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15 Fun Lizards in Kansas

In Kansas there are 15 lizard species that live in the state. Some of the habitats where they can be found in Kansas include prairies, grasslands, wetlands, woodlands, and urban areas. Lizards are a very common reptile you may find in the state, and this article will go over all the types in the region.

When you know more about lizards it becomes easier to find, and identify the ones in the wild. Some lizard species may look very similar to one another, while other species can be very unique.

You can use a lizard’s appearance, behavior, and where it is found in the wild to identify one, but some may only be distinguishable through very small traits. Let’s take a look at the 15 lizards that live in Kansas, and go over some important things that you should know about them.

Lizards in Kansas

Anguidae

1. 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 the only limbless lizard that lives in Kansas. These lizards are native to the southeastern United States, and are sighted in the majority of Kansas. Sandy areas, and open dry habitats is where these lizards live. They are active from spring to fall, and hibernate in burrows in the winter.

Slender glass lizards are one of the largest lizards in Kansas, and have no limbs on their bodies like snakes. These lizards have an olive to tan coloring with dark stripes that appear on their body. Unlike snakes, glass lizards are able to blink, and have ear holes.

Active from the spring to fall, these lizards hibernate in the winter, and come out around April. They may lay up to 15 eggs, and place them in moist and secluded environments. Slender glass lizards are very secretive, and are typically not seen often.

These lizards feed on insects, small rodents, other lizards, and amphibians. They will avoid coming out when it is hot, and may hide in debris, or thick vegetation. Slender glass lizards are able to drop their tails to escape predators. In the wild these lizards’ secretive nature makes them hard to find.

Teiidae

2. 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

Six-lined racerunners are found all across Kansas, and these lizards are native to the southeastern United States. These lizards live in woodlands, fields, and dune habitats. They are common species found in the summer since they are very tolerant of heat. Six-lined racerunners are very quick, and use their speed to travel across their environments.

These lizards have six white, or yellow stripes that run down their body. They have a black, tan or gray coloring, with a slender body. Males can have bluish coloring that appears near their throat in the breeding season. Six-lined racerunners have large pointed noses, with small toes, and small square scales.

Six-lined racerunners breed in the spring and summer, laying around 6 eggs. Females lay their eggs in a burrow or secluded area, and will guard them until they hatch. Six-lined racerunners are affected in some parts of their population due to habitat loss and pollutants.

These lizards use their quick speed to escape predators, or catch prey. They can run up to 18 mph. (29 km/h). Snakes, birds, and ants are some of the predators of this lizard. Spiders, insects, and other small invertebrates are what this lizard eats.

Crotaphytidae

3. 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

The eastern collared lizard is found in the eastern United States, and these lizards can be found in the southern, and eastern portions of Kansas. Eastern collared lizards live in rocky, and grassland habitats. These lizards are found in the day, and come out most during the morning.

Eastern collared lizards are a medium-sized species, and showcase sexual dimorphic traits. The males of this lizard have large brown heads, with a bluish/green body. Females have a more dull appearance than males, and are slightly smaller than males.

These lizards can have yellowish, black, tan, or green markings on them. They have a black collar pattern that goes around their neck, with bands and stripes on them. Eastern collared lizards breed in the spring and early summer. They lay around 4 to 6 eggs in a clutch. After their eggs hatch the young and old lizards prepare for winter hibernation.

Eastern collared lizards sometimes run on their two hind legs, which help them reach speeds up to 16 mph (26 km/h). Their speed is used to catch prey like crickets, spiders, and grasshoppers. Coyotes, roadrunners, birds, and mammals are the predators of these lizards.

Phrynosomatidae

4. Lesser Earless Lizard

Lesser Earless Lizard (Holbrookia maculata)
Lesser Earless Lizard (Holbrookia maculata)
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Phrnosomatidae
  • Scientific Name: Holbrookia maculata
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 4 to 5 in. (10 to 13 cm.)
  • Lifespan: 3 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

Lesser earless lizards are native to the United States, found in Kansas, and other nearby states in the south-central United States. These lizards live in habitats like grasslands, deserts, and shrublands. Lesser earless lizards are adapted to live in sandy habitats, and will dig a burrow in the sand when not active.

The lesser earless lizard is named after the lack of an ear hole on its head. They are a medium-sized, to small species. This lizard has tan, to gray coloring. In the breeding season females may have orange coloring on them near their throat. Lesser earless lizards have small scales, with dark tan wavy markings on their back.

Lesser earless lizards breed from the spring to summer. They are active in the day, and they may have anywhere from two to seven eggs in their clutch. Lesser earless lizards lay their eggs in humid soil, which hatch later in the summer.

When active in the day these lizards feed on insects, spiders, and other types of small invertebrates. They are a difficult species to find due to their camouflage, speed, tendency to be active in the morning. Lesser earless lizards are mainly seen in the western two thirds of Kansas, and have a stable population in their range.

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

In Kansas the Texas horned lizard can be sighted throughout the majority of the state. Sparsely vegetated, and open semi-arid habitats is where the Texas horned lizard is often found. They prefer areas with loose soil. The spring to fall is when these lizards are active, and in the winter they hibernate.

The Texas horned lizards have large heads, flat bodies, and a roundish body. They have a coloring of tan, yellowish, or gray. Horns, and spikes cover these lizards’ bodies and heads. Their horns and shape of their body make them hard to eat, and also allow them to blend in with sparse desert plants.

Texas horned lizards will only lay around one clutch a year, and mating occurs in the spring or early summer. In Kansas this lizard is very abundant, and their populations are stable in the wild. Across some of their range in the United States this lizard is invasive, but they are also on the decline in some regions due to habitat destruction.

Texas horned lizards mainly feed on harvester ants, but also feed on other insects, and spiders. These lizards have begun getting preyed on by invasive red ants. Texas horned lizards may also be eaten by birds, dogs, and snakes. They are able to squirt blood from their eyes to ward off canine predators.

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: n/a
  • Adult Size: 4 to 7 in. (10.16 to 17.78 cm.)
  • Lifespan: n/a
  • Average Price Range: n/a

In Kansas the prairie lizard is a common species in the eastern part of the state. They live in open woodland, and sandy riparian habitats. Prairie lizards are active from the spring to fall months, and are seen most on sunny days. They are inactive in extremely hot, or cold weather.

Prairie lizards are a small to medium-sized species. They have gray to tan coloring, with small rough scales. Males can have grayish, or black coloring, with no markings on their back, but blue iridescent scales. Females have a wavy pattern on their back of orange, or reddish.

These lizards breed and lay their eggs in summer. They use holes and dirt to make their nests, and a female can lay anywhere between 4 to 17 eggs. Prairie lizards have their eggs hatched in around a month, and their young typically live under three years due to natural deaths.

Small insects are what this lizard eats. They are active in the day, and some threats they face include birds, and larger lizards. These lizards are very common in their range, but they may not be spotted often due to their tendency to hide, but also the camouflage on them.

Scincidae

7. Coal Skink

Coal Skink (Plestiodon anthracinus) - source
Coal Skink (Plestiodon anthracinus) – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Scincidae
  • Scientific Name: Plestiodon anthracinus
  • 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 coal skink is one of the many skink species that live in Kansas. Moist woodlands near water sources like rivers is where this species lives. They are terrestrial, and spend lots of the time on the leaf littered floor. Coal skinks are also found in urban woodlands, and hillsides.

Coal skinks are medium sized, with tan, or olive coloring. They have smooth scales, with dark stripes running down their body. Male coal skinks in the breeding season have a reddish patch near their face. Their tails are long, and like other skinks are bright blue when young.

Summer is when coal skinks mate, and they lay around 8 to 9 eggs in a clutch. Their eggs are placed in moist regions, and when born they are about 2 in. (5 cm.) long. Coal skinks are very protective of their eggs, and will guard them until they hatch.

Coal skinks across their range are common but secretive, and their populations are considered stable. These lizards are often found around springs, and rocky bluffs. They feed on small insects, and invertebrates they find during the day. Coal skinks most common predators are birds like hawks, or mammals like badgers.

8. 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

The common five-lined skinks are common in the eastern United States, and are a species found across Kansas. These lizards are one of the most common species in their range. They live in woodland habitats near forests or streams. These lizards hide under logs, leaf litter, or large rocks.

Common five-lined skinks get their name from the five yellowish lines that run down their back. They have a tan, olive, black ,or gray coloring. Five-lined skinks have a bright blue tail when born. Their bodies are slender, and limbs small.

The eggs of these lizards are laid in early summer, and females will find a moist, and secluded area to nest. Five-lined skinks can lay up to 8 eggs, and use natural debris to hide their young. Eggs absorb soil from the water, and incubate for up to 55 days to a month.

Five-lined skinks feed on arthropods, crickets, spiders, and various types of insects. In some parts of their range this lizard has seen a decline due to climate change, and habitat destruction. Five-lined skinks can drop their tail, and will flee if attacked by a predator. Due to their hardiness, and how common they are, this lizard is a common pet.

9. 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 a species native to the southeastern United States. In Kansas the broad headed skink lives in the southeastern portion of the state. Broad-headed skinks live in oak woodland habitats. They are semi-arboreal, and are often seen climbing in trees, or other tall structures.

Broad-headed skinks get their names from their large heads, and wide jaws. Males have reddish colored heads in the breeding season. Females have light stripes that run down their body. These lizards have a greenish olive, to tan coloring. Their undersides are pale, with no pattern on them.

These lizards are one of the largest lizards that you can find in Kansas. Females are slightly smaller than males, but the larger they are the more eggs they can lay. These lizards lay around 8 to 22 eggs, and they will guard them until they hatch in the summer. In logs, or other dark moist cavities is where this lizard nests.

In the spring through fall you may be able to see a broad-headed skink during the day. They feed on small lizards, insects, small rodents, or other small prey they can overpower. These skinks have a stable population in their range, and are used as food by a lot of larger predators.

10. Great Plains Skink

Great Plains Skink (Plestiodon obsoletus)
Great Plains Skink (Plestiodon obsoletus)
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Scincidae
  • Scientific Name: Plestiodon obsoletum
  • 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

In Kansas the great plains skink can be found in most of the state, with their populations being higher near the eastern portion of the state. Great plains skinks live in open grassland, and prairie habitats. The great plains skink is native to the United States, and like their name suggests they are found in the Great Plains region.

These lizards are one of the largest lizards in their habitats. They have a gray, tan, or beige color, with a dark coloring near the edges of their scales. This lizard has a robust body, with smooth appearance, and long tail.

Great Plains skinks breed in the April and May months. They lay anywhere between 5 to 32 eggs, and will guard their young fiercely until they hatch. Great Plains skinks have stable populations, and are listed as a species of least concern by the IUCN.

Crickets, spiders, beetles, and other types of small invertebrates are what this lizard eats. When young these lizards are very vulnerable and most die by the age of 2 to predators. Snakes, birds of prey, cats, and canines are these lizards’ most common predators.

11. Prairie Skink

Prairie Skink (Plestiodon septentrionalis) by dylanfrom785
Prairie Skink (Plestiodon septentrionalis) by dylanfrom785
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Scincidae
  • Scientific Name: Plestiodon septentrionalis
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 5 to 9 in. (13 to 22 cm.)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The prairie skink is a lizard that is native to the United States, and can be found from North Dakota until Texas. There are two subspecies of the prairie skink which are called the Northern, and Southern variants. Both of these lizard subspecies can be found across Kansas.

Prairie skinksf have a brownish, or tan coloring. This lizard is medium-sized, and has dark stripes that run down their back. Like other skinks, when born this species has a blue tail. Prairie skinks have a slender body, with smooth scales. 

This lizard enjoys burrowing, and is often found in grasslands, and sandy habitats with loose soil. They may also use rocks, or other large vegetation as shelter. Prairie skinks are active in the spring to fall months, and in winter they hibernate under the first line. 

Albe to lay up to 10 eggs, prairie skinks hatch their eggs in just over a month. They are often found out on rocks basking in the sun, or near water sources. Insects and small invertebrates are what these lizard’s diets are made of. Overall these lizards have a stable population, and are a common species.

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

The little brown skink is native to the southeastern United States, and is found in the southeastern portion of Kansas. These lizards live in woodland habitats, often next to water sources like streams. Little brown skinks are fossorial, and spend their time in soil, or within loose litter.

Little brown skinks are very slender, with a tan body, and dark stripes down their sides. They can sometimes have specks on them, and their limbs are very small. This skink has a very long tail, and small head. Females of this species grow faster than males, and also get heavier.

The spring in moist environments is where these lizards mate, and they can have anywhere from 1 to 6 clutches, with 2 to 3 eggs. These lizard eggs are small, and females do not guard their clutch. Little brown skinks are very common, but in parts of their range they have declined due to habitat destruction.

Small insects, and invertebrates are what these lizards eat. They use their brown coloring to blend into dirt, and leaves. Little brown skinks being so small are very vulnerable to animals like hawks, larger lizards, and mammals.

Lacertidae

13. Western Green Lizard

Western Green Lizard (Lacerta bilineata) by fausto
Western Green Lizard (Lacerta bilineata) by fausto
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Lacertidae
  • Scientific Name: Lacerta bilineata
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 16. in. (40 cm.)
  • Lifespan: 15 years
  • Average Price Range: $40

Western green lizards are native to Europe, and are an introduced species to Kansas. This lizard inhabits woodlands, open grasslands, and pasture habitats. Western green lizards are active in the day, and are sometimes seen climbing in vegetation like trees, and large rocks.

Western green lizards are a large species, and have very long tails. They have a vibrant green coloring, with a tail that is sometimes twice as long as their body. Males of this species has larger heads, and they also may have a blue shade on their cheek.The scales of these lizards are small, and their toes long.

Western green lizards mate in the spring like other lizards, and lay around 6 to 25 eggs. They prefer warm and humid environments, with moist soil. These lizards are often kept as pets, which is why they have become very invasive.

Insects and arthropods make up the majority of this species’ diet, and being so large they are even capable of eating other lizards. These lizards are very terrestrial, and can be a threat to native lizards in Kansas due to their size, and aggressiveness.

14. Italian Wall Lizard

Italian Wall Lizard (Podarcis siculus)
Italian Wall Lizard (Podarcis siculus)
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Lacertidae
  • Scientific Name: Podarcis siculus
  • Other Names: Ruin lizard
  • Adult Size: 3.5 in. (9 cm.)
  • Lifespan: 13 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The Italian wall lizard is an invasive species that is native to southeastern Europe. These lizards have been introduced to North America, and have expanded their range to several places around the world. Grasslands, parks, urban areas, woodlands, and meadows are some of the habitats this lizard lives in.

Italian wall lizards are medium sized, with green or brown coloring. They have a white belly, and males may have hints of blue on their stomach. Males of this species have larger heads, and also stronger jaws.

These lizards have been established since they are very hardy, and adaptable. Invertebrates and arthropods make up the majority of their diet, and this lizard is considered a generalist predator. Italian wall lizards only lay a few eggs a year, and must watch out for predators like snakes, birds, and cats.

Gekkonidae

15. Mediterranean 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

In Kansas the Mediterranean house gecko is an invasive species. This lizard is one of the only gecko lizards that lives in the state. Originally native to the Mediterranean region in Asia, Europe, and Africa. These geckos are active at night, and spend their time near urban areas. Mediterranean geckos are often seen on walls, and the sides of buildings.

These lizards are very small, and have a brownish, to tan coloring. They have a bumpy appearance, with tan markings on them Mediterranean geckos have yellowish eyes, with elliptical eyelids. Their eyes help them see in the night, and they use high positions to get better views.

Mediterranean house geckos believed to have spread across the world due to the pet trade, and shipments from other countries. These lizards first appeared in North America in the early 1900s, and have spread themselves across the continent and the globe.

At night these lizards hunt for insects like moths, beetles, crickets, and other small invertebrates. They are common near light sources, and other areas that get lots of insect traffic. Their pads on their feet make them great climbers, and when active you may hear them chirping to communicate.

FAQ

What is the largest lizard in Kansas?

The slender glass lizard is the largest lizard species that lives in Kansas, and can grow up to 26 in. (66.04 cm). Other large lizards that live in the state include the broadhead skink, and the racerunner. A lizard’s size is determined by their species, gender, and environmental factors like food availability. 

Are there any dangerous lizards in Kansas?

In Kansas there are no poisonous, or venomous lizards that live in the state. All of the other lizards are typically harmless, but they may carry germs that can be harmful to humans. If you handle, or get in contact with a lizard you should be sure to clean yourself after.

In Kansas what invasive lizard species are there?

The Italian wall lizard, and Mediterranean house gecko are invasive lizards that live in the state. Invasive lizards can come into the state by the pet trade, or through shipments from other countries.

Wrapping up

Kansas is home to more than 200 species of animals, and lizards are an important part of the state’s ecosystem. Lizards feed on animals like insects, and help control these pest populations. Lizards are also a valuable food source for many of the state’s carnivores.

In Kansas lizards are one of the most common types of reptiles. Some species may make good pets, but others are better kept in the wild. Lizards can have prolonged life spans in captivity when kept under good care.

Learning about lizards will not only help you find them in the wild, but also learn how to protect the habitats of these species, and prevent them from extinction. New species can always be introduced to certain regions, and the range of native lizards always changes.

Lizards in other nearby states

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