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13 Types Of Lizards In Missouri

Exploring the realm of lizards in Missouri unveils an intriguing collection of 13 different species, each showcasing their own unique characteristics. These reptiles form a significant chunk of Missouri’s abundant biodiversity, cohabitating with numerous other animals, including snakes and turtles.

Globally, over 7,000 species of lizards can be found, with a select handful calling Missouri their home. Species such as geckos, skinks, and horned lizards provide a captivating insight into the state’s reptilian population. This guide sheds light on these lizards, equipping you with valuable knowledge to recognize, understand, and locate these intriguing creatures in the wild.

Lizards in Missouri

Crotaphytidae

1. 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 live in dry, open, and rocky habitats. This species is active in the day, found in the months from spring to fall. Eastern collared lizards live mainly in the southern half of Missouri. A very quick lizard, you may sometimes see this species run quickly on its hind legs.

Medium in size, this lizard is very colorful, with a large head, and long tail. Eastern collared lizards get their name from the black collared marking that appears around their neck. Green, blue, yellow, and tan are some of the colors this species has. They may be seen with spots, bands, and blotches on them.

Eastern collared lizards feed on insects like moths, beetles, and grasshoppers. They can also eat animals like small snakes, and lizards. This species breeds in the spring and early summer months, laying around 4 to 24 eggs in a clutch. Females will protect their eggs until they hatch around 2 to 3 months later.

Phrynosomatidae

2. 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 to 12.7 cm.)
  • Lifespan: 5 years
  • Average Price Range: $40

In Missouri the Texas horned lizard is found in a small southwestern corner of the state. You can find this lizard from the spring to early fall months. They live in dry, and open habitats with sandy soil, and lots of rocks. Texas horned lizards can be spotted most early in the morning, basking in the sun.

When compared with other lizards the Texas horned lizard has a very unique spiky appearance. This lizard has tan, to grayish coloring, with spots that appear on them. They have round, flat bodies with a short tail. The Texas horned lizard has a white belly, with gray spots.

The spikes and coloring of this lizard help them blend into their dry habitats. Texas horned lizards feed mainly on ants, but will also eat other insects. The spikes on this lizard also help them become less edible to predators. Not only is this lizard’s range in Missouri very small, but this species is rarely seen in the state.

3. 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

Prairie lizards are found in most of Missouri, but are absent from the northwestern region in the state. This species lives in open woodlands, or prairie habitats. You can find them on trees, stumps, and other thick vegetation. The months from March to mid-October are when this lizard is active. They are active in the day, typically seen until 1 pm.

Prairie lizards are gray, to brown, and have very keeled scales. Males may be darker colored with no markings, but a blue coloring. Females of this species sometimes have wavy light markings on them. The tail of this lizard is long, with reddish coloring near their base.

Various invertebrates they find is what this lizard eats. Spring is when this lizard mates, and they lay between 4 to 17 eggs. The eggs of this lizard hatch in the summer, and when winter comes this lizard hibernates.

Teiidae

4. 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 a lizard species found across Missouri. This lizard lives in dry, and open habitats. Grasslands, woodlands, and floodplains are some of the places this lizard is found. Active in the day, this species is seen most hunting for insects before noon.

Six-lined racerunners are named after the six yellowish, or red lines that run down their back. Dark brown, olive, or black are the colors this lizard appears in. They have long tails, with long toes. Males can sometimes have bluish stripes, with a greenish coloring appearing under their chin.

This lizard does not climb often and spends most of its time on the ground. Their long tails are able to break off to help them escape predators like birds, or larger snakes. Six-lined race runners in very hot temperatures hide under cover, and during the cold period hibernate.

Scincidae

5. 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 a. 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 southern coal skink can be found in most of Missouri, but is absent from the northern portion of the state. This lizard lives in moist woodlands, and other habitats near streams. They may hide in a burrow when not active, or under a rock. Southern coal skinks are most active in the spring, and mate during this period, laying around 10 eggs.

Southern coal skinks have tan coloring with a shiny appearance. This lizard has broad stripes running down their sides. They have orange coloring on the side of their face during the breeding season. This lizard when born has a blue tail, which fades with age.

Compared with other skink species, the southern coal skink is not seen often, but has a stable population in Missouri. This lizard feeds on small invertebrates, and their secretive nature keeps them safe from predators.

6. 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 found all across Missouri. This species lives in habitats like woodlands, hillsides, and urban areas. They may hide under debris like woodpiles, and rocks. The spring and fall is when this lizard is active, with their peak activity occurring in April.

This skink is named after the five lines that run down their body. This lizard has a shiny appearance, with tan, olive, or black coloring. When born this species has a blue tail, but females may keep this with age. As this lizard ages their coloring becomes more dull.

Common five-lined skinks are one of the most common lizards in Missouri. They feed on small insects and other small animals. This species is preyed on by animals like hawks, and moles. Common five-lined skinks when attacked by a predator can drop their tail, and grow it back, similar to other lizards.

7. 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 found in most of Missouri, but is absent from the northwestern corner of the state. This species lives in forest habitats, and they are seen on stumps, large logs, and other structures. Broad-headed skinks enjoy climbing, and are the most arboreal lizards in the state.

Broad-headed skinks are one of the largest lizards that live in Missouri, and are named after their large heads. The scales of this lizard are smooth and shiny. Males can have reddish heads. When compared with other skinks this species lacks any markings.

Snails, small lizards, and even small mice are what this lizard eats. They are active most from the spring to fall months, and breed during this season, laying their eggs in moist places. This skink can lay up to 10 eggs, and they sometimes lay their eggs in communal nests. Broad-headed skinks begin to breed at around 2 years of age, and live up to 8 years.

8. 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 found in Missouri within the western border region of the state. This species lives in foothills, and rocky mountain habitats. They are seen most near streams, and moist environments. Great Plains skinks are active most in the spring, and breed during this season, laying up to 32 eggs.

This skink is a large species, with gray, or beige coloring. They have smooth scales, with dark coloring in between their scales. Great Plains skinks when born have a blue tail, which fades with age.

The summer after mating this lizard will guard their young until they hatch. Great Plains skinks are common in their range, and have a stable population. Hawks, small mammals like skunks, and larger reptiles are what this species gets preyed on. Great Plains skinks are able to drop their tail, and regrow it back.

9. 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

Prairie skinks are found in the northwestern corner of Missouri, and have a range that covers the central United States. This species lives in habitats like prairies, and grasslands. They are active in the day, and seen from spring to fall. This lizard in winter burrows, and hibernates under the frost line.

Prairie skinks are a small lizard, with brown or tan coloring. They have a dark line that runs down their sides, and like other skinks when born they have a blue tail. Prairie skinks have very long bodies, with short limbs.

When not in their burrow, this species will come out to bask in the sun. Water sources like streams are where this lizard lives. Insects, and other small invertebrates like spiders feed this lizard. Prairie skinks are not seen often due to their secretive nature.

10. 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

In Missouri the little brown skink is a very common species, and is found across the state. The southeastern United States is where this lizard is native to. They are a fossorial species, living in woodlands, and are found in loose soil, or in leaf litter. These lizards are often found near water sources, like streams or rivers.

Little brown skinks are one of the smallest skinks in Missouri, and have small limbs, with slender bodies. They have tan to coppery coloring, with dark stripes on their sides, and specks on them. This lizard has a moist appearance, and very small heads.

Little brown skinks are active in the day, and spend their time feeding on very small insects. Their secretive nature helps defend them from predators, but they can also dive into the water to escape predation. Birds like owls, larger lizards, and snakes are this species’ most common predator.

Anguidae

11. 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 a. 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

Western slender glass lizards are found all across Missouri. Prairies, grasslands, open woodlands, and rocky hillsides are some of the places this lizard lives. They are active from the spring, to early fall. This lizard is active in the day, and when not active takes shelter in burrows, or thick vegetation.

This lizard is the largest lizard that lives in Missouri, and has a snake-like body with no legs. Western slender glass lizards have tan or brown coloring, with dark stripes on their back. This species has ear holes, and blinkable eyelids, which differentiates them from snakes.

Unlike snakes, slender glass lizards are not able to open, and unhinge their jaws to eat. This lizard feeds on small animals like insects, smaller lizards, and small rodents that fit into their mouth. Western slender glass lizards are able to drop their long tail if attacked. They are very secretive, and while their population is stable are affected by habitat loss, and harmful insecticides.

Gekkonidae

12. Mediterranean Gecko

Mediterranean House Gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus)
Mediterranean House Gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus)
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Gekkonidae
  • Scientific Name: Hemidactylus turcicus
  • Other Names: Turkish gecko
  • Adult Size: 3 to 6 in. (7.62 to 15.24 cm.)
  • Lifespan: 9 years
  • Average Price Range: $10

The Mediterranean house gecko is native to the Mediterranean region, but has become invasive in Missouri, and other places in North America. This lizard is also called the moon lizard, since they are active at night. Mediterranean geckos are found mostly in urban areas, near homes, and buildings like warehouses.

Mediterranean house geckos are a small species with large toe pads, and yellow elliptical eyes. This species has tan coloring, with dark spots on them, and has very bumpy skin. Mediterranean house geckos have plump tails, with pointed heads.

This species is active at night, and sometimes congregates with other members of their species. Insects are what they eat, and they hunt on walls, and near light sources that attract insects. Mediterranean geckos are very quick, and flee when spotted.

Lacertidae

13. 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

Italian wall lizards are an invasive species in Missouri, and are originally native to the Italian Peninsula. Grasslands, shrublands, farmlands, and urban habitats are where this species lives. They are able to live in places with high temperatures. This species is invasive since it is hardy, and able to live in a variety of habitats.

Italian wall lizards are a medium-sized species. They have greenish to brown coloring on their back, with a white, or green belly. Males of this species have larger heads, and can become very aggressive in the breeding season.

Insects like beetles, and other invertebrates are what this species eats. They are preyed on by animals like cats, and birds. Italian wall lizards have become invasive due to cargo shipments, and the pet trade. Invasive lizards like this species can be dangerous to the native species of Missouri, as they take resources from other lizards.

FAQ

What is the largest lizard in Missouri?

The western slender glass lizard is the largest lizard species living in Missouri. This species has no legs, and has a more similar appearance to snakes than other lizards. Western slender lizards can grow up to 26 inches (66 cm.) in length, and can weigh around 300 to 600 grams (11 to 21 ounces).

In Missouri what is the smallest lizard?

The little brown skink is one of the smallest lizards in Missouri, and is also one of the smallest reptiles in all of North America. This small lizard only has a length around 3 to 5 inches in total length, and has a very slender body with small legs. In Missouri this small lizard may not be seen often since they hide within leaf litter, and underground.

Are there any dangerous lizards in Missouri?

In Missouri there are no lizard species that are venomous, and all of the lizards in the state are typically harmless to humans. The germs lizards carry are what is most dangerous about them, and if you handle a lizard you should wash your hands. Humans are more dangerous to lizards, than they are to us.

Wrapping up

Lizards are one of the many types of animals that live in Missouri. Some of the lizards in Missouri are invasive, and in the future there may be new species introduced to the area. Lizards are one of the many aspects of a healthy ecosystem, and are used for food by animals like birds, small mammals, and other reptiles.

While some lizard species can make good pets, you should never take a lizard you see from the wild, as they can be endangered. Lizards that are taken from the wild die sooner, due to disease and parasites.

There is still lots to learn about the lizards in Missouri, and the range of these species may change in the state as their population grows or declines. Protecting the habitats of lizards is essential, as many of their homes are being polluted and encroached on. Lizards, like all the animals in Missouri are not only fun to see in the wild, but also learn about.

Other lizards in nearby states

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