Have you ever wondered what types of lizards call Oklahoma home? Look no further! In this article, we’ll explore the top 10 lizards found in the Sooner State. From the six-lined racerunner to the western fence lizard, these reptiles are as diverse as they are fascinating.
Common Five-Lined Skink
These lizards have smooth, glass-like scales, well-developed limbs, and a slightly longer tail than the body. They closely resemble the larger broad-headed skink in colouration and body shape.
One of the distinguishing features of the male five-lined skink is its bright blue tail, while females have brownish-orange tails. The blue colouration in males is thought to attract mates. These skinks are quick and agile climbers and can often be seen scaling tree trunks and branches.
The common five-lined skink is also one of eastern North America’s most widespread and abundant lizards. These lizards are found in forests, fields, and suburban areas. They are active during the day and feed on various insects and other small invertebrates.
Slender Glass Lizard
The slender glass lizard is a legless lizard unique in appearance and behaviour and often mistaken for snakes.
Slender glass lizards can be found throughout Oklahoma, except for the western part and the panhandle areas of the state. They can reach up to 42 inches in length and have smooth, scaleless skin, giving them the nickname “glass snake.”
These lizards lack limbs but can be distinguished from snakes by the presence of eyelids, external ear openings at the posterior end of the head, and deep folds on the lateral surfaces of the body.
Juveniles and subadults are distinctly striped, with a mid-dorsal black stripe, three black stripes on each side of the body, and a white or cream-coloured belly. As they mature, the stripes fade, and the body becomes a uniform brown or grey colour.
Slender glass lizards are active during the day and are often found basking in the sun. They will also burrow in loose soil or sand to escape extreme temperatures. These lizards feed on insects and eat small rodents, lizards, and snakes.
If you’re looking for a lizard that can be found all over Oklahoma, the prairie lizard is a great option. These spiny lizards are known for their climbing abilities and can often be found perched in trees, fences, and sunflowers. They’re also fast runners, making them difficult to catch.
The prairie lizard is a small to medium-sized lizard, typically growing up to 6 inches in length. They’re often brown or grey, with a spiny texture that helps them blend in with their surroundings. They’re also known for their distinctive blue belly, which can be seen when basking in the sun.
These carnivorous lizards feed on insects such as grasshoppers, crickets, and beetles. They can be found in grasslands, prairies, open woodlands, and agricultural fields, making them a common sight in Oklahoma’s rural areas.
Eastern Collared Lizard
The eastern collared lizard, also known as the mountain boomer, is a colourful and distinctive lizard found in Oklahoma. This lizard is the official state lizard of Oklahoma, and it is easy to see why.
The eastern collared lizard is known for its large size, with a head that is relatively large in proportion to its body. It also has a bright and distinctive colouration, with a tail twice its body’s length.
This lizard is easily recognisable due to the distinct black collar around its neck. The eastern collared lizard is a territorial species, and males will defend their territory against other males and predators. The eastern collared lizard is a predatory species that primarily feeds on insects and other small invertebrates. They have been known to eat small lizards and even small mammals.
Mediterranean House Gecko
The Mediterranean house lizard is native to the Mediterranean area and was introduced to Oklahoma via imported plants carrying their egg clutches. They are very adaptable, so their population quickly outpaced any of our native geckos, making them a common sight in homes and gardens across the state.
The Mediterranean house gecko is a small lizard growing to around 3-5 inches in length. They are typically a light tan or greyish-brown colour with dark spots, and they have large eyes with vertical pupils. They are nocturnal, so they are most active at night and known for their distinctive chirping sound.
These lizards have smooth, glass-like scales and well-developed limbs. Juveniles are black, with five distinct white stripes extending from the head to the first one-third of the tail. Broad-headed skinks are native to the southeastern United States and can be found in various habitats, including forests, woodlands, grasslands, and rocky areas.
They are medium-sized lizards growing 9-13 inches long and are omnivores, feeding on insects, spiders, small vertebrates, and fruits. One interesting fact about broad-headed skinks is that they are one of the few skink species at home among trees! They will often climb trees to escape from predators. They search for food on the ground, searching through leaf litter and debris for insects and spiders.
The green anole, also known as the Carolina anole, is a unique lizard that can be found in Oklahoma. They can change colours, move their eyes independently of one another, and males can extend a pink dewlap, or fold of skin under the jaw, to attract females.
Green anoles are typically around 5-8 inches in length. They are usually green or brown but can change colour to blend in with their surroundings. They can also change the colour of their dewlap, which is used to communicate with other lizards.
Green anoles are primarily arboreal, meaning they spend most of their time in trees and bushes. They are also found in areas with high humidity, such as near streams and ponds.
Greater Earless Lizard
These lizards are sexually dimorphic, meaning that males grow larger and more colourful than females. During the breeding season, males exhibit bright pink and green colours that are particularly eye-catching. One of the most notable characteristics of the greater earless lizard is the two bold black bars that mark the lateral region of males.
These bars are greatly reduced or occasionally absent in females. This lizard can be found in various habitats, including grasslands, shrublands, and deserts. The greater earless lizard is a medium-sized lizard with an average build and tail length. They are known for their agility and speed, making them a challenge to catch. These lizards primarily feed on insects but have also been known to eat small reptiles and mammals.
These lizards are known for their incredible speed and can run up to 18 miles per hour! They are also great at jumping, climbing, and hiding, which makes them a difficult target for predators.
The six-lined racerunner is typically dark green, brown, or black, with six yellow or green-yellow stripes extending down the body from head to tail. The underside is usually white in females and pale blue in males. Males also sometimes have a pale green-coloured throat.
Six-lined racerunner’s feed on various insects and other invertebrates, including grasshoppers and crickets, spiders, moths, caterpillars and insect pupae. They probably eat termites when they are available. They are active during the day and can be found basking in the sun on rocks, logs, or other surfaces.
The six-lined racerunner has the broadest range of all lizards in Oklahoma. They thrive in varied habitats, including grassland, rocky terrain, wooded areas, and even floodplains.
Texas Horned Lizard
The Texas horned lizard, also known as the “horny toad”, is easily recognisable by its squat, spiky body and two large horns on the back of its head, with two smaller horns on it its sides.
They are active in Oklahoma from early April through September, but in October, they burrow underground to begin their winter hibernation. These lizards have the ability to shoot blood from their eyes as a defence mechanism. When threatened, they can also puff up their bodies and hiss loudly to scare off predators.
Unfortunately, Texas horned lizards have virtually disappeared east of Interstate 35, which runs down the middle of Oklahoma and Texas. This species faces threats such as habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation.