Geckos vs Chameleons: Difference and Comparison

There are a variety of species of lizards found globally. You can even spot some specific kind of lizard at your house. They are trendy as they scare small kids.

However, here we will discuss two specific species of lizards: geckos and chameleons. Although they both are lizards, they also possess distinctive differences between them as well. Both geckos and chameleons are found in a warm climate in abundance.

Key Takeaways

  1. Geckos have slim and elongated bodies with pointed snouts, while chameleons have more rounded bodies and distinctive curled tails.
  2. Geckos have large and visible eyes, while chameleons have independently rotating eyes that can look in different directions.
  3. Geckos do not change color, while chameleons can change color for camouflage and communication.

Geckos vs Chameleons

Geckos are basically from the Gekkonidae family. In contrast, chameleons are basically from the Chamaeleonidae family. Geckos are small-sized lizards, but chameleons are big-sized lizards. The average size of the geckos ranges from 3-5 inches. In contrast, the average size of the chameleons ranges up to 27 inches. The lifespan of the geckos is 10- 20 years. In comparison, the lifespan of the chameleons is 3-10 years.

Geckos vs Chameleons
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Geckos are very colourful and can be found in various colours like black, pink, purple and blue. They do not possess any ability to change their body colour. Geckos make chirping sounds and are very popular for their extraordinary vocalizations.

Geckos are of 80 genera and three subfamilies. Around 600 species of geckos can be noticed or observed. Geckos dwell in trees. However, some make their homes with human settlements as well.

Chameleons are not as colourful as Geckos. Chameleons possess a unique ability to change their body colour according to different situations. Chameleons cannot have extraordinary vocalizations.

Chameleons are found only in 2 genera. Around 50 species of chameleons are seen. Chameleons live in tropical forests and jungles, and they are arboreal.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonGeckosChameleons
FamilyGeckos are basically from the Gekkonidae family.Chameleons are basically from the Chamaeleonidae family.
Species Count600 species50 species
Genera and Subfamily80 genera and 3 subfamilies.Found in 2 genera.
AppearanceColourful (Black, pink, purple, blue)They are not as bright as Geckos.
AbilitiesThey do not possess any power to change their body colour.Possess a unique ability to change their body colour according to different situations.
VocalizationGeckos make chirping sounds and are very popular for their extraordinary vocalizations.Chameleons lack this ability.
SizeSmall-sized lizardsBig sized lizards
Average sizeThe average size of the geckos ranges from 3-5 inches.The average size of the chameleons ranges up to 27 inches.
Life SpanThe lifespan of the geckos is 10- 20 years. The lifespan of the chameleons is 3-10 years.

What are Geckos?

The term “Gecko” has its origin in Malay Gekoq. The base word shows an expression of imitation of a gecko cry. The eyelids of the geckos are fused. Around 75% of the geckos’ species stay awake at night and have narrow and vertical pupils.

However, some geckos possess round pupils as well. They have broad, short necks, flattened bodies and flatheads.

The feet of the geckos are like toes, and they have tiny and hooked bristles. Geckos specialized feet help them in climbing high ceilings and walls.

They eat insects and live on trees. However, some geckos are also viviparous. Geckos are too colourful and are found in purple, blue, pink, and black. These are the most attractive and colourful lizards.

Geckos make chirping sounds, and they are the only family of geckos that are known for vocalization. These are medium-sized lizards; however, they are sometimes tiny in size too. Throughout the globe, 1,500 variety of species is found. Most of them, specifically the tokay geckos, are in Southeast Asia.

gecko

What are Chameleons?

The term “Chameleon” originates from the ancient Greek word Khamaileon. Chameleon can be further divided as Khama, which means on the ground and Leon, which refers to the lion.

Chameleons are found in warm climatic conditions. They are categorized as having large heads, sticky tongues and tight bodies.

They can be seen with fused feet. Chameleons move with the help of a prehensile tail from one branch of the tree to another. The eyes of the chameleons move almost in all directions—their eyes in a conical shape.

Have mobile eyes which are distinctively stereoscopic.

They have zygodactylous feet, which are parrot-like. Chameleons have pressed-out tongues that are highly modified, long, prehensile tails, and they possess crests on their head.

Chameleons have a unique capability to change their body colour according to various situations.

chameleons

Main Differences Between Between Geckos and Chameleons

  1. Geckos are very colourful and can be found in various colours like black, pink, purple and blue. In contrast, chameleons are not as bright as Geckos.
  2. Geckos do not possess any ability to change their body colour. Whereas, Chameleons have a unique ability to change their body colour according to different situations.
  3. Geckos make chirping sounds and are very popular for their extraordinary vocalizations, whereas Chameleons lack this ability.
  4. Geckos are of 80 genera and 3 subfamilies. Whereas, Chameleons are found only in 2 genera.
  5. Around 600 species of geckos can be noticed or observed. At the same time, about 50 species of chameleons are seen.
  6. Geckos are basically from the Gekkonidae family. In contrast, chameleons are basically from the Chamaeleonidae family.
  7. Geckos are small-sized lizards. In comparison, chameleons are big-sized lizards.
  8. The average size of the geckos ranges from 3-5 inches. At the same time, the average size of the chameleons ranges up to 27 inches.
  9. The lifespan of the geckos is 10- 20 years. However, the lifespan of the chameleon is 3-10 years.
Difference Between Geckos and Chameleons
References
  1. http://www.mvences.de/p/p1/Vences_A113.pdf
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378111901006436

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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