active in the day.

These lizards feed on small insects, and other arthropods they find in the soil. Little brown skinks are common food for animals like skunks, larger lizards, birds, and small mammals. In Delaware this lizard is extremely rare to find, but are more common throughout the eastern United States.

What is the largest lizard in Delaware?

The common five-lined skink is one of the largest lizards that live in Delaware. The size, and species are what contribute to a lizard’s size, as well as environmental factors. Delaware is also home to the little brown skink, which is one of the smallest lizards in the state.

In Delaware when are lizards common?

Lizards in Delaware are usually active from the spring to fall months, and the species that live in the state can typically be seen during the day. Lizards in the winter are not seen since lizards are cold blooded, and rely on outside factors to regulate their temperatures, so in the cold they brumate.

Wrapping up

Compared to the thousands of lizards that live around the world there are only a few lizards that live in Delaware, but they are all essential animals in the state. Lizards help control the populations of pest insects, but also are used by food by animals like birds, snakes, and small mammals.

Many lizards are under threat due to habitat loss, climate change, and pollution. Being very secretive you may not even know when there are lizards near you, but these secret reptiles rule the small environments they live in. Whether kept as pets, or seen in the wild lizards are always amazing animals to see, and learn about.

Other species in Delaware

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