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 can’t handle Ohio’s cold winters.

So, what kinds can you expect to find in the woods or in your backyard? Let’s explore each of these lizards found in Ohio to learn all the details and help you identify them.

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The 5 Lizard Species Found in Ohio

1. Eastern Fence Lizard

eastern fence lizard
Image Credit: JamesDeMers, Pixabay
Scientific nameSceloporus undulatus
Length7 inches

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 namePodorcis muralis
Length8 inches

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 ease.

3. Broadhead Skink

male and female broadhead skink
Image Credit: Dwayne Towles, Shutterstock
Scientific namePlestriodan laticeps
Length12 inches

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

Common Five-lined Skink
Image Credit: Fotoz-by-David-G, Shutterstock
Scientific namePlestiodon fasciatus
Length8 inches

You can find the common five-lined skink in most counties of Ohio. These lizards are easily recognizable due to their bluish-black body coloration with yellow stripes that run the length of the lizard. 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

little brown skink
Image Credit: Trevor Howard Jones, Shutterstock
Scientific nameScincella lateralis
Length5 inches

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

Final Thoughts

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 by Dwayne Towles, Shutterstock