Difference Between Gecko And Lizard (With Pictures)



Lizards are a group of reptiles that belong to the order Squamata, which also includes snakes. With over 6,000 species distributed across various ecosystems worldwide, lizards exhibit diversity in terms of size, appearance, behavior, and habitat preferences.

Lizards are scaly-skinned reptiles that are usually distinguished from snakes by the possession of legs, movable eyelids, and external ear openings. However, some traditional (that is, non-snake) lizards lack one or more of these features. 

One common feature of lizards is their elongated bodies and limbs, with some exceptions like legless lizards. They have scaly skin, and their scales can vary in texture from smooth to keeled (ridged) to spiky, depending on the species.

Lizards are of different sizes, from the tiny dwarf gecko, measuring just a few centimeters, to the massive Komodo dragon, which can exceed 10 feet in length. They are adaptable and inhabit every continent on Earth, including deserts, urban areas, rainforests, grasslands, underground warrens and elevated vegetation.

Many lizards are active during the day, while others are nocturnal, preferring the cover of darkness for their activities. Diurnal lizards usually have well-developed vision, while nocturnal ones rely on other senses, such as smell and touch, to navigate their environment.

Some lizards have ability to change color. Chameleons, for example, are known for their dramatic color transformations, which they use for camouflage, communication, and thermal regulation. Some move slowly and rely on cryptic coloration for protection, whereas others can run swiftly across desert sands.

While many lizards are insectivorous, feasting on a number of insects and arthropods, some are herbivores, munching on plants and leaves. Others are omnivorous, consuming both plant matter and small prey like insects and small vertebrates. The diet of a lizard species often depends on its size, habitat and ecological niche.

Reproduction in lizards varies widely. Some lay eggs, which are deposited in burrows or hidden locations, while others give birth to live young. Viviparity, the ability to bear live offspring, is particularly common among certain lizard groups, such as skinks and some geckos.

Lizards play crucial roles in ecosystems. They are essential components of food webs, both as predators and prey. Lizards help control insect populations by feeding on pests like mosquitoes and crop-damaging insects. Additionally, they serve as food for various predators, including birds, snakes, and mammals.

In some cultures, lizards hold symbolic significance or are even considered sacred animals. For example, in some Native American traditions, the horned lizard is a symbol of protection and strength.

Lizards have also found their way into the pet trade, with numerous species being kept as exotic pets. They are also valued as subjects for biological research. Their varied modes of reproduction and their ability to regulate body temperatures are two of many areas studied by comparative physiologists. The great abundance and observability of numerous species make them ideal subjects for ecologists and ethologists. 


Geckos are small, mostly carnivorous lizards that have a wide distribution, found on every continent except Antarctica. Belonging to the family Gekkonidae, geckos are found in warm climates throughout the world. 

They also possess a short stout body, a large head, and typically well-developed limbs. The ends of each limb are often equipped with digits possessing adhesive pads. Some species are incredibly small, measuring only a few centimeters in length, while the largest geckos can reach lengths of up to 14 inches (35 cm) long, including tail length (about half the total). They have adapted to habitats from deserts to jungles. Some species frequent human habitations, and most feed on insects.

Behaviorally, geckos are most active during the cover of night. Their large eyes, equipped with vertically-slit pupils, are specialized for low-light conditions, aiding in their nighttime hunting endeavors. Moreover, geckos are known for their vocalizations, producing a range of sounds such as chirping, clicking, or barking. These vocalizations are integral to communication, particularly during mating rituals and territorial disputes.

Geckos primarily subsist on a diet of small invertebrates, including insects, spiders, and worms. Some larger species may also prey upon small vertebrates like other lizards or even small mammals. They are ectothermic, relying on external sources of heat to regulate their body temperature. During the day, they often bask in the sun to raise their body temperature, becoming more active as a result.

Most species reproduce sexually, with males engaging in courtship behavior to attract females. They lay eggs, which are often concealed in hidden locations for protection. The incubation period for gecko eggs varies among species. Interestingly, some gecko species, such as the New Caledonian gecko, are viviparous, giving birth to live young rather than laying eggs.

Geckos hold a prominent place in the pet trade, with various species being popular choices among reptile enthusiasts. With their unique adaptations, striking appearances and intriguing behaviors, geckos offer a fascinating glimpse into the world of reptiles.

Geckos are spread across six families: Carphodactylidae, Diplodactylidae, Eublepharidae, Gekkonidae, Phyllodactylidae, and Sphaerodactylidae. Of these, the eublepharids—a group that includes the banded geckos (Coleonyx) of the southwestern United States, the cat geckos (Aleuroscalabotes) of Indonesia and the Malay Peninsula, and others—have movable eyelids.

Gecko And Lizard: Key Differences

Taxonomic ClassificationGeckos belong to the family GekkonidaeLizards belong to various families like Gekkonidae, Iguanidae, Agamidae, etc.
SizeGeckos are generally smaller, often 2-6 inches longLizards can vary widely in size, from a few inches to several feet
FeetGeckos have specialized adhesive toe pads for climbingLizards have regular, non-adhesive toes
ScalesGeckos have small, granular scales that are often smoothLizards have a variety of scale types, including smooth, keeled, or spiny scales
Nocturnal/DiurnalMany gecko species are nocturnal (active at night)Lizards can be both diurnal (active during the day) and nocturnal
Tail AutotomySome gecko species can voluntarily shed their tailsLizards can also shed their tails, but it’s less common
VocalizationGeckos are known for their distinctive chirping or clicking soundsLizards typically do not produce vocalizations
HabitatGeckos are often found in warm, tropical regionsLizards inhabit diverse habitats, from deserts to forests to grasslands
ColorationGeckos often have vibrant and diverse colorationLizard coloration varies, with some species being cryptic and others brightly colored
EyesGeckos usually have large, bulging eyes with vertical pupilsLizards can have a variety of eye shapes, including round pupils
TeethGeckos have small, needle-like teeth adapted for insectivorous dietsLizards have various tooth shapes adapted to their diet, including herbivorous and carnivorous
ReproductionMany gecko species lay eggs, while some give birth to live youngLizards can reproduce through both egg-laying and live birth depending on the species

Facts About Geckos

  • Some gecko species can live for a surprisingly long time, with some individuals reaching 10 to 20 years or even more in captivity.
  • Many gecko species have remarkable adhesive pads on their feet that allow them to climb walls and ceilings with ease, even in smooth surfaces like glass.
  • Not all geckos have sticky toe pads. Some species, like the New Caledonian giant gecko do not possess the adhesive properties that other geckos are known for.
  • There are over 1,500 different species of geckos found worldwide, and they come in various sizes, shapes, and colors. The largest geckos can reach up to 14 inches (35 cm) in length.
  • Geckos have the ability to voluntarily shed their tails as a defense mechanism. The detached tail continues to wriggle, distracting predators while the gecko escapes. Over time, the tail regenerates.
  • Some gecko species are known for their vocalizations. They can make various sounds, including clicks and chirps, to communicate with other geckos or defend their territory.
  • Most geckos lack eyelids and instead have a transparent scale covering their eyes. They clean their eyes by licking them with their long, sticky tongues.

Facts About Geckos

  • Lizards belong to the reptile class and are incredibly diverse, with over 6,000 known species found on every continent except Antarctica.
  • Lizards come in various sizes. Some, like the tiny gecko, can be as small as a few centimeters, while the Komodo dragon, the largest lizard, can grow up to 3 meters (10 feet) in length.
  • Some lizards, such as the green anole, can regenerate lost tails. If a predator grabs their tail, they can shed it and grow a new one.
  • The collared lizard is known for its incredible speed. It can run at speeds of up to 16 mph (25.7 km/h), which helps it evade predators.
  • Not all lizards are venomous, but some, like the Gila monster and the Mexican beaded lizard, produce venom. Their venom is primarily used for defense rather than hunting.
  • Some lizard species can live for a surprisingly long time. For example, the tuatara, which is often mistaken for a lizard, can live for more than 100 years.
  • Most lizards are oviparous, meaning they lay eggs. However, some species, like the viviparous lizard, give birth to live young.