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5 Lizard Species Found in Ohio (With Pictures)

Ashley Bates

It may come as a shock, but Ohio isn’t plentiful in lizards. The state only has five species to speak of—coming up short-handed when these subjects arise. But that is because most lizards require warmer temperatures, and many couldn’t handle Ohio’s cold winters.

So, why did we release foreign lizards into the state, and what kinds can you expect in the woods? Let’s explore each of these lizards to learn all the details.

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1. Eastern Fence Lizard

eastern fence lizard
Image Credit: JamesDeMers, Pixabay
Scientific name sceloporus undulatus
Length 7 inches
Status Common

Living in the southern portions of Ohio, the eastern fence lizard is prevalent. They can dwell in a variety of habitats, but they enjoy rocky and dry areas most.

These spiny lizards have rough scales and dull color. You can tell males and females apart upon inspection, unlike some other reptiles. Males have a blue band across their throat and sides of the belly.

2. Common Wall Lizard

common wall lizard
Image Credit: Pixabay
Scientific name podorcis muralis
Length 8 inches
Status Invasive alien

The common wall lizard, or European wall lizard, isn’t a native species to Ohio. Specialists introduced this species to the state in 1951—and it has thrived ever since. You can still find it sparsely scattered through the wild.

When it comes to what they call home, you can find these lizards on rocky terrain of all kinds. They can even endure frigid Ohio winters with finesse.

3. Broadhead Skink

Scientific name Plestriodan laticeps
Length 12 inches
Status Uncommon

The broad-headed skink is a metallic bronze lizard that inhabits the lower half of Ohio. Interestingly, these crafty lizards can thrive in branches of trees—deeming them the most arboreal skink species.

These guys do get quite large, reaching up to a foot in some cases. However, they tend to stay tucked out of sight, so you may never witness one in the wild.

4. Common Five-lined Skink

Scientific name plestiodon fasciatus
Length 8 inches
Status Common

You can find the common five-lined skink in most counties of Ohio. These lizards have a unique defense mechanism when they are scared or frightened—they can snap off (and regrow) their tails. They can

These skinks live in soft, moist areas, like under rotten logs and stumps. They might also seek refuge in barns or other manufactured structures.

5. Little Brown Skink

Scientific name scincella lateralis
Length 5 inches
Status Uncommon

The shiny little brown skink is a tiny reptile that you might not run into in your lifetime. These guys are super rare, and they only encompass three southern Ohio counties total.

If you’re in the woods, you can search for these critters by picking up fallen logs and large rocks. They like to stay in moist, dark out-of-sight locations. One remarkable fact about these lizards is that they can still see with their eyes gecko divider


These five lizard species differ in so many ways—it’s exciting to explore the different lizards that exist. While Ohio doesn’t have many lizards to speak of, these guys are still fun to learn about.

If you’ve found one in your flowerbed, hopefully, we’ve helped you identify it appropriately. After all, it’s pretty simple to narrow it down so you can learn more about the creature you stumbled upon.

Featured Image Credit: Dwayne Towles, Shutterstock

Ashley Bates

Ashley Bates is a freelance dog writer and pet enthusiast who is currently studying the art of animal therapy. A mother to four human children— and 23 furry and feathery kids, too – Ashley volunteers at local shelters, advocates for animal well-being, and rescues every creature she finds. Her mission is to create awareness, education, and entertainment about pets to prevent homelessness. Her specialties are cats and dogs.