Lizards appeared on Earth about 200 million years ago, and there are about 5,000 species of lizards on Earth today. Most lizards have long bodies and tails, small heads, short necks, and movable eyelids. Like many other reptiles, lizards are suffering from the dual effects of habitat destruction, climate change, predation and the illegal pet trade. From bright blue tree-shaped monitors to expertly camouflaged dragon lizards, there are many rare and fascinating types of lizards waiting to be discovered.
1: Gargoyle gecko
Gargoyle geckos are polymorphic, which means that no two gargoyle geckos look exactly the same. What they all have in common, however, is that they are both fairly small, have round toe pads, and are excellent climbers. Gargoyle geckos, which originate from southern New Caledonia in eastern Australia, are endangered.
2: Guatemalan beaded lizard
The Guatemalan beaded lizard lives in only one place: a desert in eastern Guatemala. Discovered in the 1980s, it is closely related to the famous Gila monster. The scales of beaded lizards contain tiny bones that look like beads or studs, and they use venom to protect themselves and anesthetize their prey. These lizards are considered critically endangered, with only about 200 left in the wild.
3: Fijian crested iguana
The Fijian crowned iguana was discovered during the filming of the 1980s film Blue Lagoon. It is an unusually beautiful lizard with bright green skin, white markings and an impressive crown. Due to climate change, this iguana is now critically endangered. Once, it was found on 14 Fijian islands, but now almost all specimens live in a protected sanctuary on yadua-Taba island.
4: Psychedelic rock gecko
About a decade ago, scientists discovered the psychedelic gecko, which became a favorite of the pet industry and illegal wildlife trafficking. Its popularity is not surprising – this unique and beautiful reptile has a yellow back, orange belly and tail, and usually golden feet. Native only to the two small Vietnamese islands of Hon Hai and Hung Thi, it suffers habitat loss and predation in addition to being collected by enthusiasts.
5: Hidden Dragon
The hidden dragon lizard, true to its name, is well camouflaged in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. The fact that this lizard looks like a rock explains why it wasn't discovered until 1979. Today, scientists are still scrambling to learn about the dragon to protect its habitat.
6: Culebra Island monitor lizard
The Culebra monitor lizard was discovered in 1931 on the Caribbean island of Culebra, and more specimens were collected on Vieques, Tortola (British Virgin Islands) and St. John (U.S. Virgin Islands). Like other lizards, it is thought to eat fruits, insects, and other small lizards. But no further sightings have been reported since 1932.
7: Galapagos sea iguana
The Galapago Sea iguana is the only lizard in the world that can swim and hunt in the sea. These strong swimmers use their powerful claws to grasp the rocks so they can feed on algae. There are six subspecies of these fascinating animals, all of which live in the Galapagos Islands. While most are black, some subspecies are red and black or green and red. Due to the introduction of cats and dogs by humans, the Galapagos sea iguana is highly threatened. Another problem is the increasingly powerful El Niño weather system, which periodically disrupts the lizard's food supply.
8: Blue Tree Monitor Lizard
Like many endangered lizards, the blue tree monitor lizard was only recently discovered by scientists, in 2001 on the Indonesian island of Batanta. Their bright blue color makes these lizards very attractive to the illegal pet trade, and their entire habitat is only about 280 miles. Not surprisingly, they are under increasing threat and could become extinct in the wild.
9: Galapagos pink iguana
The Galapagos pink iguana lives only in the Wolf Volcano on isabela Island in the northern Galapagos. It is a very rose-colored pink with dark stripes. The species was only discovered in 1986 and was listed on the critically endangered list in 2012. Although little is known about this elusive species, it is believed that only about 200 remain.
10: Chinese crocodile lizard
The Chinese crocodile lizard is active during the day, but it often seems to fall asleep and sit motionless for hours. This behavior earned it the nickname "sleepy lizard," which some believe can cure insomnia. Although it looks quite ferocious, the Chinese crocodile lizard is not a warrior; They may escape from possible confrontations or slide into the water to swim away. There are only about 1,000 Chinese crocodile lizards left.
11: Rickard Rock Iguana
The Riccod rock iguana is native to hispaniola island and is endangered. In fact, only about 2,500 individuals remain in the dry forests and bushes of the island's south-central region. Development, mining and non-native predators have destroyed much of their habitat. Fortunately, the species is now protected and is making a slow comeback.
12: BellaLanda Chameleon
The BellaLanda Chameleon is probably the rarest chameleon in the world. It lives only in the rural commune of Bellalanda, Madagascar, and is one of five local endangered reptiles. Recently, the local government has taken steps to protect chameleons, banning their collection and sale. Meanwhile, local environmental groups are working to reforest the forest.
13: Dwarf gecko
The dwarf gecko is a gorgeous electric blue lizard (male) or beautiful green (female). Its beauty lies in its decay – it has become so popular in the pet industry that it is extremely endangered. Dwarf geckos inhabit only a very small area of the Kimbosa and Ruf Forest Reserve in Tanzania, which has suffered habitat degradation. Because it is native to protected areas, it is now a protected species.