Most Common Lizards in Pennsylvania

As someone who has spent countless hours studying and observing the diverse lizard species in Pennsylvania, I have developed a deep appreciation for these fascinating reptiles. Among the most commonly sighted lizards in the state is the Eastern Fence Lizard, a species that never fails to capture my attention with its unique behaviors and intricate patterns.

Through my experience, I have come to believe that these lizards play a vital role in maintaining the balance of the ecosystem. Exploring the world of lizards in Pennsylvania has been a rewarding journey, filled with new discoveries and a greater understanding of these remarkable creatures.

Key Takeaways

  • Eastern Fence Lizards have varied colors, keeled scales, and distinctive blue bellies.
  • Northern Coal Skinks prefer moist habitats, with brown bodies and unique tail features.
  • Common Five-Lined Skinks grow up to 8.75 inches, displaying vibrant colors and distinct stripes.
  • Broad-Headed Skinks stand out with their large size, triangular heads, and five light stripes.

Eastern Fence Lizard

Eastern Fence Lizards in Pennsylvania exhibit a wide range of colors, from gray to brown, with a distinctive whitish to greenish blue belly. These spiny lizards are easily recognizable by the keeled and rough scales on their backs.

Females display dark, wavy crossbars on their back, while males boast a unique blue throat patch. Typically found in open forests in southern Pennsylvania, Eastern Fence Lizards are skilled climbers and are often seen basking on tree trunks or fence posts.

During the breeding season, males may develop reddish blotches on their heads as a part of their courtship display. Their coloration and markings serve as effective camouflage in their woodland habitat, aiding in both thermoregulation and predator avoidance.

Northern Coal Skink

The Northern Coal Skink, a distinctive lizard species found in Pennsylvania, showcases a brown body with light stripes enclosing dark bands that extend onto its tail. This skink species, scientifically known as Plestiodon anthracinus, exhibits unique characteristics that set it apart from other local skinks:

  • Lack of light lines on the head makes it easily distinguishable.
  • Breeding males may display a reddish head, adding to their distinct appearance.
  • Young Northern Coal Skinks can have a striking blue tail, a feature particularly noticeable in juveniles.
  • Preferring moist habitats on hillsides near streams, this skink demonstrates a specific ecological niche.
  • Contributing significantly to Pennsylvania’s reptilian diversity, the Northern Coal Skink is a notable lizard species in the state.

Common Five-Lined Skink

Plestiodon fasciatus, the Common Five-Lined Skink in Pennsylvania, exhibits distinctive features that make it a notable lizard species in the region. These skink species can grow up to 8.75 inches long, with juveniles displaying five distinct stripes that gradually fade as they mature.

During the breeding season, male Common Five-Lined Skinks showcase vibrant orange-red coloring on their jaws. Their diet primarily consists of insects such as spiders, beetles, and crickets. You can commonly find Common Five-Lined Skinks in wooded areas near stumps and rock outcrops throughout Pennsylvania.

Keep an eye out for these fascinating creatures as they navigate their natural habitats with agility and grace.

Broad-Headed Skink

Observing the Broad-Headed Skink in Pennsylvania reveals a lizard species known for its impressive size and distinctive physical characteristics. These reptiles can grow up to 12.75 inches in length, making them one of the larger lizards in the state.

Here are some key features of the Broad-Headed Skink:

  • Triangular-shaped heads distinguish them from other lizard species.
  • Their bodies exhibit an olive-brown coloration, blending well with the forest environment.
  • Male skinks have swollen cheeks and may showcase orange-red heads during the breeding season.
  • Five light stripes adorn their bodies, although these markings may diminish as they mature.
  • Female skinks, especially hatchlings and young individuals, often retain prominent stripes, adding to their unique appearance.

Mediterranean House Gecko

Transitioning from the impressive Broad-Headed Skink, the Mediterranean House Gecko, a relatively small lizard measuring between 1.5 to 2.5 inches in length, introduces a new fascinating species to observe in Pennsylvania. This gecko, not native to the region, was introduced through imported plants and is commonly found in urban areas. The Mediterranean House Gecko displays two color phases for camouflage, aiding in blending into its surroundings effectively. Nocturnal by nature, it primarily emerges during the night to feed on insects. Interestingly, this gecko emits clicking and squeaking noises as part of its behavior, adding to its mystique. Below is a table highlighting key characteristics of the Mediterranean House Gecko:

Size1.5 to 2.5 inches
Color PhasesTwo for effective camouflage
OriginNon-native, introduced via imported plants
HabitatCommonly found in urban areas
BehaviorNocturnal, emits clicking and squeaking noises

Pennsylvania Lizard Species Distribution

Pennsylvania hosts a diverse array of lizard species, each uniquely adapted to specific habitats within the state.

  • The Northern Coal Skink prefers moist habitats on hillsides.
  • The Common Five-Lined Skink is commonly found in wooded areas near stumps and rock outcrops.
  • The Broad-Headed Skink inhabits swamp forests and woodlands.
  • The Eastern Fence Lizard can be found in southern Pennsylvania.
  • The Mediterranean House Gecko, though not native, is commonly found in urban areas due to introduction through imported plants.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Tiny Black Lizards in Pa?

When you see tiny black lizards in PA, you’re likely observing the Common Five-Lined Skinks. These creatures can grow up to 8.75 inches, showcasing five light stripes on their bodies that may fade with age.

What Kind of Skinks Live in Pennsylvania?

Skinks in Pennsylvania include the Eastern Fence Lizard, Northern Coal Skink, Common Five-Lined Skink, and Broad-Headed Skink. Their distinct colorations and behaviors are fascinating to observe in various habitats. Appreciate their diversity for conservation.

Do Geckos Live in Pennsylvania?

Yes, geckos do live in Pennsylvania. They are not native but have been introduced, particularly the Mediterranean House Gecko. These small lizards are commonly found in urban areas, known for their nocturnal habits, insectivorous diet, and distinctive sounds.

What Is the Most Common Lizard?

When considering the most common lizard, it’s essential to understand habitat preferences, behavior, and physical characteristics to accurately identify the species. Observation and research play key roles in determining these details.


You have now explored the most common lizard species found in Pennsylvania, each with unique characteristics and habitat preferences.

From the Eastern Fence Lizard basking in open forests to the Mediterranean House Gecko thriving in urban areas, these reptiles play important roles in their ecosystems.

By understanding and appreciating the diversity of lizard species in Pennsylvania, we can work towards conserving their habitats and ensuring their continued presence in the state’s natural landscape.