Amazon Rainforest Lizards

There are just over 100 different Amazon Rainforest lizards including the familiar favorites. If visiting the the Amazon region, you can find an assortment of different types from the well known iguanas, common in the pet trade, and other less known animals like caiman lizards (mentioned in the Amazon Rainforest Reptiles article) and geckos of various shapes, colors and sizes.


Probably the most famous lizard in the world, green iguanas can actually vary a lot in color from grey through to an orange tint. Iguanas are generally very adaptable, which is a reason why they have lasted so long in the pet trade. It is also how they have managed to diversify to offshore islands and adapt into the world’s only living marine lizard. Green iguanas prefer an arboreal lifestyle and are often found in trees near water in Amazon forests.

Banded Tree Anole

These tree living lizards blend in with the surrounding Amazon Rainforest foliage. This species (Anolis transversalis) feeds on cockroaches, ants, and beetles as they run around the rainforest trees. These lizards can be found at the tops of the tallest Amazon trees and anoles are strictly arboreal, one of the many species that never needs to descend all the way to the ground. Because of their close ties to trees, anoles are one of the most threatened lizards by deforestation.

Bridled Forest Gecko

Bridled Forest Gecko
Photo by Guide Alfredo Dosantos at the Tahuayo Lodge

Bridled Forest Geckos (Gonatodes humeralis) occur in both east and west Amazon Rainforest and prefer life in the trees. This species eats a typical variety of Amazon Rainforest insects like ants, cockroaches, and caterpillars, but also takes mollusks and earthworms. Bridled forest geckos are sit-and-wait predators and are typically not an active lizard. They appear to be forest specialists and are hardly ever found around human habitation, but some local populations do sometimes take up residence near houses.

Turnip Tailed Gecko

Turnip Tailed Geckos are large for a gecko at around 12 cm long. They are nocturnal and well camouflaged to avoid predators. Generally, they like large trees in the rainforest but are also known to walk around homes. These geckos are one of only 2 other strictly nocturnal lizard in the Amazon Rainforest and is the only mainly-nocturnal lizard in Amazon lowlands. The flaps of skin around the lizard not only break up the lizard’s outline to avoid predator detection, but it also provides a parachute when the geckos jump from trees. They probably jump to avoid predators, travel between trees, or to provide safety if the lizard falls. Turnip tailed geckos feed mainly on plant-associated insects in forest environments and a large amount of cockroaches when living on buildings.

Share your favorite Amazon Rainforest lizards below in the comments.

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