23 Facts About Lizards [Life Cycle, Eating Habits and More]
Probably the most common creature that we encounter on a daily basis is the Lizards. Did you have any idea that these reptiles belonging to the order Squamata are a group of over 6000 species that are found almost all over the world except Antarctica and oceanic regions?
These species are extremely diverse in nature and their group excludes Snakes and Amphisbaenia, however, some Lizards tend to show features that are more closely related to these creatures than that of other Lizard species.
Even their sizes show an extremely diverse nature too! While some species such as chameleons and Geckos are about a few centimeters long, others like Komodo Dragon’s length are about 3 meters on average.
Most of them are quadrupedal with the ability to run extremely fast, however, others have legless snake-like bodies.
Lizards are incredibly known for their variety of antipredator adaptations such as including venom, camouflaging, reflex bleeding, and the unique ability to shed off and regrow their tails.
Let’s set out for an interesting journey gathering extraordinary knowledge concerning these diverse species through some unique and informative facts!
23 Interesting Facts about Lizards
This article intends to provide 23 exclusive and unique facts relating to Lizards, concerning their dietary habits, lifespan, livelihood, characteristic features, capabilities, and finally their differences with that of a Salamander, Killer Croc, and Iguana.
1. Are Lizards Omnivores?
The dietary preferences of Lizards totally depend upon their different kinds of species. While the majority of the Lizard species tend to be Carnivorous or insectivorous, others often show the tendency of being Omnivorous or herbivorous.
The food supplements of a predominately Carnivorous or Insectivorous Lizard primarily include ants, spiders, termites, small mammals, and sometimes even other Lizards.
Omnivorous Lizards such as Clark’s Spiny Lizard feeds on both vegetarian and meat diets and likes to consume fruits, vegetables, and leaves. Other Lizards tend to be Herbivorous feeding only upon plants, such as Iguanas and Spiny-tailed Agamids.
2. What do House Lizards Eat?
House Lizards are generally insectivores that feed primarily on insects such as ants, termites, flies, spiders, caterpillars, and snails.
House Lizards are also known as Common House Gecko and are generally native to South and Southeast Asia.
Since House Lizards resides near urban enclaves, they are able to avail themselves of their preferred food items that include primarily invertebrates like cockroaches, termites, butterflies, moths, bees, flies, spiders, and several other insect groups.
Thus, insects constitute the main dietary supplements of the Common House Lizards.
3. What Animals Eat Lizards?
There are numerous creatures that feed upon Lizards, including hawks, dogs, snakes, mongooses, felines, large spiders, raccoons, wolves, and some other lizards.
Although lizards are most commonly on the lower end of the food chain, they have some extraordinary capabilities to counter the attacks of these predators.
The skills include their extremely fast speed, their ability to camouflage, and their natural appearance. Some species of lizards show a unique ability to shoot blood out of their eyes at their predators.
4. How Long can a Lizard Live?
The lifespan of Lizards solely depends upon the distinctive species of the particular Lizard and whether it is living in the wild or in captivity and therefore ranges from 3 years to about 50 years on average.
Lizards tend to live longer in captivity than in the wild since they aren’t required to fight their predators and are far less vulnerable being a captive.
Different species of Lizards have different lifetimes that vary considerably from 3-50 years. Common House Lizards can survive up to 5 years on average, while African Fat-tailed Gecko can live up to 12-20 years in captivity.
Some Lizards are even known for surviving more than 50 years on an average in captivity, while others living in the wild may live for as short as 3 years.
5. How long do Lizards Sleep?
The sleeping time frame of Lizards is also dependent upon their species and ranges from 9 to 16 hours a day. However, most of the Lizard species tend to sleep for a period of 12 hours a day on average.
Some Lizard species, such as the Bearded Dragons, and humans tend to share similar sleeping patterns like rapid eye movements and deep sleep. Although there may exist similarities, there are differences too!
While humans usually have four or five slow-wave sleep cycles lasting for around 90 minutes each, the Lizard’s rhythm is faster and more regular, resulting in hundreds of shorter sleeping phases.
6. Do Lizards Bite?
Yes, Lizards genuinely use biting as a means of self-defense when they are manipulated or usually when they feel cornered and threatened by some dangers.
Lizards have some unique techniques and abilities to counter the attacks of their predators that include running fast, camouflaging themselves, or shooting blood out of their eyes at the predators.
Biting is one such reflex action performed by them when they feel threatened by some danger. Although most of the Lizard bites are non-venomous and less dangerous, the bites of others such as Komodo Dragons, Iguanas, or Mexican beaded Lizards are quite dangerous.
House Lizards are seldom seen biting humans, and even if they do, their bite is not that dangerous to humans.
7. Are House Lizards Poisonous?
House Lizards, also known as Common House Geckos, are not at all poisonous and harmful to humans. These small Geckos are non-venomous and are usually of little concern for humans to be afraid of.
They may bite sometimes as a reflex mechanism for self-defense but those are not at all harmful to humans while can be a bit painful. However, Lizards carry harmful bacteria such as salmonella that can cause diseases amongst people.
8. Do Lizards Change Colors?
Yes, indeed! Not all, but many of the Lizard species are capable of changing their colors and look exactly like their surroundings, primarily in order to safeguard themselves from their predators.
Chameleons and Anoles are famous for their distinctive ability to change colors and adapt according to various environmental conditions.
The pigment cells that allow their color to change are generally called Melanophores and their concentration determines the color type that is produced.
Generally, they appear lighter when the pigment is concentrated and darker when the pigment is dispersed. The color of Lizards is determined by an interaction of hormones, temperature, and their nervous system.
9. Can Lizards See in the Dark?
Yes, Nocturnal Lizards that are adapted to forage at night are generally able to see even in the dark.
Unlike Snakes, Lizards are more visually oriented creatures that utilize their vision to survive and have well-developed eyes to do so.
Evidence shows that Lizards see colors better than human beings and they use these colors to communicate and make decisions at times.
Lizards are unique since they have only cone cells (that helps to recognize colors) and lack rods (that detect light in low levels), thus being able to determine colors correctly but unable to see in low light arrangements.
However, certain species of Lizards are able to see in dim light by using three sets of cones.
10. How Long can Lizards go without Eating?
Lizards can go without food for about 2 weeks to 2 months depending upon their age, size, species, and overall health conditions.
As stated above, the time frame of how long a Lizard can survive without food depends on several factors. Baby Lizards require more food and on a regular basis compared to adult Lizards.
Lizards of larger size can go without food for longer than the small sized Lizards. Species are another important factor in determining this time period.
While adult Leopard Geckos can survive for over a month, adult Bearded Dragons can only go for about three weeks without food. Also, healthier Lizards tend to survive for a longer period than sick Lizards.
11. Why Do Lizards Bob their Heads Up and Down?
Lizards generally bob their heads up and down in order to communicate with other Lizards, showing that they are aggressive, dominant, or submissive. They also bob their head as mating behavior.
Lizards are aggressive and territorial by nature, as a result, they often tend to compete and fight against other Lizards to safeguard their territory and scare them off.
At this juncture, they communicate with each other by bobbing their head, where a fast bobbing of both results in a fight, and a slow bobbing of at least one of them shows its submission and retreat.
Also, male Lizards tend to show the female Lizards that they are interested in them during their mating seasons by bobbing their heads up and down.
12. How do Lizards Stick to Walls and Walk on Walls?
Lizards are generally well-known for their fascinating ability to stick to walls and walk on them. It is generally believed that these capabilities of Lizards are because of the presence of numerous tiny hairs on their feet.
Lizards have numerous tiny hairs on the pads of their feet that are generally called Setae. The tiny pads at the tips of these Setae are called Spatulae and are about 1/10th of human hair in diameter.
These pads increase the surface area drastically and come in close contact with the surface on which the Lizard lay. At this moment the Van der Waals forces kick in and allow the Lizard to stick to and walk on walls comfortably.
13. What Lizards can Live Together?
Certain species of Lizards such as Bearded Dragons, Anoles, and Geckos can live together when they are set up properly in the same species tanks.
However, most of the Lizard species are usually solitary creatures that love living alone and spending time together only when the mating season arrives.
A pair of male and female Lizards or a group of females along with a single male Lizard can be easily kept together, but two males or a group of males along with a single female is not recommended since fights become inevitable in these situations.
Different species do not live together and thus the same species are kept in a tank. Recently it has been discovered that certain species of Lizards do live in families even though their general tendency is to stay solitary.
14. Can Lizards live in Water?
Lizards do not possess gills for which they are not capable of living or surviving in water. However, some Lizards have extraordinary capabilities to hold their breath underwater for almost 16-18 minutes.
Although the majority of the Lizards are unable to live in water, a recent discovery suggests that certain particular species of Semi-Aquatic Anole Lizards can breathe underwater for up to 18 minutes with the help of bubbles that form over their snout and can stay underwater for a while.
15. Do Lizards have Hair?
Lizards don’t have furs but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are totally hairless, rather they do possess tiny hairs made up of primarily keratin proteins.
Certain species of Lizards are well-known for their wide, sticky toes that help them climb on smooth and vertical surfaces like walls and walk on them.
Their secret is the thin keratin hairs that grow out of their feet and provide an adhesive force to help them stay attached to the wall surface and walk comfortably. Thus, some Lizards make up an innovative and interesting use of their hair.
16. Do Lizards Play Dead?
Yes, Lizards do play dead! They utilize this reflex technique, also known as Death-feigning, as a defense mechanism to safeguard themselves from their predators.
Predators seldom require the vibration or sounds of movement to detect where their prey is, and so becoming entirely rigid and motionless becomes an effective way for Lizards to protect themselves from their predators.
Lizards play dead by maintaining a rigid posture and lying still without any movement. The Western Leaf Lizards look like a dead leaf, and therefore, they are able to blend in with the forest floor, and hide from their predators, thus creating a unique path to self-defense.
17. Where do Lizards go in the Winter?
Lizards usually start to hide under stones, in tree barks or trunks, inside caves, houses, or cracked walls, during the wintertime, and carry out Brumation, a process similar to Hibernation.
Lizards are generally cold-blooded creatures that cannot generate body heat on their own, thus depending upon external agencies to maintain their body temperature during winters.
In order to warm themselves, they brumate and try to reduce the overall consumption of energy by becoming totally inactive or immobile, and therefore surviving upon minimum energy.
18. Why do Lizard’s Tails Fall Off?
Lizards tend to shed off their tails in order to escape from threats and distract their predators. This process of shedding off their own body part as a means to safeguard themselves is technically termed caudal autotomy.
In many species, the detached tail continues to struggle to distract the attention of the predator and thus creating a path for its head and body to flee. Depending upon their species, they are capable of partially or fully regenerating their tails within few months.
In most Lizards, the breakage of their tails happens when the tail is held with greater force, but in some other species, such as some Geckos, can perform true autotomy by throwing off their tails when in stress and danger.
19. How many times can a Lizard regrow its Tail?
The number of times Lizards can regrow their tails after shedding them solely depends upon their distinctive species and capabilities.
While some Lizards can definitely regrow their tails several times before the time they can’t regrow them anymore, others such as the Crested Geckos can only lose their tail but cannot regrow it back.
Some species of Lizards are even capable of regrowing more than one tail at a time. Generally, it takes an average time period of 60 days for a Lizard to fully regrow its lost tail.
20. Why can’t a Female Lizard have both high Fecundity and high Survival?
Female Lizards usually don’t have both high fecundity and high survival at the same time since the more energy is lost in reproducing, the less energy is left for their survival.
While a majority of the Lizard species tend to lay eggs, some others reproduce sexually which seldom costs them heavily both in terms of survival and future reproductive outcomes.
It has been discovered that female Lizards tend to reduce their food intake during reproduction which in turn reduces their energy levels and ultimately their survival.
Thus, reduction of food intake results in the reproductive costs that female Lizards go through, resulting in low survival of females with high fecundity rates.
21. What is the Difference between a Lizard and a Salamander?
Although Lizards and Salamanders are known to share similar body shapes and features, they are in reality a lot more different than similar.
The most important of which is that Salamanders are Amphibians while Lizards are a type of reptiles. Salamanders have moist skin and are usually found in or around damp habitats, but on the other hand, Lizards have dry skin and are primarily terrestrial creatures.
Salamanders are more closely related to frogs and go through metamorphosis, while Lizards don’t need the process at all.
22. Killer Croc Vs Lizard
Killer Croc and Lizard both seem to be equally matched for a competitive battle. They generally have similar powers, strength, speed, durability, senses, and intelligence. However, Lizard is stronger than Killer Croc and can climb or crawl through vertical surfaces.
Thus, a battle between the two is hard to forecast and depends upon their skills. Still, there are some chances of Lizard winning over Killer Croc.
23. Lizard Vs Iguana
Lizard is a reptile from the order Squamata that is closely related to Snakes and is dispersed all over the world, while Iguana is a special type of herbivorous Lizard belonging to the family Iguanidae that are found primarily in the Caribbean, South America, and Central America.
In terms of looks, both Lizards and Iguanas differ a lot, even though they have similar features including movable eyelids and external ear openings. Since Iguanas are a type of Lizards they are more or less similar to each other sharing common features and characteristics.
It is therefore evident from the whole discussion that Lizards are no doubt one of a kind amongst creatures and are one of the most fascinating and interesting animals that constitute several thousands of species, where each species shows considerable differences from others.
Different species have different extraordinary skills and capabilities, starting from sprinting blood to shedding tails.
This article covers some of the distinctive characteristics and features of Lizards, including their eating habits, lifespan, livelihood, capabilities, nature, and differences with that of Iguanas and Salamanders.
In order to conclude, it can be said that these reptiles form an interesting component of the animal kingdom and thus should be enormously studied.