Lizards in Hawaii: A Comprehensive Guide


Unlike many other states that have native populations of lizards, all lizard species in Hawaii are introduced. Over thousands of years, human Lizards in Hawaii actions brought these lizards to the islands from various locations such as the mainland US, South America, Asia, and elsewhere. The introduction of lizards started with the original Polynesian settlers and continued with later colonization by Europeans.

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Common House Gecko

The Common House Gecko is native to Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, including Hawaii. These geckos are nocturnal and can be difficult to spot due to their translucent appearance. When they are not transparent, they appear tan and brown. Common House Geckos feed mainly on insects like fruit flies and can be found in various environments around the Hawaiian Islands, including suburban, urban, and rural areas. They have sticky toe pads that allow them to climb vertical surfaces effortlessly.

Green Anole

Amazing Green Anole Battle In Hawaii Science and Technology
Amazing Green Anole Battle In Hawaii Science and Technology

Green Anoles are not native to Hawaii and were accidentally introduced to the islands when some lizards escaped or were released from captive populations kept as pets. Both males and females of this species are bright green, with males having a red throat flap that they inflate to defend their territory. Their diet consists of insects and spiders, and they can grow up to 8 inches in length. Green Anoles are territorial and often posture when basking in the daytime.

Jackson’s Chameleon

Chameleon Gecko in Zoo
Chameleon Gecko in Zoo

Known for their unique characteristics, Chameleons are fascinating lizards, and the Jackson’s Chameleon is no exception. They have a 360-degree field of vision, the ability to change the color of their skin, and a tongue that is one and a half times the length of their body. Male Jackson’s Chameleons have three rhino-like horns on their nose and forehead, earning them the nickname “Three-horned Chameleons.” Despite their slow-moving nature, they are territorial, and males and females meet only to mate. Jackson’s Chameleons were introduced to Hawaii from Kenya in 1972 and can be found on the main islands: Hawaii, Kauai, Oahu, and Maui.

Brown Anole

The Brown Anoles are not native to Hawaii but have established themselves on the islands for several decades. They first inhabited Cuba and were accidentally introduced to Hawaii through imports of plants containing Brown Anole eggs. These lizards thrive in tropical environments and occasionally pose risks to native wildlife. Brown Anoles have a maximum length of 8.5 inches, and males have a red-orange throat patch used for territorial displays. Unlike Green Anoles, Brown Anoles prefer to live on the ground and bask in the sun. Their diet consists of insects.

Other Lizards in Hawaii
lizards in hawaii Queerton
lizards in hawaii Queerton

In addition to the aforementioned lizard species, there are several other types of lizards found in Hawaii. Some of them include:

  • Northern Pacific Gecko (Hemidactylus garnotii)
  • Tokay Gecko
  • Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis)
  • Mediterranean Gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus)
  • Mourning Gecko (Lepidodactylus lugubris)

These lizards have their own unique characteristics and habitats within the Hawaiian Islands. Exploring the diverse range of lizard species in Hawaii can be an exciting experience for nature enthusiasts.


The Hawaiian Islands are home to a variety of lizard species, each with its own story of introduction and adaptation. From the translucent Common House Gecko to the vibrant Green Anole and the unique Jackson’s Chameleon, these lizards add to the rich biodiversity of Hawaii. Exploring the world of lizards in Hawaii can be an adventure filled with fascinating encounters and a deeper appreciation for the interconnectedness of our ecosystems.

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Are there any native lizards in Hawaii?

No, all lizard species in Hawaii are introduced. The only native reptiles in Hawaii include sea turtles and the yellow-bellied sea snake.

How were Common House Geckos introduced to Hawaii?

It is believed that Common House Geckos found their way to Hawaii through cargo ships in the early 1800s.

What ecological impact do Common House Geckos have on the environment?

Common House Geckos are considered “Supertramps” due to their adaptability and ability to thrive in various habitats. Their impact on the environment is still being studied.

Are Green Anoles found on all the Hawaiian Islands?

Green Anoles are found on Honolulu, Kauai, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and the Big Island of Hawaii.

What are some other types of lizards found in Hawaii?

Other lizards found in Hawaii include the Northern Pacific Gecko, Tokay Gecko, Fence Lizard, Mediterranean Gecko, and Mourning Gecko.

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