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12 Types Of Lizards in Virginia

Diving into the world of lizards in Virginia, you’ll encounter an intriguing mix of 12 species that call this state their home. Alongside other reptiles such as snakes and turtles, these lizards showcase the immense diversity of reptilian life in the region, with some species even introduced from different areas.

In this article, we will shed light on all the lizards in Virginia, providing key identification details and information about where they can be found within the state. Notably, certain lizards exhibit strikingly similar appearances and can only be distinguished by a discerning eye.

Join us as we explore the 12 types of lizards in Virginia, each with its own set of fascinating characteristics. Lizards, with their unique attributes and behaviors, are among the numerous captivating creatures that enrich the vibrant animal kingdom of Virginia.

Lizards in Virginia

Dactyloidae

1. Green Anole

Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis)
Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis)
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Dactyloidae
  • Scientific Name: Anolis carolinensis
  • Other Names: American anole, Red-throated anole
  • Adult Size: 5 to 8 in. (12.7 to 20.32 cm.)
  • Lifespan: 5 to 8 years
  • Average Price Range: $10

Green anoles are medium-sized green lizards and are the only anole species that live in Virginia. These lizards are native to the southeastern United States, and are not actually native to Virginia, but have been introduced to the state. Green anoles live in woodland habitats with lots of humidity, in places like swamps.

These lizards have a color from tan to green and are able to change their shade to match their habitat. Green anoles that are male have a dewlap under their chin that has bright red coloring in the mating season. These lizards have large pointed heads, long tails, and smallish hands.

Insects are mainly what green anoles feed on, but they also eat spiders and other small invertebrates. The ability to change their color helps the green anole camouflage from prey. These lizards have only been reported in a small region within southeastern Virginia, but their hardy nature may cause them to expand across the state.

Teiidae

2. Six-lined Race Runner

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 race runner is the only species of race runner that lives in Virginia. This lizard is native to the south, and central United States. They are active during the day and live in grasslands, woodlands, and rocky habitats.

Six-lined race runners get their name from the six lines that run down their bodies, which are usually yellow or orange in color. This species has olive, black coloring, with long tails, and long toes. Male eastern six-lined race runners may have greenish coloring under their neck, and are also the larger sex.

Spring and summer is when this lizard mates, and they lay around six eggs. Their eggs are laid in soil, rotten wood, or other similar places, and hatch in around 8 weeks. Insects are the main food source for this lizard, as well as spiders, and other invertebrates.

Scincidae

3. 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

Common five-lined skinks are one of the many skink species that live in Virginia, and while found across the state, this lizard’s range covers most of the eastern United States. Forests, urban, and moist habitats with lots of trees are where this lizard lives.

Common five-lined skinks are named after the five lines that run down their body. Tan, olive, to black, is the color of this lizard, and when born they have blue tails which fade with age. The stripes of this lizard are yellowish, or white. Males have a red coloring that appears on their faces when breeding.

Like other lizards, this species is able to break off its tail and grow it back to help them escape predators like birds and carnivorous mammals. Insects are what this lizard eats, and they do their foraging during the day.

4. Southeastern Five-lined Skink

Southeastern Five-lined Skink (Plestiodon inexpectatus)
Southeastern Five-lined Skink (Plestiodon inexpectatus)
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Scincidae
  • Scientific Name: Plestiodon inexpectatus
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 5.5 to 8.5 in. (13.97 to 21.59 cm.)
  • Lifespan: 6 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The southeastern five-lined skink is native to the southeastern United States. These lizards can be found in most of Virginia, but are absent from the western region of the state. Southeastern five-lined skinks live in woodlands and dry habitats.

Medium in size, these lizards have a blue tail, which will fade with age. They have five stripes that are white or yellow that run down their body. This lizard has brown, gray, or black coloring. This lizard species does not have an enlarged row of scales under its tail.

Southeastern five-lined skinks are active during the day and feed on insects like grasshoppers, and other invertebrates. They breed in the spring and summer, laying around 6 to 12 eggs. A common species, this lizard has a stable population and is listed as a species of “least concern” by the IUCN.

5. 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 the eastern United States, and is found all across Virginia but the western region of the state. These lizards are semi-arboreal and live in woodland habitats. Broad-headed skinks are one of the largest skinks in Virginia, and their population is considered stable.

These lizards have tan, or olive coloring, and have reddish heads. They are named after their large triangle shaped heads, in which males have reddish coloring. Female broad-headed skinks may have stripes on them. Young lizards have stripes on them which fade with age, and have blue tails.

Broad-headed skinks climb in trees looking for hidden food and also dig to find their meals. Many think this lizard is venomous due to their bright coloring, but these lizards are harmless. Birds like owls and carnivorous rodents are the main predators this lizard faces.

6. 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 these lizards are found across Virginia. This lizard is a fossorial species and spends most of its time in leaf litter, and loose soil. Woodlands and other forests’ habitats near freshwater sources are where this lizard lives. Mainly active in the day, little brown skinks may not be seen since they are underground, and also hibernate in the winter.

Little brown skinks are one of the smallest skinks in North America, and they tan to coppery coloring. These lizards have a speckled pattern on them, and dark brown stripes on their sides. Little brown skinks are small and slender, with small limbs.

These lizards feed on small terrestrial insects and are eaten by other animals like larger lizards, owls, and snakes. Little brown skinks have around 1 to 6 clutches of up to 3 eggs in the breeding season. These lizards have a stable population in their range, and are listed as a species of “least concern”.

7. Northern Coal Skink

Northern Coal Skink (Plestiodon anthracinus anthracinus) by hamr_brdr
Northern Coal Skink (Plestiodon anthracinus anthracinus) by hamr_brdr
  • 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

Northern coal skinks are a subspecies of coal skink native to Florida, and have a scattered population in the northeastern United States. These lizards are very rare, and only found in small regions within western Virginia. Northern coal skinks live in woodland habitats with lots of leaf litter.

These lizards are medium size, with dark black, to tan coloring. Males have reddish coloring on their faces in the breeding season. The sides of these lizards have dark stripes.

Northern coal skinks are very rare and feed on insects, their larvae, and other invertebrates. These lizards’ smaller population and restricted range are why they are not seen often and are hard to study.

Phrynosomatidae

8. 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

Eastern fence lizards are found in the southeastern United States. They live in woodlands, grasslands, and urban habitats. These lizards enjoy climbing and are often seen on fences, trees, and rocks. In Virginia, these lizards are found all across the state.

Eastern fence lizards have gray to tan coloring, with dark chevrons that appear on their body. They have roughly keeled scales, and males have a blue coloring that appears on their chins and belly.

Eastern fence lizards feed on spiders, insects, and other invertebrates. They are often found near homes, and if spotted on the ground will climb into a tree for shelter. The coloring of these lizards helps them camouflage into the trees they are found on.

Anguidae

9. 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

Slender glass lizards are native to the southeastern United States. These lizards are active during the day and live in burrows. Slender glass lizards live in sandhill habitats and other places with lots of sandy soil. These lizards are not seen often since they are regularly in their burrow and hide under debris like logs, and rocks.

What makes glass lizards like this species unique is their lack of legs and slender snake-like bodies. Slender glass lizards are different from snakes since they have blinkable eyes and ear holes. These lizards have tan to olive coloring, with a black and white mottled pattern on their sides.

Slender glass lizards feed on insects, spiders, and even small vertebrates like mice. These lizards do not have flexible jaws like snakes, and can only eat animals that fit into their mouth. If attacked their large tails can break off, and will grow back much smaller.

10. Eastern Glass Lizard

Eastern Glass Lizard (Ophisaurus ventralis)
Eastern Glass Lizard (Ophisaurus ventralis)
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Anguidae
  • Scientific Name: Ophisaurus ventralis
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 18 to 43 in. (46 to 108 cm.)
  • Lifespan: 10 to 30 years
  • Average Price Range: $50

Eastern glass lizards are native to the southeastern United States. These lizards are found in flatwoods and wetland habitats. They are burrowing lizards and breed during early summer. Females lay their eggs under debris and in secluded areas. They will guard their eggs until they hatch in the summer.

Eastern glass lizards have bodies similar to snakes with tan, yellowish, or olive coloring. They have a stripe running down their sides, and have a dark mottled pattern on them. Eastern glass lizards that are older have less patterns and less bold coloring.

Eastern glass lizards feed on insects, spiders, and other invertebrates. They are preyed on by animals like foxes, skunks, and snakes. These lizards are very rare, and not seen often since they are very secretive.

Gekkonidae

11. Mediterranean House 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

Mediterranean house geckos are lizards not native to Virginia, and are originally from the Mediterranean. These lizards are mainly found in urban habitats within the state. In Virginia this lizards has a scattered population across the state. The pet industry, and global trade are the reasons this lizard has managed to find its way into Virginia.

Mediterranean house geckos have tannish cream coloring, with yellow elliptical eyes. These lizards have tan dots on them, and have very bumpy skin. They have plump tails, with pads on their fingers to help them climb.

Currently this species is the only gecko known in the state. They are active at night, found near light sources. Insects are the main food source of this lizard, and at night they may be heard chirping. Spring is when this species breeds. Cats, birds, rats, and larger spiders are these lizard predators.

Lacertidae

12. 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 a species not native to Virginia, and is originally from Europe. This lizard has expanded its range to the United States. They live in farmlands, grasslands, woodlands, and shrubland habitats. Italian wall lizards are mainly found near human structures.

The body of this lizard is green and brown, and they have stripes and blotches on them. These lizards that are males have larger heads and stronger jaws. They have long tails that are brown while their heads are green. The toes of this lizard are long, and they have tan to green bellies.

Italian wall lizards feed on many invertebrates and arthropods. They can also feed on small vertebrates like mice. These lizards are eaten by cats, snakes, and birds. Italian wall lizards can also be affected by diseases, and be dangerous to native species since they can spread them.

FAQ

Are there invasive lizards in Virginia?

There are a few invasive lizards in Virginia which include the Italian wall lizard, and Mediterranean house gecko. The pet trade and shipments from around the world are the main reasons lizards can find their way into new areas. The green anole, while native to North America is a lizard also not originally from Virginia, and has managed to expand their range into the state.

What is the largest lizard in Virginia?

The slender glass lizard is the longest lizard in Virginia and is not seen often since they are a secretive burrowing species. The broad-headed skink is also one of the largest lizards. The sex and species of a lizard are what determine how large it can grow.

Are there anoles in Virginia? 

The green anole is the only anole species that is found in Virginia and is known for its pointed head and green coloring. Green anoles have only been seen in a small region in southeastern Virginia, but their range may expand since this lizard is very hardy.

Wrapping up

There are around 12 lizard species that live in Virginia, some of which are introduced to the area. Lizards help keep balance in the ecosystem by feeding on pests like flies, beetles, and other insects. They are also a reliable food source for animals like birds, other reptiles such as snakes, and carnivorous mammals like skunks.

Some lizard species make great pets, but only experienced pet owners who are ready for a long-term commitment should get a lizard as a pet. In Virginia, there are a few species that can make a good pet, but all of them are always a joy to see in the wild.

Hopefully, this list is helpful in assisting in finding lizards in the wild and learning more about the species inhabiting the region. Protecting the lizards and the habitat they live in is essential in maintaining the beautiful wilderness in Virginia.

Lizards in other states

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