Reptiles and Amphibians of Thailand

Thailand's Snakes, Lizards, Turtles, and Frogs

Identifying Lizards

Lizards are the most common reptiles in Bangkok, and are a big part of natural pest control. There are house geckos eating flies and mosquitoes in our rooms, Tokays munching on mice and cockroaches on the roofs, skinks and garden lizards hunting down garden pests, and monitors cleaning up carrion. Bangkok would be a dirtier and more diseased place without its lizard populations.

Geckos – soft lizards on the walls

Geckos have soft skin, large eyes, and famously run up and down the city’s walls. Geckos are usually seen at night, but can be found during the day inside darker areas. The following geckos are found in Bangkok:

Flat-tail House Gecko Hemidactylus platyrus
Flat-tailed House Gecko – flat tail with no spines, eyestripe is dark if present
Spiny-tail House Gecko Hemidactylus frenatus
Spiny-tailed House Gecko – spines on round tail, eyestripe is light if it is present
Sri Lankan House Gecko Hemidactylus parvimaculatus adult
Sri Lankan House Gecko – regular dark markings on back, “tubercle” bumps on body and tail
Stump-toed Gecko Gehyra mutilata
Stump-toed Gecko – round tail with no spines, white dots behind eye, soft skin
Siamese Leaf-toed Gecko Dixonius siamensis pattaya thailand
Siamese Leaf-toed Gecko – no spines on round tail, narrow toes, slightly rough skin
Tokay Gecko Gecko gekko
Tokay Gecko – the only large gecko, bumpy skin with red blue and white coloration

Skinks – sleek lizards on the ground

Skinks are the long smooth lizards that are seen on the ground or hiding under objects. The following skinks are found in Bangkok:

Many-lined Sun Skink Eutropis multifasciata mabuya
Common Sun Skink – large and heavy body, tail only slightly longer than body
Long-tailed Sun Skink Eutropis longicaudata mabuya
Long-tailed Sun Skink – large body, black stripe on side, tail much longer than body
Speckled Forest Skink Eutropis macularia mabuya
Speckled Forest Skink – medium body, black stripe with light speckles on side
Bowring's Supple Skink Lygosoma bowringii
Bowring’s Supple Skink – small slender body, white and black speckles on side
Short-limbed Supple Skink Lygosoma quadrupes siamese supple skink lygosoma siamensis
Siamese Supple Skink – Small and very slender body, tiny legs, uniform coloration

Lacertas – slender lizards in the grass

Lacertas are a family of quick, long-tailed lizards with small scales that are usually spotted out in the open during the day. The Bangkok area has one species of lacerta.

Long-tailed Grass Lizard Takydromus sexlineatus
Long-tailed Grass Lizard – long slender body and tail, long limbs, dark stripe on side with light green or cream below

Agamas – spiny lizards in the bushes

Agamas have rough scales and often have a small crest going down their neck. They are active during the day and are often seen on trees or other vegetation. These agamas are found in Bangkok:

Oriental Garden Lizard Calotes versicolor
Oriental Garden Lizard – small crest, long limbs, yellow to tan to brown
Male Indo-Chinese Forest Lizard Calotes mystaces
Indo-Chinese Forest Lizard – small crest, long limbs, grayish with distinct white lip

Monitors – big lizards in the water

Monitors are the giants of the lizard family. You can recognize them immediately by their characteristic heads and large size. There is only one species of monitor found in Bangkok:

Water Monitor Varanus salvator
Asian Water Monitor – long head and neck on very large body, rough skin

31 thoughts on “Identifying Lizards

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