Lizard vs Gecko – What’s the difference?

A widely diverse group of creatures (Lizard and Gecko) found almost everywhere except Antarctica both belonging to the kingdom Animalia and phylum Chordata have almost similar characteristics with certain visible physical differences. The lizards belong to the class Sauropsida comprising more than 6000 species worldwide while the Gecko comes under the class Reptilia. Let check out the difference between lizard and Gecko.

Lizards and Geckos, both animals have four legs and their bodies are covered by scales. Lizards are cold-blooded vertebrates with suborder Lacertilia (Lizards) and Amphisbaenia (Worm Lizards) while Geckos are categorized as suborder Lacertilia and infraorder Gekkota.

The average lifespan of Gecko is 5 to 10 years, which varies by type. The lizards have a shorter lifespan as compared to Gecko and usually survive between 1 to 3 years, which also varies by type.

Lizard vs Gecko – Origin

The lizard is believed to have evolved over 200 million years ago. However, Gecko though originated in North Africa was later carried unknowingly by humans to Southern France, the Canary Islands, and even the islands in the South Pacific.

Is Gecko a lizard?

Yes, but are they different? the answer to this question is the fact that they lay eggs in pairs instead of large clutches. Geckos have the ability to vocalize with chirps and barking noises There are roughly 6000 different species of lizards out of which roughly 1500 are believed to be Geckos.

Lizard vs Gecko – Physical characteristics

  • The skin of the lizard is dry and scaly while Gecko’s skin is thin and has small bumps on it.
  • Lizard and Geckos both are four-legged animals and are cold-blooded.
  • A certain variety of Geckos and lizards can change colors to camouflage.
  • Lizards have movable eyelids which are absent in Geckos. The eyelids are replaced by a transparent membrane which they lick to clean. The night hunting Geckos however have large pupils.
  • Some species of Geckos use a defense mechanism that comprises the release of feces with a very foul-smelling material. The lizards are however not known to do that.
  • The Geckos have specialized toe pads that enable them to climb vertical surfaces. This kind of modification is not seen in Geckos.
  • The Geckos can shed their tail and grow a new one in its place. The lizards also show the same characteristics of a fragile and detachable tail.

Lizard vs Gecko – Mating habits

A few species of lizards place their eggs in a nest. The rest don’t lay their eggs and give birth after hatching their eggs inside the body. The female lizards do not show much attachment towards the laid eggs.

However, on the other hand, the mating habits of Geckos vary greatly. A large majority of Geckos lay eggs in pairs. This the most important characteristic that separates them from the lizards. The female Gecko lays a pair of four or five eggs between the month of May and August. The duration between the laying of eggs is usually two to four weeks. The eggs of the gecko are soft initially but gradually hardens with time.

The Southern dwarf Gecko has an unusual method of laying eggs. The eggs are pulled out with the help of the hind legs. The Geckos shed their skin regularly and this process starts shortly after they hatch.

What do Lizards and Geckos eat?

The lizards and Geckos are insectivorous and omnivorous. The majority of species of Geckos hunt at night. So what do geckos eat? The meal comprises beetles, crickets, butterflies, millipedes, and cockroaches. The larger species of Geckos such as the Caledonian Gecko pursue young lizards, mice, and small birds.

The lizards feed on a wide variety of foods including fruits and vegetables, insects, small tetrapods, and in the case of large lizards they hunt animals like deer.

Vitamins like calcium and vitamin D3 are considered to be very important for both species.

Can lizards and Gecko be kept as pets?

A few species of lizard and Geckos can be kept as pets. It is considered to be a great option for beginners as they do not require extensive care and usually recover easily from various injuries.

Lizards are one of the most diverse groups of species that are known to live in trees and in the underground of the desert land. They do have few specific needs which if denied by the owners might kill them eventually. They shouldn’t be kept away from heat and UVB as it might be a life-threatening situation for them. It is advised to do thorough research about the breed before you set your mind to keeping them as pets.

All the lizards and Geckos will be nervous when they are held for the first time. They might show some defense mechanisms like barking or be in an aggressive posture. It is best to not hold them for at least a week after you bring them in. They should be held gently and not too tight. They should be allowed to go around your hands which will make them trust you more!

The home setup that is important to keep in mind before getting them as pets are:

  • Heat source
  • A temperature gradient
  • UVA /UVB lighting
  • Decorations to mimic their natural habitat

The Bearded Dragon, Fire Skink, Blue-tongued skink are considered great pet lizards.

The Crested Gecko, Day Gecko, Fat-Tailed Gecko are considered great pet Geckos.

Signs and symptoms

The signs of a healthy lizard include

  • Vibrant skin
  • Alertness
  • Actively moving around
  • Acknowledgment of the outside stimuli

The symptoms that shouldn’t be avoided

  • Diarrhea
  • Raspy, crackly, or labored breathing
  • Lack of energy
  • Paleness or flaking of skin

The signs of a healthy lizard

  • Bright clear eyes that aren’t sunken
  • Will be alert at night
  • A nice fat tail
  • Will have droppings of normal consistency

The symptoms of an unhealthy Gecko

  • Lethargic and will have sunken eyes
  • Will not eat well
  • Tail becomes thin

The tail becomes thin as the fat stores are used up. It may have smelly droppings of diarrhea which is a sign of parasitic infection in the intestines. The deficiency of vitamin D can cause the bone to break or form deformities at various stages of life.

Are lizards and Geckos poisonous or venomous?

Almost all lizards are neither venomous nor poisonous except the Gila monster which is the only known lizard to be poisonous.

The geckos on the other hand do not have any history of being poisonous or venomous.

Leave a Comment