10 Types of Lizards in Hawaii

Types of Lizards in Hawaii
Photo by Egor Kamelev

Are you planning on visiting the beautiful islands of Hawaii? Chances are you know what to expect in terms of things like beaches and waterfalls and natural wonders that will keep your camera’s memory card full. 

But did you know there are many incredible types of lizards in Hawaii, too? Here’s a breakdown of some of the most interesting ones to check out while you’re there!

1. Cuban Knight Anole

The Cuban Knight Anole is native to Cuba and the Bahamas, and this species is one of the types of lizards in Hawaii.

They are medium-sized lizards, growing from 4-8 inches long, with slender bodies and small heads. Also, they vary in color from green to yellow or brown.

Cuban Knight Anoles can sometimes be found around residential areas and often come into contact with humans because they like to bask on low tree branches. Cuban Knight Anoles are omnivores that feed on arthropods, snails, fruits, flowers, nuts, and seeds.

2. Brown Anole

The brown anole, scientifically known as Anolis sagrei, is a type of lizard that belongs to the family Dactyloidae.

They are native to Central and South America and reach lengths up to 8 inches long. Brown anoles have small heads and feet, while their tails are more comprehensive than tall.

The brown anole feeds primarily on other insects, such as ants or crickets, but may also eat tiny frogs, lizards, moths, spiders, worms, etc. Adult brown anoles live around 3-4 years, while juveniles live 2-3 years on average.

3. Jackson’s Chameleon

While most people are familiar with the native Gecko, there are many other types of lizards in Hawaii that you might not have heard about. 

Jackson’s Chameleon: Known for their human-like hands, these types of lizards in Hawaii can be found on Mauna Loa. They grow to be from 7 – 10 inches long and can range from light green to dark brown or blackish green.

4. Common House Gecko

Common House Geckos are one of Hawaii’s more common types of lizards. Common House Geckos are also invasive, as they have been introduced to many places worldwide. 

Furthermore, they’re nocturnal animals and do not like to be handled or exposed to light for too long. Common House Geckos are not endangered or threatened, but there is concern about their ability to survive natural disasters because they’re found on every significant Hawaiian island. 

Common House Geckos get their name from a well-known tendency to live in human dwellings. However, they occasionally venture into holes that provide protection and shade during hot days.

5. Gold Dust Day Gecko

The Gold Dust Day Gecko is a day gecko endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. Although rare, they are probably the most recognized type of lizard on the islands.

Adults range from 2-4 inches long and can change colors depending on their environment. Their diet consists mainly of spiders, insects, worms, and fruit flies.

Gold Dust Day Geckos come with built-in camouflage to blend into their surroundings, such as a stone or leaf, to look like an inanimate part of their surroundings!

6. Madagascar Giant Day Gecko

Although the Madagascar Giant Day Gecko isn’t necessarily a Hawaiian species, it is found exclusively on the island of Molokai.

This lizard’s scientific name, Phelsuma madagascariensis beryllia, was inspired by its native country and translated to bejeweled.

No wonder this rare Gecko has become one of Molokai’s unofficial mascots! The Malagasy Giant Day Gecko is primarily an arboreal creature, meaning it spends most of its time living and moving around in trees. 

However, Hawaii’s different types of lizards are also active during daylight hours. They consume mosquitoes and other small insects found on the leaves or bark where they reside. They also love to feast on fruit that grows nearby!

7. Stump-Toed Gecko

One type of lizard you may not have heard about is the Stump-Toed Gecko. These geckos are currently only found on Kauai and inhabit habitats with large amounts of foliage near ground level. 

They’re more secretive than other types of lizards in Hawaii BNBand doesn’t like to be seen. These geckos will climb onto a branch with their long, sticky toes. And then quickly release their grip when predators come by or use the leaf’s surface to dart.

8. Orange Spotted Day Gecko

Humans introduced the orange-spotted day gecko, indigenous to Madagascar, to some areas of Hawaii. The orange-spotted day gecko feeds on ants and termites and hunts at night. 

To avoid predation from other animals, it spends most of the day hiding under rocks or in other inaccessible places.

The female does not lay eggs as all offspring are born live and will climb into the male’s mouth for mating purposes, often laying eggs internally. 

Also, after mating, the male will run away so as not to get eaten! When threatened by predators, the day gecko can detach its tail which becomes dangerous. Because it still moves around to distract the predator until it manages to escape or die.

9. Mourning Gecko

Mourning Geckos are native to areas around Hawaii and Japan. They typically range from 10-12 inches long and can be found on trees or rocks in hot climates. Often blending in with their surroundings.

In addition, these lizards in Hawaii have a brown, grayish coloring that breaks up the contrast between dark and light spots. These creatures are diurnal, meaning they only hunt during the day.

Mourning Gekko eats insects, small lizards, and small mammals like rodents and birds if they can get them. As well as plants like flowers or leaves if they cannot find anything else.

10. Veiled Chameleon

The veiled chameleon (Trioceros taeniolatus) is one of the newest types of lizard in Hawaii in addition to the lizard family and can only be found on the island of Kauai.

The word ‘veiled’ comes from its ability to change colors to match its surroundings. Meanwhile, both browns and greens are often seen as their standard colors.

The most distinguishing feature of this lizard is its body shape, which features a snake-like pattern that starts near the mouth and curves down towards the tip of the tail.

It has a small head compared to its long slender body, measuring only an inch or two in length.

Conclusion

You may not have been aware of many different types of lizards in Hawaii. However, there are differences in appearance, behavior, range, and habitat between these different types of lizards in Hawaii that can be useful to know when camping or hiking around Hawaii.

The top most common types are geckos, anoles, and iguanas. Geckos prefer higher elevations, can jump distances of up to four feet, and grow to be up to seven inches long. They eat bugs and small invertebrates but prefer a diet consisting mainly of fruit juices.

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