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7 Native Lizards in Indiana

In Indiana there are 7 lizard species that live within the state. The majority of the lizards in the state are native to the region. Lizards come in many colors, and sizes, but there are also several other traits you can use to tell them apart. This article will take a look at the 7 lizards that you may find in Indiana, where to find them, and how you can identify them.

More than 50 reptiles live in Indiana, which include lizards, snakes, and turtles. Reptiles are an important part of the ecosystem, and help support the various other life in the state like mammals, and birds. Protecting the animals and habitats in Indiana are important in maintaining an overall healthy ecosystem across North America.

Lizards in Indiana

Teiidae

1. Six-lined Racerunner

Six-lined Racerunner (Aspidoscelis sexlineata)
Six-lined Racerunner (Aspidoscelis sexlineata)
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Teiidae
  • Scientific Name: Aspidoscelis sexlineata
  • Other Names: Sandlapper lizard
  • Adult Size: 6 to 9.5 in. (15 to 24 cm.)
  • Lifespan: 4 to 5 years
  • Average Price Range: $30

The six-lined racerunner has a range within parts of northwestern,  and southwestern Indiana. These lizards live in prairies, and sand dune habitats within the state. Six-lined racerunners are native to North America, found mainly in the eastern region of the United States.

These lizards are extremely long, and get their name from the six yellow, or red lines that run down their back. Six-lined racerunners have brown to black base coloring. The tails of these lizards can reach larger than the length of their bodies, and these lizards’ toes are also extremely long.

Six-lined racerunners are most active in the morning, and are seen from the spring to fall. These lizards prefer habitats in lower elevation, with dry soil. Six-lined racerunners lay their eggs in spring, or early summer, and may lay up to six of them.

Insects are the main food eaten by the six-lined racerunners and they eat things like grasshoppers, leafhoppers, and beetles. These lizards are preyed on by predators like red ants, large birds, and carnivorous mammals.

Phrynosomatidae

2. 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 native to the southern, and eastern United States. In Indiana this species is found in the southern portion of the state. Eastern fence lizards live in habitats like woodlands, mountains, and urban areas. They are found in trees and on the ground, and enjoy climbing.

These lizards have tannish to gray coloring, with very roughly keeled scales. Females may have dark chevron markings on their back. Males can have bluish coloring under their chins and belly. The coloring of these lizards help them camouflage onto objects like trees.

Eastern fence lizards feed on insects, and other small invertebrates. These lizards are common in their range, and overall have a stable population. Predators like fire ants, larger lizards, and birds are what preys on this lizard the most. Eastern fence lizards are active most in the spring to fall months, and are active during the day.

Scincidae

3. Common Five-lined Skink

Common Five-lined Skink (Plestiodon fasciatus)
Common 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 can be found all across Indiana, and is native to the eastern United States. These lizards live on the ground in woodland and rocky habitats. Common five-lined skinks when not seen hide under shelters like logs, rocks, or leaf litter. Common five-lined skinks are active most from the spring to fall months.

These lizards get their name from the five lines that run down their backs. When born similar to other skinks these lizards have a blue tail, which typically fades with age. Common five-lined skinks have a brown to black coloring, with a very slender body, and long limbs.

Common five-lined skinks breed in the spring and early summer months. They lay up to 18 eggs in hidden places like under rotting logs, or in thick vegetation. These lizards will guard their young until they are ready to hatch.

These lizards feed on insects like spiders, crickets, beetles, and other arthropods. They may also eat vegetables, fruits, or other plant material. Common five-lined skinks are a very common lizard, and have stable populations. They are even often kept as pets, and are one species that requires minimum care.

4. 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

The broad-headed skink is native to the eastern United States. These lizards are active in the southern region of Indiana. They are a semi-arboreal species, and are a species associated with oak trees. Broad-headed skinks live in woodland, and coastal plain habitats.

Broad-headed skinks are one of the largest lizards, and skink species that live in Indiana. These species have a solid green or tan coloring. They have large heads that may sometimes have a bright red appearance. These lizards also have large jaws that they use to capture their prey. When born these lizards can have stripes that are black or brown, and also a blue tail that may fade as they grow.

The spring and early summer is when these lizards mate, and males can get very territorial with each other in the breeding season. Pheromones are used to attract mates, and like other reptiles they flick out their tongues to sense things.

5. 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

The little brown skink is one of the smallest lizards that lives in Indiana. These lizards are native to the eastern United States, and are found in a small region within southern Indiana. Little brown skinks are fossorial, and live in loose soil, or leaf litter. They inhabit moist, woodland habitats.

Little brown skinks have a very slender body, with small limbs. They have a copper tan coloring, with small scales, and a dark brown stripe on their side. This lizard may also have dark specks that appear on them. Little brown skinks that are female usually grow faster, and larger than males.

These small lizards feed on small invertebrates like insects, and isopods they find in their habitat. Due to their size they are very vulnerable to predators like larger lizards, birds, and animals like racoons. They are able to drop their tail if attacked, and this lizard usually flees when in danger.

Anguidae

6. Slender Glass Lizard

Slender Glass Lizard (Ophisaurus attenuatus)
Slender Glass Lizard (Ophisaurus attenuatus)
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Anguidae
  • Scientific Name: Ophisaurus 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

The slender glass lizard is a unique type of lizard in Indiana, since it looks more similar to a snake. Unlike snakes these lizards have blinkable eyelids, and ear holes. These lizards can be found in the prairies, and savannahs of northwestern Indiana. Slender glass lizards are very rare, and are a burrowing species.

Slender glass lizards are one of the largest lizards that live in the state, and have a robust, long, snake-like body. They have tan, or olive coloring with black stripes that run down their sides. These lizards are able to drop their tail similar to other lizards, which is where their name comes from.

Unlike snakes, slender glass lizards are not able to open their mouths extremely large, and can only eat food that fits into their mouths. Slender glass lizards feed on small reptiles, insects, spiders, and even rodents. Hawks, and carnviorus mammals are the main predator threat these lizards have to face. They are also vulnerable to habitat loss and pollution.

Gekkonidae

7. 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 a lizard that is native to the Mediterranean region. They have been introduced to several regions around the globe, and are common in several regions in North America. Mediterranean House geckos are found in urban environments. They are active at night, and are common in artificial light sources, and on walls.

These lizards are medium-sized, with bumps covering their body. They have tannish to cream coloring, with dark blotches on their body, and bands on their tail. The feet of this lizard have pads to help them climb. Their eyes are yellow with an elliptical shape, giving them excellent night vision.

Mediterranean house geckos have been introduced to North America due international trade. These lizards mainly feed on insects, and are common in areas with lots of insect traffic. When active you may hear these lizards chirping, which helps them find a mate and mark their territory.

FAQ

What is the most common lizard in Indiana?

The common five-lined skink is one of the most common lizards in Indiana. These lizards can be found all across the state, and live in moist woodland habitats. They are one of the most widespread skinks, but there are also several other common lizards in the state.

In Indiana what is the largest lizard?

The slender glass lizard is the largest lizard in Indiana. These lizards can grow up to 42 in. (106.68 cm.) in length, and have no legs, with a body more similar to a snake. The broad-headed skink is also one of the largest lizards that live in the state, and is one of the largest lizards with legs.

Are there invasive lizards in Indiana?

The Mediterranean house gecko is one of the invasive lizards that lives in Indiana. Invasive lizards can be transported to new areas due to the pet trade, or shipments from other countries. Invasive lizards can cause a negative impact on an environment since they take resources and land away from native lizards.

Wrapping up

There are around 7 lizards that live in Indiana, and there are many differences between them that you may find out. Learning about a lizard’s appearance, behavior, and where they live in the wild will make it easier for you to identify and find them in the wild. Some lizards even make good pets, but you should learn about the commitments a species takes before getting one.

Indiana is a diverse state filled with many natural landscapes like lakes, woodlands, wetlands, and grasslands. Lizards are very tolerable, and can even be found in urban environments. The more you learn about the lizards in Indiana the easier it will be to protect the regions they live in.

More lizards in other nearby states

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