Lizards versus iguanas: everything you need to know

The animal kingdom is vast. There are over a million animal species known to man. More and more animals are also discovered each year.

The vast majority of animals in the animal kingdom are invertebrates. They make up about 97% of the population of species in the animal kingdom, while vertebrates (animals with backbones) make up the remaining 3%.

However, vertebrates are vastly superior to invertebrates. They are taller, smarter, have complex body systems, and exhibit intricate movements. There are many groups or classes of vertebrates, but the most familiar to man are mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fish, and birds.

Today I am going to share with you some important information about some animals from one of these groups: Reptile Group aka Class Reptilia. Specifically, I’m going to share with you everything you need to know about iguanas and lizards, including some of their important similarities and differences.

Let’s start.

What is a lizard and what is an iguana?

A lizard is a reptile. It is a special type of reptile that comes from the order of Squamata and is closely related to snakes. Lizards are found in many places around the world and are quick to make people’s homes their homes. Many lizards are either omnivores or insectivores.

There are many types/families of lizards known to man. An iguana is a special type of lizard. It belongs to a family of lizards called Iguanidae. Iguanas are native to the Caribbean, South America, and Central America. They are primarily herbivorous, meaning they prefer to eat plant matter.

Where are lizards and iguanas found?

Lizards are found on almost every continent on the planet except Antarctica. Indeed, there are thousands of species of lizards adapted to life in the different habitats and terrestrial environments of the planet. Iguanas, on the other hand, are less common than lizards. They are mainly found in the Americas, Australia and parts of South Asia.

So, if you are looking for a rare or exotic animal to keep as a pet, you should go for an iguana. A visitor to your home will be more fascinated to see a rare animal than to see a common house lizard or any other lizard in an enclosure because he has probably seen it before.

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How many species of lizards and iguanas are known to man?

At present (2020), there are nearly 6,000 species of lizards and 30 species of iguanas known to man. Since iguanas are a type of lizard, their 30 known species are counted as lizards.

How different are lizards and iguanas in terms of appearance?

Lizards have several similar physical characteristics, including movable eyelids, external ear openings, and four legs. However, since most lizards live in different habitats, many of their characteristics are adapted to survive in those habitats. For example, some lizards have rough, thick skin to prevent water loss in dry habitats, while others have smooth skin to prevent them from getting stuck in mud.

Iguanas have a somewhat distinctive appearance. Most iguana species have large heads, sharp teeth, sharp claws, and scaly skin. Perhaps the most distinctive feature of iguanas is the spines running down their backs.

So, in terms of appearance, lizards and iguanas are very different.

What colors are lizards and iguanas?

As stated earlier in this article, there are thousands of species of lizards. They all have somewhat different looks and colors. You can probably find a species of lizard in any color you want, be it red, yellow, blue, red, tan, brown, black, or green.

However, it is very rare to find a lizard with a single color all over its body. Most lizards have colored spots and different colored heads, bodies, limbs and bellies.

Iguana species also come in a variety of colors. The most common iguanas are the gray, blackish, blue, and red iguanas. It’s rare to find a single-colored iguana just as it’s rare to find a single-colored lizard.

The reason most lizards and iguanas have different colors on the same body is survival. Most lizards and iguanas need the different colors they have to hide from predators and/or prey. They also need the different colors they have, especially bright colors, to attract mating partners when the time comes.

How do lizards and iguanas reproduce?

All species of lizards reproduce by laying eggs or giving birth to live young. Most species of lizards that lay eggs do not protect their eggs. They just bury their eggs somewhere and leave.

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However, some species of lizards are known to lay eggs to protect their eggs or young. They include five-lined skinks and long-tailed skinks. Many lizards that give birth to live young are also known to protect their offspring. A good example is the prehensile-tailed skink, which is known to protect its young for several months.

Like some lizards, iguana species reproduce by laying eggs. The mating season for iguanas is the rainy season. During the season, the male iguanas fertilize the eggs inside the female iguanas. The females then carry the fertilized eggs until the onset of the dry season. They lay their eggs soon after the start of the dry season. Usually they lay between thirty and fifty fertilized eggs at a time. They deposit them in the ground to protect them from predators. Iguana eggs usually take between 2.5 and 3.5 months to hatch.

What is the difference between lizards and iguanas in terms of body size?

Lizards vary greatly in size. Some species are only 2 cm long, while others can reach 304 cm (3 meters) in length. Some lizard species weigh as little as 0.5 grams while others weigh up to 150 kilograms. Thus, lizards vary greatly in weight and size.

Iguanas also vary in size. Some species are only 12cm long, while others are able to grow up to 200cm (2 meters) long. The smallest iguana species weigh around 500 grams, while the largest can weigh up to 6 kilograms.

What is the difference between the lizard diet and the iguana diet?

Many species of lizards are insectivores. They like to eat insects such as cockroaches, crickets, ants and beetles. Many lizard species are also omnivores; they eat just about anything, including insects, carrion, small tetrapods, spiders, fruits, and vegetables. Several species of lizards are also known to be strictly herbivores (plant eaters). Carnivorous lizards also exist. Examples include the Komodo dragon which eats water buffaloes.

Iguanas are generally considered herbivores. They like to eat plants, herbs, figs, flowers, buds, leaves, etc. However, the very large ones are also known to eat small mammals and birds.

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In my opinion, because most pet iguanas prefer to eat fruits and vegetables, which is what you should eat too, they are easy to feed and care for. This, unlike many species of pet lizards which require a constant supply of live prey such as cockroaches and ants, which can be somewhat difficult to find.

Are lizards and iguanas poisonous?

All but two species of lizards are known to be non-venomous. The two poisonous lizard species are the Mexican bearded lizard and the Gila monster. The good thing is that they are both easy to identify by their appearance and therefore easy to avoid.

While poisonous lizards do exist, truly poisonous iguanas are not known to man. Most iguanas produce venom that is harmless to humans. So they are not really poisonous.

What is the lifespan of lizards and iguanas?

Lizards have a relatively short lifespan. Most species of lizards do not live beyond a year. In contrast, iguanas are known to live very long. Some species of iguanas can live up to 20 years.

So if you are looking for a pet that will be your buddy for many years to come, get an iguana.

So. What are the best pets, lizards or iguanas?

In my opinion, iguanas are better pets than lizards. Indeed, they are easy to feed, somewhat intelligent, fascinating to observe, exotic and live much longer than lizards. The only downside to keeping a pet iguana is that it will cost you a lot of money to buy it and build it a nice enclosure.


Both lizards and iguanas belong to the reptile group of vertebrates. Iguanas are actually a type of lizard. Therefore, they are not much different from lizards in many ways. However, they are also different from most lizard species in several ways, including their colors and the foods they eat. In my opinion, iguanas make better pets than lizards because they are more fascinating and live longer.