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13 Lizards Found in Kansas (with Pictures)

Ed Malaker

Whether you are visiting Kansas and plan to do some sightseeing or you live there and found something strange in your yard, it can be helpful to know the different lizard species native to the area, especially if some of them are poisonous. Keep reading while we list 13 different species of lizard that you might encounter while you visit Kansas. For each entry, we’ll include an image and a short description so you can learn more about them.

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13 Lizards Found in Kansas

1. Slender Glass Lizard

Eastern Slender Glass Lizard on stone
Image Credit: Peter Paplanus, PxHere
Species: Ophisaurus attenuatus
Longevity: 10–30 years
Good to own as a pet?: Yes
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 25–30 inch
Diet: Carnivorous

The Slender Glass Lizard is native to eastern Kansas, and it’s relatively easy to find. It gets its name from how easy it is to break off its tail. It can make a great pet if you are careful with it.


2. Ground Skink

Ground Skink
Image Credit: Ryan M. Bolton, Shutterstock
Species: Scincella lateralis
Longevity: 2 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 3–6 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

You can find the Ground Skink buries in the loose rubble of the forest floor in southeastern Kansas. It doesn’t climb trees like other skinks, and it hibernates during the colder months.


3. Prairie Skink

Species: Scincella lateralis
Longevity: 5–7  years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 5–9 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

Kansas is unique in that you can find both the northern and southern versions of the Prairie Skink in the same state. These animals are great burrowers and can put themselves below the frost line. Their range is only as wide as a state but extends through the United States from north to south.


4. Great Plains Skink

Great Plains Skink
Image Credit: Matt Jeppson, Shutterstock
Species: Scincella lateralis
Longevity: 3–8  years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 10–14 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

The Great Plains Skink is one of the largest lizards you can find in Kansas. You can find it almost anywhere in the state, and it likes the open plains and foothills where you will find it near water.


5. Broad-Headed Skink

Broad-Headed Skink
Image Credit: Peter Paplanus, PxHere
Species: Plestiodon laticeps
Longevity: 4  years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 10–13 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

The Broad-Headed Skink is similar to the Great Plains Skink and is almost as large. It gets its name from its wide jaws that give it a triangular head. You can find it all over Kansas, foraging around humid forests.


6. American Five-Lined Skink

American Five-Lined Skink
Image Credit: Germain McDaniel, Shutterstock
Species: Plestiodon fasciatus
Longevity: 6  years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 5–9 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

The American Five-Lined Skink is also called the Red Headed Skink due to the red coloring it achieves when it’s an adult. You can usually find it in the eastern part of Kansas, where it likes to hide in walls, buildings, and trees.


7. Coal Skink

coal skink
Image Credit: Hunter Kauffman, Shutterstock
Species: Plestiodon anthracinus
Longevity: 4  years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 5–7 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

The Coal Skink is another lizard you can find in Kansas but only in the extreme east. It likes wooded hillsides with plenty of leaves close to a spring or a creek.


8. Six-Lined Race Runner

Species: Aspidoscelis sexlineatus
Longevity: 6  years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 6–11 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

The Six-Lined Race Runner is a fast lizard that moves quickly through low-lying vegetation reaching speeds up to 18 miles per hour. You can find it easily in Kansas, but its numbers are falling rapidly in Michigan due to habitat loss.


9. Eastern Fence Lizard

eastern fence lizard
Image Credit: JamesDeMers, Pixabay
Species: Aspidoscelis sexlineatus
Longevity: 5  years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 4–8 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

The Eastern Fence Lizard has a wide distribution that extends to the east coast. Scientists believe that in the last 70 years, these lizards have evolved longer legs to help them escape fire ants, which are themselves an invasive species. You will usually see them in the morning by rock piles and tree stumps.


10. Texas Horned Lizard

Species: Aspidoscelis sexlineatus
Longevity: 7  years
Good to own as a pet?: Yes
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 3–5 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

The Texas Horned Lizard is a prehistoric-looking reptile native to the southern United States. It has horns protruding from its head as well as from the back of its wide body. Despite its menacing appearance, it’s extremely docile and makes a great pet.


11. Lesser Earless Lizard

lesser earless lizard
Image Credit: joseph_ricketts, Shutterstock
Species: Holbrookia maculata
Longevity: 4  years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 3–7 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

The Lesser Earless Lizard has a camouflaged coloring on its back that helps protect it from predators, and it prefers open but grassy hunting grounds when it forages for food.


12. Italian Wall Lizard

italian wall lizard
Image Credit: Pixabay
Species: Podarcis siculus
Longevity: 2–5  years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 3.5 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

The Italian Wall Lizard is an invasive species native to native to Bosnia, France, and Italy, but scientists have documented populations in Kansas, Pennsylvania, and other states in the US. It’s a colorful reptile that prefers shrubbery, rocky areas, and gardens.


13. Common Collared Lizard

Species: Crotaphytus collaris
Longevity: 5–8  years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 8–15 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

The Common Collard Lizard is a colorful reptile with black bands around the neck and shoulder. It’s one of the larger species on this list, often growing 15 inches or more. It has a large head and powerful jaws. When threatened, it can run up to 18 MPH on its hind legs.

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Poison Lizards in Kansas

Luckily, there are no poisonous lizards in Kansas, so you need not fear if you encounter one on your walks or in your garden.

Small Lizards in Kansas

The smallest lizard on our list is also an invasive one. The Italian Wall lizard rarely grows to more than 3.5 inches long.

Big Lizards in Kansas

Most of the reptiles on our list are medium-sized, but the Great Plains Skink, Broad Headed Skink, and Common Collared Lizard are likely the largest species you will find in Kansas.

Invasive Lizards in Kansas

The Italian Wall Lizard is the only invasive species on our list. It’s native to Spain, but there are several feral colonies in the United States, including Kansas.

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Conclusion

As you can see, there are several species of lizard you can find in Kansas. None of them are poisonous, so you can explore the environment without worry, and most of the species are extremely interesting and fun to watch. There are even a few that you can keep as a pet, including the Texas Horned Lizard. However, we recommend purchasing a captive bred reptile from a reputable breeder, so you don’t interfere with the environment.

We hope you have enjoyed reading over our list and found a few species you didn’t know were there. If we have helped you become more informed, please share this guide to the 13 lizards found in Kansas on Facebook and Twitter.


Featured Image Credit: Matt Jeppson, Shutterstock

Ed Malaker

Ed Malaker is a veteran writer who has contributed to a wide range of blogs that cover tools, pets, guitars, fitness, and computer programming. When he’s not writing, Ed is usually performing DIY projects around the house or working in the garden. He’s also a musician and spends a lot of time helping people fix their guitars and composing music for independent films.