10 Most Unusual Lizards

Seen as though I am posting a Reptiles and Amphibians Series it seems appropriate that I do some articles on these creatures from all over the world. Some I have actually seen even caught a few of the Armadillo Girdled Lizards and got bitten by them too. We used to call them Lord Darby Lizards back then.  I remember very well the first one I found, it bit me; I must have been about 6 years old. At that time I did not know if it was venomous or not, and neither did my father.

Later I learned that there are only two venomous lizards in the world, so they made this list.  Must have been about 40 years old when I saw a Gila Monster at a Reptile show in Midrand. The other interesting one is the Komodo Dragon, not venomous but has saliva that causes blood poisoning.   Then in March of 2006, Pretoria Zoo got a pair, I was there like a shot.  The first photograph is  of me and  a Rock Monitor, not on the list, but the biggest damn lizard I ever caught. I still have the scars! Very, very sharp nails, it has.


Enough chatting here is my list, info and photos gleaned from the net, and, believe it or not, good old fashioned books. (Those things made up of paper and ink.)

I was going to number them but could not decide which one was weirder than the next. You decide.


Frilled Lizard

When this unique creature feels threatened, it rises on its hind legs, opens its yellow-coloured mouth, unfurls the colourful, pleated skin flap that encircles its head, and hisses. If an attacker is unintimidated by these antics, the lizard simply turns tail, mouth and frill open, and bolts, legs splaying left and right. It continues its deliberate run without stopping or looking back until it reaches the safety of a tree. Origin: Australia.


Marine Iguana

They look fierce, but are actually gentle herbivores, surviving exclusively on underwater algae and seaweed. Their short, blunt snouts and small, razor-sharp teeth help them scrape the algae off rocks, and their laterally flattened tails let them move crocodile-like through the water. Their claws are long and sharp for clinging to rocks on shore or underwater in heavy currents. They have dark gray colouring to better absorb sunlight after their forays into the frigid Galápagos waters. Marine iguanas sneeze frequently to expel salt from glands near their noses. The salt often lands on their heads, giving them a distinctive white wig. Origin: Galápagos Islands.


Leaf-tailed Gecko

A nocturnal reptile, with suitably large eyes, the leaf-tailed gecko moves about its rainforest habitat at night feeding on insects. The adhesive scales under their fingers and toes and their strong curved claws enable them to move adeptly through the trees. The leaf-tailed gecko is somewhat of an expert at avoiding predators, not only through their incredible mimicry, but through a number of behaviours. They can flatten their body against the substrate to reduce the body’s shadow, open their jaws wide to show a frightening, bright red mouth, and voluntarily shed their tail in order to trick a predator. Origin: Madagascar.


Flying Gecko

The Flying Gecko has adaptations to its skin, including flaps on either side of its body, webbed feet, and a flattened tail to allow it to glide over short distances. These geckos have a remarkable camouflage. The flaps of skin along their sides help them blend with tree bark. Often, the eyes are the only way to see them.Flying geckos, like many other gecko species, have evolved intricate toe pads with microscopic hairs that can adhere to nearly any surface, including glass. Origin: Asia.


Armadillo Girdled Lizard

The armadillo girdled lizard possesses an uncommon anti-predator adaptation, in which it takes its tail in its mouth and rolls into a ball when frightened. In this shape, it is protected from predators by the thick, squarish scales along its back and the spines on its tail. This behaviour, which resembles that of the mammalian armadillo, gives it its English common name. Origin: South Africa.


Komodo Dragon

An adult Komodo dragon usually weighs around 70 kg,  the largest verified wild specimen was 3.13 m) long and weighed 166 kg. It has been claimed that they have a venomous bite; there are two glands in the lower jaw which secrete several toxic proteins. The biological significance of these proteins is disputed, but the glands have been shown to secrete an anticoagulant. Origin: Komodo Islands.


Philippine Sailfin Lizard

The Philippine Sailfin Lizard is an excellent swimmer and has flattened toes that enable it to run across water.  This fact makes it pretty weird indeed. It is omnivorous, feeding on fruit, leaves, flowers, insects, and small animals . It lives near rivers in the tropical forests of the Philippines. Males have a larger crest on their back than the females. Origin: The Philippines.


Mexican Beaded Lizard

The Mexican Beaded Lizard is the most famous of the four species of venomous beaded lizards. The beaded lizard has a forked, black tongue which it uses to smell, with the help of a Jacobson’s organ; it sticks its tongue out to gather scents and touches it to the opening of the organ when the tongue is retracted. Origin: Mexico and Southern Guatemala.


Gila Monster

Gila Monsters are easily identified by their black bodies marked with dramatic patterns of pink, orange, or yellow. Its venom is a fairly mild neurotoxin. And though a Gila bite is extremely painful, none has resulted in a reported human death. Unlike snakes, which inject venom, Gilas latch onto victims and chew to allow neurotoxins to move through grooves in their teeth and into the open wound. Origin: USA an Mexico.


Green Iguana

The green iguana is a large lizard and is probably the largest species in the iguana family, but is not always green.  When frightened by a predator, green iguanas will attempt to flee, and if near a body of water, they dive into it and swim away. If cornered by a threat, the green iguana will extend and display the dewlap under its neck, stiffen and puff up its body, hiss, and bob its head at the aggressor. If threat persists the iguana can lash with its tail, bite and use its claws in defense.   Origin: Central, South America, and the Caribbean.

Of Interest

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One Response to “10 Most Unusual Lizards”

  1. Wayne Bisset Says:

    Reblogged this on Section Eight Solutions.

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