It’s time for lizard hide and seek! Big or small, these lizards have a knack for blending in. Can you spot them in these pictures?
It’s hard not to sing the Culture Club song “Karma Chameleon” when we think of these adorable lizards. Here, this charming chameleon is green to match the foliage. But according to National Geographic, chameleons don’t transform through a rainbow of colors like you might have seen in YouTube videos. They can, however, change ever so slightly to blend into their environment when the light around them changes.
Clawing their way to the top
Look closely and you’ll see a Lace Monitor lizard sprawled out on the tree limb. Check out those strong heavy-duty claws; all Lace Monitors have them, and they use them for climbing and digging, which come in especially handy for the females when they lay their eggs. According to the Australia Zoo, she uses her strong claws to dig a hole in the side of a termite mound to lay her eggs. The termites close up the hole and keep the eggs safe and at ideal incubation temperature. When the lizards hatch, mom digs them out. Now that’s a pretty sweet arrangement with the termites.
Can you spot the chameleon here? It looks a little tired and grouchy, but it’s probably just chilling here on a branch trying to blend in and catch a few winks. But when a male Parson’s chameleon is looking for love, his skin will transform into a brighter color, National Geographic says. And it’s not just to impress the females. It’s a show of strength for competing males, and males who have dimmer colors just can’t win and back off.
The push-up king
You could easily pick up this eastern fence lizard while gathering firewood and not even notice it. They like to make their home in grasslands, shrublands, and woodlands, but favor areas with trees. According to the National Wildlife Federation, they hang out during the day on fence posts, rocks, stumps, and, of course, trees. Things get interesting when another male lizard tries to sneak into the picture. The eastern fence lizard will do push-ups or bob its head to defend its territory. After basking in the sun and a grueling round of push-ups, it crawls under a rock to sleep for the night.
The irregular spots on the yellow body of the leopard gecko make it easier to spot here, but if you weren’t standing so close the irregularity of the spots would help the lizard blend into the uneven patterns of the rock. According to the San Diego Zoo, these charming little lizards can be found in a variety of colors, patterns, and sizes and are one of the most commonly kept lizards today because they’re docile and relatively easy to care for when you create a habitat that is similar to their native home.
Check out my breaststroke
According to the San Diego Zoo, some iguanas have colors that are vivid and bright, but others have rather dull colors, like this one, who effortlessly blends in with the rocks on the beach. This marine iguana may be on its way to take a dip in the ocean. They are skilled swimmers, but once they get out of the cold ocean, they might rest on a rock or in the sand and use their black coloration for reflective heat to warm up. Ready for another reptilian challenge?
The devil is in the details
Yikes! Don’t let the pretty yellow flowers fool you—there’s a thorny devil lizard there tip-toeing on the arid inland deserts of Australia. Notice the knob on the lizard, just past the horns? It almost looks like an eye, but it’s not. According to the PBS series Nature, it is actually a “false head” used to deceive predators. When a thorny devil lizard feels threatened, it will curl its real head between its front legs, leaving the false one exposed to attack. Think it’s a little harsh to call this guy a “devil”?
Leaf me alone
Did it take you a minute to spot the leaf-tailed gecko? It’s no wonder with its flat tail that looks remarkably like a leaf. According to PBS series Nature, this large lizard lives in trees in eastern Madagascar. Its other camouflage feature is the flap of skin that runs the length of its body, which helps break up its outline and prevents it from casting a shadow. It almost looks like the lizard is painted on the bark.
I’m a big deal in the United Kingdom
This sand lizard isn’t basking on the sand at the moment, but they do like to soak up the rays on the sand dunes and sandy heathlands. This one blends perfectly with the brown and green vegetation. This lizard is a female, as noted by her sandy-brown color and rows of dark blotches along her back. Males have green flanks that are particularly vibrant during the breeding season. According to the Wildlife Trusts, the sand lizard is a protected lizard courtesy of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, as one of the United Kingdom’s rarest reptiles.
Chirpy house guests
Or shall we say the invisible house guest? Did you spot this common house gecko yet? The head is in the center of the picture, and its tail veers off to the lower-left corner. According to Ecology Asia, this species is historically a forest-dwelling lizard but now has adapted very well to human dwellings. But while this houseguest might not be invited, it does earn its keep by eating insects at night, when it’s active. It also has a whimsical chirp that may be endearing or deafening when you’re trying to sleep.
We’ll make this one a little easier, but it’s only because this La Palma lizard has a showy distinction. See that striking blue spot on the throat? It’s only on the male. He would still be hard to spot whether in a rocky environment, seen here, or in the dark soil of crops and vineyards. According to herpetology research, this lizard can cause a lot of grief for farmers, as it eats the flowers and fruits of plants such as grapes, pumpkins, tomatoes, and peppers.
Puff, the bearded dragon
This friendly Australian lizard blends in well with the sand and soil. Notice the beard with the spikes on it? That’s actually an expandable pouch, and according to the Reid Park Zoo in Tucson, Arizona, the bearded dragon puffs it up for mating and aggression displays. Another unique feature of the bearded dragon is it waves. No joke. It stands on three legs and waves its forelimb in a circular motion.
The biggest of them all
Don’t mind this lizard, it’s just chilling in the shade of a tree—or waiting in the camouflage of the leaves to catch its lunch. According to the Smithsonian National Zoo, Komodo dragons are the world’s largest lizard. They average around eight to nine feet long and weigh an intimidating 150 pounds. They are only found on a few islands in the Pacific, but they don’t just hang out on the beach; they also live in the forest areas on the islands. It’s hard to believe this adult was once small enough to live in a tree, but that’s where it spent the first four years of its life.