16 Different Types of Lizards in Jamaica

Different Types of Lizards in Jamaica
Photo by Pauline Steines

Thousands of years ago, Jamaica served as an island home to many species of lizards native to the Caribbean.

As a result, many tourists visiting Jamaica have spotted lizards while on vacation, but they may not have known exactly what type of lizard they were looking at.

Today, you’ll find about 80 different types of lizards in Jamaica, most of which are introduced species (not native to the island).

In this article, we’ll go over 16 different types of lizards you will likely come across during your visit.

1. Geckos

Geckos are the most common type of lizard found in Jamaica. They’re small and have large eyes, which they must see at night when they hunt.

Geckos are primarily insectivores but will also eat smaller lizards or eggs if the opportunity presents itself.

These types of lizards in Jamaica can be found anywhere, though they prefer warm and dry climates with plenty of vegetation. 

2. Anoles

Anoles are a type of lizard found worldwide, and even though there are more than 1,500 species, they’re all part of the same family. They range in size from just a few inches to 12 inches long.

The Caribbean’s anole population comprises three main types: green anoles, brown anoles, and common house geckos. 

The green anole is usually bright green with brown spots on its back. Brown anoles can be either light brown or dark brown, with black stripes running down their backside.

Geckos are usually tan to light brown but can also be darker shades like chocolate or black. 

3. Jamaican Rock Spiny Lizard

The Jamaican rock spiny lizard is a type of lizard that lives on the island. It can grow up to 12 inches long and has a brown and yellow head with black spots. They’re usually seen in dark, moist areas such as caves and on cliffs. 

The Jamaican Rock Spiny Lizard is a skink type, which means they have no legs and cannot climb trees.

One way to tell the difference between this type and other types is by counting the rows of scales on their neck; if there are more than 14, then it’s likely a Jamaican Rock Spiny Lizard.

They like to live in bushes but are sometimes found on rocks. The Jamaican rock spiny lizard is an herbivore with no natural predators, often found near human settlements. It’s also known as a Jamaican spiny rock lizard and spinifex-walker.

4. Anolis Distichis

The Anolis distichis is a type of lizard found throughout the island. They are small to medium-sized lizards, with females being larger than males.

The scales on their back are typically brown and yellow, which helps them blend into the trees they live in.

Their tail is long and slender, with many black rings going down it. They also have big heads and large eyes, which help them spot food from far away.

These different types of lizards in Jamaica can live and survive in areas that are not as dense because they are mostly nocturnal, which means they will come out at night when it’s cooler. 

During the day, they can be found under logs and rocks or behind shrubbery. Jamaica’s different types of lizards are also seen on beaches but only close to water sources.

5. Iguanas

Iguanas are one of the most easily recognizable types of lizards. They are a type of lizard that is an herbivore and can grow to be up to six feet long. They live on land, usually near water, and have sharp claws for climbing trees.

Iguanas can come in many colors, including green, brown, black, and blue. Some iguanas also have patterns on their skin, such as stripes or spots, which make them even more beautiful. 

Iguanas are good swimmers, although they can’t stay underwater for very long. These different types of lizards in Jamaica are native to Central America but have been introduced to other areas as pets or food for other animals.

Some parts of Central America are considered pests and hunted because they eat plants and spread diseases to other different types of lizards in Jamaica.

6. Skinks

Skinks, one of the most common types of lizards in Jamaica, come in various colors: red, brown, blue, black, and green. Skinks are most often found near water sources such as rivers or streams. 

They like to live under rocks or log piles that can easily escape when threatened. Skinks eat insects and small invertebrates.

They have four toes on their front feet, with two digits on each toe. Their back feet have five toes with three digits per toe. 

7. Jamaican Giant Galliwasp

The Jamaican Giant Galliwasp is one of Jamaica’s largest different types of lizards in Jamaica. It can reach over 2 feet and weigh up to 3 pounds.

These formidable creatures are known to release an offensive, foul-smelling musk if they feel threatened, which can deter predators. 

If you’re interested in seeing these interesting animals, you’ll have to head out into the rainforest or highlands where they live!

They can also be found on top of some houses or buildings. And don’t worry, these elusive creatures usually run away from humans before posing any threat! 

8. Whiptails

The Jamaican whiptail (Cnemidophorus) is one of the island’s most common and widespread species.

These small lizards are generally dark brown with a lighter underside and medium-length tail. They can grow up to 10 inches long but are typically smaller. 

The Jamaican whiptails live in forests, rocky areas, scrubland, and gardens throughout the country. Unlike other different types of lizards in Jamaica, which only come out during the day or night, these animals are active both day and night because there’s not much difference between them for them to be scared by any nocturnal animals.

9. Gonatodes Albogularis

The Gonatodes albogularis is one of the largest lizards found in Jamaica. It has a bright green color and inhabits wet forests and rainforests.

The Gonatodes albogularis is primarily a ground-dweller, but it can climb trees if it needs to find food or escape predators. 

If you see one, be careful not to disturb it–it’s a fierce lizard! It may also puff up its body in an attempt to appear bigger as a way of warning off potential threats. Females lay two eggs per clutch, which hatch after six months. 

10. Jamaican Anole

The Jamaican Giant Anole is medium-sized with brownish scales and blue patches on the throat. These different types of lizards in Jamaica eat fruit and are often seen sitting on branches in the tree canopy, waiting for passing prey or looking for fruit on low-lying branches.

The Jamaican Climbing Anole (Dactyloa concinna) is generally small with gray or brownish coloring that fades to yellow towards the stomach area.

11. Ground Lizard

The ground lizard, or Jamaican tokay gecko (Tiliqua rugosa), is the largest among Jamaican reptiles. They are mainly nocturnal and will be found on top of fallen logs, rocks, and vegetation during the day.

These different types of lizards in Jamaica have powerful tails that they can use to leap from one tree to another.

They feed on insects, smaller lizards, and other small invertebrates. The males are usually darker than the females, who tend to be a brownish color with lighter stripes on their backs.

Their lifespan averages around 10-12 years, but this varies depending on how well they’re cared for and where they live.

As they grow older, they often become grayer and develop more bumps on their head. If you come across a dead ground lizard, it’s most likely due to dehydration or injury, as these animals rarely die of old age.

12. Croaking Lizard

The croaking lizard, also known as the Jamaican cricket frog, is a type of lizard you will find on the island, and it is often found living on rocks and trees. These different types of lizards in Jamaica are usually brown or tan and have brown blotches to red.

The most distinguishing characteristic of this type of lizard is the head which resembles a frog. They can be found across the Caribbean region, but their populations have decreased due to many factors like habitat destruction and human exploitation.

13. Red-Headed Rock Lizard

 These different types of lizards in Jamaica you will find on the island are the red-headed rock lizard. It’s classified as an agamid species meaning it has well-developed limbs and long digits with claws. 

Its coloring ranges from olive green to reddish brown with white dots. In addition, these lizards are one of only two species where females are larger than males – typically weighing around 6 ounces more than males!

14. Jamaica Gaint Anole

The Jamaican Giant Anole is one of Jamaica’s different types of lizards. These different types of lizards in Jamaica have bright green and red scales, making them easy to spot. They are found mostly on the island’s trees. They are usually shy but have been known to attack humans. 

The Jamaican giant anoles eat insects like beetles, crickets, caterpillars, cockroaches, and flies. Their diet also consists of leaves, flowers, berries, and fruit from plants around them.

These different types of lizards in Jamaica have few predators because they live high up on tree branches where most other animals cannot reach them.

15. Aristelliger Praesignis

The Aristelliger Praesignis is one of Jamaica’s different types of lizards. The Aristelliger Praesignis is a type of skink found on the island from the mountains to the coast.

These different types of lizards in Jamaica are rarely seen because they spend most of their time hiding under logs, rocks, and loose bark. 

They mainly feed on insects and small animals such as earthworms, snails, slugs, and spiders. The Aristelliger Praesignis are endangered because they can be hunted for their skins or eggs, which contain a high amount of protein. 

The species were considered extinct until 1991, when scientists rediscovered them. It’s hard to find these lizards due to their secretive habits, but there have been sightings by scientists in Cockpit Country in St Thomas Parish.


In conclusion, Jamaica’s many different types of lizards can be found on the island. All these lizard species come from around the world, so it is a good idea to look up their origin before encountering them.

Some interesting facts about the different types of lizards in Jamaica include that they all have black tongues, and some will even change their color to match their surroundings.

It is common for people to find a lizard crawling across their kitchen floor or hiding under their bed. These different types of lizards in Jamaica are used to having warm temperatures and often enter homes during winter when it’s cold outside.

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