Range: The different species of lizards range through a diversity of habitats, normally frequenting humid areas of foothills and mountains, but also can be found ranging down into the drier grasslands, staying close to rivers and streams. These are Secretive by nature, they hide under windfall, bushes, and in rocky cracks.Many
parts of Costa Rica, national Parks are the natural living place of lizards.
Size: The lizards are vary greatly in size; the Komodo Dragon can reach to a length of 313 cm (10.3 feet), while few of the smaller chameleons and geckos measure only a few centimeters as adults. Lizard’s size can be from under 3 inches (7.5 cm) long to over 10 feet (3 m) long.
Weight: It all depends on the type of lizard. A small – medium (gecko) can be from few ounces to a few pounds. The large (Komodo dragon) could be as heavy as an adult person or heavier.
Diet: Lizards are generally carnivorous and insectivorous but several larger ones eat plants. A few lizards eat plants and they are called herbivores. Normally they feed on arthropods, snails and sometime eggs. Larger animals in zoo or captivity may feed pests, rats.
Average life span: The average lifespan of lizards varies greatly from species to species.
Habitat: The lizard group is a highly diverse one since lizards have adapted to a wide range of habitats and inhabit all continents except Antarctica. Thy are abundant in Costa Rica. Also available in national parks of Costa Rica.
Breeding/Reproduction: Most female lizards lay soft-shelled eggs, but a few give birth to live young.
Lizards are each and every populous reptile under the suborder Sauria (also known as Lacertilia) of the order Squamata. Snakes are also under the order Squamata but under the suborder Serpentes for the lack legs (sometimes lizards have no legs). Lizards are also differentiated from snakes by having ear openings and movable eyelids. Lizards with 5000 species, is prevalent all over the world except Antarctica and most oceanic island chains. They are commonly seen in tropical places. Most of the lizards have movable eyelids and can blink (a few can not blink, like the geckos). Lizards smell with their tongue same as snakes. It can shed their skin. If it is caught by the tail, most lizards can break their tail off to escape and later grow another. The new tail will be smaller and will have no bones.
The largest lizard is the Komodo dragon. It can reach up to 10 feet in length. They are patient hunters. They sink their teeth into the prey and can wait for sometimes even days for the slow death. Several lizards, in order to defend themselves, can spurt blood 2-4 feet out of their eyes. A number of lizards can live more than 30 years. A record, 33 years and 11 months, is held by a Mexican beaded lizard.
Some of the popular lizards are iguanas, skinks, geckos, chameleons, Gila monsters and horned toads.
Lizards also vary in color. Ground and tree-dwelling lizards is usually bright colored. Desert lizards are usually cover-up so they mix together into their surroundings. Chameleons can change the color of their skin to go with their surroundings.
Most lizards separate their tails to avoid danger which is called autonomy, but not all can do this. Most lizards’ vision, as well as their color vision, is especially well developed. They can communicate through their body language.
These reptiles are omnivores. They take a vast variety of food ranging from fruits and vegetables up to insects, tetra pods, and carrion and whenever large lizards can, eat greedily a large animal like deer.
Most of the lizards are not a threat to humans. But the Komodo Dragons are capable of attacking and even killing humans and their farm animals. The Mexican beaded lizard and the Gila monster found in northern Mexico and south western United States are the only two known species of lizards that are poisonous. University of Melbourne, Australia and Pennsylvania State University however found out that many iguanas have venom-producing glands.
Lizards are helpful to humans since they eat pests. Also, some of the species of lizards are popular in the pet trade. Iguanas, bearded dragons, leopard geckos, tegus and monitor lizards are some of the species of lizard to be considered as exotic pets. Some countries treated them as delicacy.
Around 600 iguanid species are around the world and 38 can be found in Costa Rica. The three most common ones are Green Iguana, they can be found in most part of the Costa Rica tropical climate and National parks. The other species is Ctenosaur. Theses can be seen in the dry areas of Costa Rica, they are mainly herbivores. They have similar length like green Iguana but they are best hunter.
Another type is Plumed Basilisk. It is also known as “Jesus Christ Lizards” due to their ability to run over the water surfaces up to 20 meters. The lizard of the house can be found everywhere. Geckos are active in nights only; they have large eyes with dark or grey color. Around 750 species of Lizards can be found worldwide, out of that 9 species are available in Costa Rica.