7 Different Types of Lizards in Malaysia

Different Types of Lizards in Malaysia
Photo by James Brown

The jungles of Malaysia are homes to different species of lizards. Most people scrunch their noses at the mention of their names, but wildlife lovers are quite fascinated by these reptiles.

We shall discuss the common types of lizards in Malaysia, so stay glued. These lizards come in various colors and patterns that match their surroundings; this helps them hide from their potential predators.

In addition, they occur in different forms, from those that can swim to those that can fly and glide over tropical trees.

So, without further ado, let’s look at the different types of lizards in Malaysia.

1. Skink

Skinks are small reptiles that can measure between 3 and 14 inches, depending on the species. They look like lizards but have short legs; some don’t even have limbs.

Skinks eat earthworms, flies, moths, caterpillars, grubs, and grasshoppers. Some gardeners even use these insects to lure them to their gardens.

However, skinks have small appetites, so they only eat one insect every few days. In addition, a few skinks will consume little bits of fruit.

Skinks inhabit a wide range of environments. Most of them prefer to stay in areas where they can dig burrows. These animals are cold-blooded reptiles, so don’t be surprised if you find one sunning itself on a rock.

Skinks are shy creatures and are not dangerous. They would rather escape notice by moving quickly and hiding beneath logs or mounds of leaves.

Predators of skinks include hawks, crows, and other birds. Since they live in many habitats, they can’t escape these bigger enemies. Animals like cats, dogs, raccoons, and foxes also enjoy having them as a tasty meal. 

Furthermore, skinks can reproduce by laying eggs or giving birth to offspring. However, there are some skinks species that can both lay eggs and give birth to young ones.

This process is called bimodal reproduction, and only three species of lizards can do this.

2. Asian Water Monitor

This is among the different types of lizards in Malaysia. They’re one of the most popular monitor lizards in Asia and the biggest reptiles in the world. They have muscular bodies with long and strong tails. 

Asian water monitors are usually black or brown with yellow undersides. These yellow markings have a tendency to fade gradually with age.

The blackish band with yellow edges extending back from each eye also serves as a distinguishing feature for this species.

These monitors have elongated snouts and very lengthy necks. They use their strong jaws, pointed fangs, and razor-sharp claws for both defense and predation.

Although these lizards live in a range of natural habitats, you’ll mostly find them in mangrove swamps and primary forests. These reptiles can also thrive in cities, agricultural areas, and canal systems.

However, their most preferred habitats are swamps, wetlands, and mangrove vegetation. Furthermore, Asian water monitors are semi-aquatic and good swimmers.

They use the raised fins on their tails to navigate through water. These reptiles are active during the day. In addition, they dig burrows which are often close to rivers or streams. They use their claws, tails, and jaws to defend themselves.

Asian water monitors feast on a wide range of prey. They eat crabs, snakes, birds, rodents, fish, and frogs. They also eat crocodile eggs, young crocodiles, and even turtles.

These reptiles have a good sense of smell and can detect the smell of a carcass from a great distance.

3. Bengal Monitor Lizard

The Bengal Monitor is also among the different types of lizards in Malaysia. Young ones are more colorful than adults. Also, the young have several dark crossbars on their back, throat, and neck. 

Bengal monitor lizards are widely distributed across India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Burma. These lizards can be found in habitats ranging from floodplains, scrubland, moist forests, and dry semi-arid deserts.

You can also find these reptiles in agricultural areas. These lizards are good climbers but are usually seen on the ground. The young can climb trees to get away from predators. The bigger ones prefer running away on the ground.

Bengal monitors will occasionally stand on their hind legs while on the ground to acquire a better perspective or during fights between males.

They are proficient swimmers and can survive underwater for at least 17 minutes. Bengal’s diet consists of ants, snails, scorpions, grubs, beetles, and other invertebrates.

In addition, they might eat rodents, fish, lizards, snakes, frogs, and ground birds. They frequently visit dung to scavenge for beetles and other insects.

4. Leopard Geckos

Leopard geckos are among the different types of lizards in Malaysia. They’re different from other gecko species of their movable eyelids. These reptiles are quite large with their chubby tails and wide heads. 

Wild leopard geckos are often darker in color; however, captive-bred leopard geckos have a variety of skin colors and patterns.

Leopard geckos have rough skin on top and smooth underbellies. In addition, they usually have leopard-like spots or patches with broad horizontal stripes.

These lizards are one of the most commonly kept pet reptiles. They are insectivores in the wild and will eat anything they come across. Don’t even try to offer them veggies or plants because they won’t eat them.

Before bringing your pet leopard gecko home, make sure you have a reliable live-food source in place because most leopard geckos won’t consume dead insects.

Avoid feeding your gecko any glowing insects. This is because the substance that causes glowing insects to glow is also highly poisonous to geckos. Also, please don’t give them insects that you capture yourself.

In addition to carrying parasites, wild insects may also contain minute levels of insecticides. So always get your gecko’s live food from a trustworthy pet shop or breed the insects yourself.

5. Common Gliding Lizard

The common gliding lizards are among the different types of lizards in Malaysia. They have a flat body that comes in various colors such as black, green, grey, and brown. The color of their underside is lighter than the color of their top body. 

Common gliding lizards are territorial. Males will go to any length to defend their territory. They will glide from tree to tree as they pursue other males.

Males intimidate their competition by flashing their dewlaps. A single male lizard will rule one to three females occupying up to three trees.

These lizards are abundant across their natural habitats. They are expensive and hard to get in pet stores, yet some individuals still keep them as pets.

Common gliding lizards are difficult to feed, breed, and keep as pets because they need specialized arboreal cages.

Common gliding lizards are skittish and difficult to handle for beginners. Lizards will bite as protection; therefore, use gloves or protective clothes when handling them. Their bites are unpleasant but not harmful.

6. Earless Monitor Lizard

The different types of lizards in Malaysia include the earless monitor lizard. It is a brown lizard with a cylindrical body, short limbs, a long neck, long sharp claws, and semi-transparent eyelids.

Their upper body parts are orangish brown, while the underside is whitish and mottled dark brown. These lizards prefer lowlands with rocky streams and marshes.

They are common in rainforests but can also be found in streams that flow through degraded habitats like agricultural land, mature fruit tree gardens, and palm oil plantations.

Earless monitor lizards are nocturnal creatures. They spend their days near water in burrows or under rocks, logs, and vegetation. They tend to be rather slow and inactive, yet when frightened, they can move in quick spurts.

These lizards also flick their forked tongue, resembling snakes, and oscillate their throat. They are also capable of making a soft, squeaky vocalization.

Although monitor lizards are t solitary animals, they will congregate in groups when there isn’t enough water source nearby.

Earless monitor lizards are carnivores and feed on fish, crustaceans, and earthworms. They are capable of ingesting prey while submerged in water. They seem to be able to do it by exhaling water through their nostrils.

7. Tokay Gecko

Tokay geckos are among the different types of lizards in Malaysia. They’re one of the largest gecko species. They have delicate skin that is typically gray with red speckles. However, they can change their skin color, allowing them to blend in with their surroundings.

They have strong footpads that can hold the entire body weight on a vertical surface for an extended time, making them excellent climbers.

In addition, these lizards have semi-prehensile tails, a big head, and strong jaws. Tokay geckos inhabit rainforests, where they stay on trees and cliffs.

However, it has also regularly adapted to human habitations in rural areas, where it spends the night roaming walls and ceilings searching for an insect meal.

These geckos are solitary creatures. Males are aggressive and territorial, attacking both other males and outsiders. They are arboreal and active at night. Also, they use various sounds to communicate with one another.

Furthermore, tokay geckos are carnivores and eat mainly insects and small invertebrates. They feed on mosquitoes, spiders, grasshoppers, ants, crickets, and moths. In addition, they may eat mice, small rats, snakes, and birds.


We hope you enjoyed our article on the different types of lizards in Malaysia. These lizards have their unique set of characteristics that makes them unique. Some are wild, and others can be kept as a pet. Either way, they are amazing creatures. Thanks for reading!

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