Do you ever see those little Florida lizards running around? I see them scattered across the beach access pathways, in parking lots, on trees, and practically everywhere else. I bet they are on this list, along with a few other lizard species you may have seen in Florida, if you’ve ever wondered what they were called.
There are 4,675 types of lizards throughout the world, according to the San Diego Zoo. According to Wikipedia, Florida is home to 68 of those species. These lizards were purchased from other countries in large numbers, and the vast majority of them are not native to Florida.
Parts of Florida have become a haven for exotic reptile species because they were able to survive in the warm climate.
Here are 6 of the most common lizards in Florida.
Reef Gecko (Sphaerodactylus notatus)
The sole species that is native to Florida is this little reef gecko (also known as the Florida reef gecko and the brown-speckled sphaero). It’s also found in a few Caribbean islands, including Barbados. The reef gecko is able to not just survive, but also thrive in these equatorial regions due to their warm, humid climates.
Reef geckos are one of Florida’s smallest reptiles, growing only about 2 inches long when fully grown. The tail accounts for half of their body length. They have deeper brown stripes and spots and are generally brown or tan in hue. They feed solely on insects, and they are insectivorous.
Ocellated Gecko (Sphaerodactylus argus)
The ocellated gecko, often known as the stippled sphaero or ocellated, is the next species. The species is exclusively found in Jamaica, although it has established populations in Cuba, the Bahamas, and particularly South Florida.
Ocellated geckos are small lizards that grow to be around 2 to 2.5 inches long. They’re dark brown in hue with little white or light tan round dots that are mostly white or light tan. From the gecko’s snout to its tail, these spots cover its body. The gecko has a long and pointed snout, while its eyes are large, round, and brown.
The ocellated gecko is actually a bit of an oddball as far as geckos go, despite the fact that they don’t look particularly unique or visually striking at first glance.
The ocellated gecko is predominantly terrestrial and normally stays low to the ground, despite being an accomplished climber.
While most Gekkota infraorder members are highly arboreal, it is largely terrestrial. The ocellated gecko, on the other hand, is diurnal, whereas most gecko species are nocturnal. This implies that it is more active during the day and sleeps at night.
Mediterranean House Gecko
It may surprise you to learn that the most common and widespread gecko in Florida is not a native species! Imported plants carrying egg clutches were used to introduce the Mediterranean House Gecko to Florida. Their population quickly outpaced any of our native geckos because they are adaptable to so many environments.
These geckos are nocturnal, but you shouldn’t have a problem finding them since they’re found at night. They are considered an “urbanized” species, meaning they will happily live in your house as well as in the wild!
Tropical House Gecko (Hemidactylus mabouia)
In addition to southern and central Florida, tropical house geckos may be found throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.
Females are often somewhat larger than males, and tropical house geckos may grow up to 5 inches long. These geckos communicate via chirping, which can occur in a range of frequencies and is used by them to communicate with one other.
Tropical house geckos are nocturnal and have the ability to adjust their color to suit their surroundings, ranging from dark brown to nearly white. They are similar to other geckos in this regard. Beaches, trees, and walls are all common places for tropical house geckos, as are homes.
Flat-tailed House Gecko (Hemidactylus platyurus)
This is the gecko that comes to mind when you think of them. It’s a common species sold as pets and known as a “house gecko” for its popularity. Asia is the natural habitat of these lizards. In the 1980s, a shop in Clearwater, Florida was the first to be documented. It has invaded a lot of land, despite being invasive.
It’s a little creature that grows to about 3.5 inches (9 cm). They have white bellies and grainy scales, as well as fat, flat tails. They’re gray with gray streaks. Its limbs have thin flaps that extend out to conceal their shadows and aid them blend into their environment.
They are most often found in cities, and the White Spotted Wall Gecko preys heavily on them. They are neither aggressive nor territorial, and their habitat is not expanding. They make excellent pets because of their docile demeanor.
The West Indies and Cuba are home to the Yellow-Headed Gecko. In Florida and the Keys, this reptile has become invasive. Only the males’ colors change as they mature, and these geckos are born with brown or gray coloring.
Male Yellow-Headed Geckos have a dark blue/black body with a white-tipped tail as adults, and their famous yellow head coloring is present.
Yellow-Headed Geckos seek safety in small holes and crevices, tree trunks and branches low to the ground, making them a diurnal species that is active on and close to the ground. Females lay several eggs individually every year, and their diet includes insects and spiders.
Yellow-Headed Geckos do not employ or generate vocal signals, which distinguishes them from other geckos famed for their vocalization.
Madagascar Giant Day Gecko (Phelsuma grandis)
The Madagascar giant day gecko, one of the world’s largest geckos and a diurnal species, is endemic to Madagascar. From the nose to the tail, these lively green geckos are typically around 9 to 11 inches in length. Males are typically taller and heavier than females.
The island of Mauritius, as well as both Hawaii and Florida in the United States, are among the places where this sturdy, hardy lizard has made its way.
They’ve started to move into more urban environments as a result of habitat destruction. When competing for mates and other resources, they are highly aggressive and territorial lizards, especially males.
While this specific day gecko may resemble other types like the gold dust day gecko, it is simple to discern them once you know what features to watch for. The primary distinction is in size–MGD geckos are both heavier and longer than other day geckos. The species’ distinctive red facial and snout markings are also unusual.
White-Spotted Wall Gecko
This gecko, which can grow up to six inches (15 cm) long, features a long tail.
They have four distinct white spots on their shoulders and white bellies, and they have large scales covering their backs in gray to tan.
These geckos have been brought to a number of Florida areas over the years, and they originated from North Africa.
They are seen on the walls of the building.
They’ll bite and scream if captured, unlike other geckos who are more timid. To avoid the danger of Salmonella infection, their bite may penetrate the skin, so you must disinfect it thoroughly.
All three non-native geckos were brought to Florida and California by humans.
They spread quickly through their range because they arrived via agriculture and the pet trade, and are well adapted to their environment. They’re often found inside buildings and live in both urban and suburban environments. The insects that all three species consume are kept at bay by the structures they live in.
Common House Gecko
The common house gecko is primarily found in a few locations of Florida, such as the Everglades and Homestead. Stock Island, Key West, Homestead, and Fort Myers are all around Stock Island.
Common geckos range in size from 3 to 6 inches and have a light gray, brown, or white color. Multiple rows of spines ring their tails in geckos.
If it feels provoked, the common house gecko may become territorial and bite other geckos of its kind. Other geckos are harmed by these biting, but humans are not. These biting are insufficient to harm people.
Tokay Gecko (Gekko gecko)
This 14-inch (36-centimeter) gecko is the biggest in Florida. Even as compared to other gecko species, these geckos start life as adults! These huge animals have broad bodies, large heads, pebble skin, and are covered with brilliant white and orange dots all over their bodies.
They don’t do well in concealing or remaining silent. Their calls are loud and distinctive, and people can hear them from afar. They’re fiercely protective and may be hostile, with a strong bite that may cause severe bleeding right away. Large insects, frogs, and other lizards are among the foods they consume.
Escape or released pets are responsible for the Florida Tokay Gecko population. Although these geckos are still relatively isolated in their range, they have the potential to wipe out indigenous lizard and frog populations.
Gold Dust Day Gecko
The vivid green skin of Gold Dust Day Geckos, as well as their blue feet, are dotted with golden flecks throughout the head and upper body. These spectacular geckos are indigenous to Madagascar, but have become invasive in Florida.
The majority of Gold Dust Day geckos reside in trees or human dwellings. Unlike many gecko species, they are active during the day and eat tiny inanimals, pollen, nectar, and occasionally over-ripe fruit juice. Females generally deposit their eggs in cracks or pairs of plants.
The Gold Dust Day Gecko, on the other hand, cannot swim and instead has hydrophobic skin that allows it to run on water thanks to its quick tail and body movements. Because of the geckos’ slapping the water with their feet, they produce air pockets, which provides both buoyancies and a vertical force for them to move forward.
Ashy Gecko (Sphaerodactylus elegans)
When it is in its juvenile development stage, the ashy gecko is a lovely tiny lizard with a light grey body and darker grey horizontal stripes. These stripes diminish in size and become more widely separated as the gecko ages. They grow smaller and more irregular over time. They resemble little spots and markings.
The brightly-colored tail of this lizard, however, is what really makes it stunning. Both male and female ashy geckos have beautifully vibrant tails, since it is not a sexually dimorphic species.
They’re generally red or blue in hue, with a little flame thrown in for good measure. This stylish neon tail color, like the bright neon tail color described above, fades after the geckos reach maturity.
The ashy gecko was brought to South Florida in the 1920s, despite its Cuban and Hispaniola origins. Because of the state’s borderline tropical climate, the species continues to thrive there today. One of the subspecies has been introduced to and is now established in Florida, while the other has two subspecies.
At barely 3 inches long, these arboreal geckos are tiny and lightweight. Ashy geckos have grown in popularity in the exotic pet trade in recent years because of their tiny size, diurnal nature, appealing coloration, and relatively mild-mannered temperament.
Bibron’s Thick-Toed Gecko
The total length of this gecko, including its tail, may reach eight inches (20cm).
Females are smaller than males and are heavier than most other geckos.
Brown with black crossbars, they have beaded designs. White dots adorn the males. They have a light brown to white belly.
Males are extremely territorial and aggressive with other males of the same species, so they spend a lot of time on the ground.
The Indo-Pacific gecko, which is native to Southeast Asia, has established itself in Florida, with populations ranging from the Keys to the panhandle and even northern Florida.
The smooth skin and yellow to orange bellies of Indo-Pacific geckos distinguish them from other species, which average 4 to 5 inches long.
Parthenogenesis, or the ability of a female to produce fertile eggs without the need of a male, is found in the Indo-Pacific gecko. These geckos are nocturnal, as are many other species.
Fan-footed Rock Gecko (Ptyodactylus hasselquisti)
The golden brown to gray, tan, or pink Fan-footed Gecko has dark bands on its tail and body and grows up to 6 inches (15 cm) in length. Although it loses its color at night, those toes are what make it truly stand out.
This little weirdo lizard’s seriously funky feet are impossible to miss! Its hind legs are springy like those of a frog, and it features fan-shaped toe pads. If you see him with a flashlight in the middle of the night, you’ll gasp. It can hunt tiny insects on walls and is very nimble. They’ll arch their backs upward and stand upright when startled.
These geckos were brought to Gainesville in 1995 as a side effect of the pet business, and they are native to Israel, Sinai, Sudan, and the Arabian Penacross. Its range has not been extended, and it is only found in the city.
In the 1880s, the brown anole was brought to south Florida from the West Indies. Their range now stretches throughout most of Florida, including sections of south Georgia, and they have increased in numbers throughout the years.
They’re not particularly harmful, but they’ll bite you in self-defense. They’re just too little. As a show for females, the male puffs out his throat. They may be harmful to green anoles, Florida’s sole indigenous species of anole, since they are not native to the state. In Florida, these are the most likely to be seen lizards.