The 2 Types of Lizards Found in New York! (ID Guide)

What kinds of lizards can you find in New York?”

common lizards in New York

 

I was amazed by the number of lizards in the United States – well over 150 species!

 

Some species live only in a small area, and some are widespread over hundreds of miles.

 

Today, you’ll learn about 2 different kinds of lizards in New York.

 

Also, if you enjoy this article, make sure to check out these other guides!

 


#1. Coal Skink

  • Plestiodon anthracinus

types of lizards in New York

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are up to 7 inches long.
  • Four light stripes run the length of the body and a portion of the tail.
  • Juveniles are sometimes all black with no markings.
  • During the breeding season, some males develop reddish blotches on the sides of the head.

 

Coal Skinks are one of the most secretive, shy lizards in New York!

 

They are hard to find because they spend much of their time under rocks, leaf litter, or fallen logs. Coal Skinks prefer moist, humid areas and live on hillsides with nearby streams.

 

If you spot a Coal Skink, you can identify it by the lack of a middle stripe on its back.

 

Two subspecies, the Northern Coal Skink (P.a. anthracinus) and the Southern Coal Skink (P.a. pluvialis), are scattered throughout the US.

 


#2. Common Five-Lined Skink

  • Plestiodon fasciatus

species of lizards in New York

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are up to 8.75 inches long.
  • 5 stripes are most apparent in hatchlings and fade as the skinks grow.
  • Males have orange-red coloring on the jaw during the breeding season.
  • Hatchlings are black with light stripes. The black coloring often fades to gray, and the lighter stripes darken.

 

Look for Common Five-Lined Skinks in southeastern New York in wooded areas near rotting stumps, outcrops of rock, and sometimes piles of boards or sawdust. Its diet consists of spiders, beetles, crickets, and other insects.

Credit: Virginia Herpetological Society

Females attend to their eggs throughout the incubation period.

 

They spend almost all of their time defending and caring for the eggs until they hatch!

 

If you happen to come across a nest, you may notice the mother curled up on top of or around the eggs. She also rolls the eggs to maintain their humidity, moves them back to the nest if they become disturbed, and even eats eggs that aren’t viable!

 


Do you need additional help identifying lizards?

 

Try this field guide!

 


Which of these lizards have you seen in New York?

 

Leave a comment below!

 

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