paperclip lizard



  • Unlike salamanders, the lizards' body is covered with scales.
  • It is wrong to believe that reptiles are "cold-blooded". The fact is they can't regulate their body temperature, a state called "endothermia". Reptiles require high temperature for their metabolism to be effective. They increase their temperature by going out in the sun, having special postures or laying flat on warm rocks, to name only a few. Reptiles are less active in cold temperatures.
  • They are more diverse and numerous in tropical areas, the five species we have in Canada are confined to the warmest, most southern areas of the country.
  • They are found in various habitats: on and under the ground, in trees. One specie from Asia mastered the art of gliding (Common flying dragon, Draco volans). Many species are found near bodies of soft water, only one is marine, the Marine iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) of the Galapagos Islands.
  • Lizards come in a wide range of sizes: from only a few centimeters up to the impressive 3 meters of the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis). Some are horny, some are smooth. They can be as flat as pancakes like horned lizards (Phrynosoma spp.) or laterally compressed like chameleons (Chamaeleo spp.) There are even legless lizards that can be mistaken for snakes!
  • A lizard's diet will usually depend on its specie. Some are carnivorous, insectivorous, herbivorous, omnivorous...
  • Worldwide, only two species are venomous: the Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum) found in southern United States, and the Beaded lizard (Heloderma horridum) of Mexico.

Canadian species:

  • Short-horned lizard, (Phrynosoma douglassi), found in southern British Columbia and southeast Alberta.
  • Northern alligator lizard, (Gerrhonotus coeruleus), found in southern British Columbia.
  • Five-lined skink, (Eumeces fasciatus), in Ontario, in the area between the lakes Erie, Ontario and Huron.
  • Prairie skink, (Eumeces septentrionalis), in southern Manitoba.
  • Western skink, (Eumeces skiltonianus) in southern British Columbia.

There are no lizards in Quebec! If you saw something in the woods that looked like a lizard, it is most likely a salamander (or an escapee of a terrarium...)