August 14th is World Lizard Day! Lizards are both beautiful and fascinating. They also have many traits and features that are not found in any of our other animal companions. As your local Marion, IA area veterinarian, I list some facts about lizards in this article.

There Are Many, Many Lizards

There are over 6000 known species of lizards, with more being discovered all the time. The newest addition would be the Proctoporus titans. This gray-and-gold colored little guy was found high in the Andes mountains, at a far higher altitude than most lizards enjoy.

Unique Features

Lizards have some truly fascinating abilities. For instance, the chameleon can change color to better blend into its background. Many lizards can also drop their tails to escape predators. (Note: you should never hold a lizard by the tail.)

Snakes Vs. Lizards

Lizards and snakes make up the bulk of the reptile kingdom. One may assume that the biggest distinguishing factor between the two would be the fact that lizards have legs and snakes don’t. While that is for the most part true, it’s not entirely accurate. There are legless lizards, such as glass lizards.


Did you know that many lizards can swim? Soaking and swimming is crucial for many pet lizards, both for hygiene and hydration. One lizard, the Marine Iguana, is even classified as a sea animal. However, they don’t spend that much time in the water: they prefer sunning themselves on rocks.


Lizards have quite a few built-in defense mechanisms, such as the ability to detach tails, which we mentioned above. Venom is another one. The Gila Monster and Beaded Lizard are the most well-known poisonous lizards, but they aren’t the only ones. There are also certain monitors that are venomous.


Lizards can be fun and loveable pets … for the right person. Although some are quite friendly, and a few—such as the Bearded dragon—can even be affectionate, most prefer to be admired from a distance. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Reptiles are fascinating to watch. Plus, a well-decorated enclosure can be a gorgeous piece of décor. Just do plenty of research before adopting one. While some, such as Leopard geckos, are good for beginners, many others need experienced handlers. Do plenty of research before adopting one.

Do you have questions about lizard care? Contact me, your local Marion, IA area veterinarian, today!