Difference Between Geckos and Chameleons (With Table)

There are a variety of species of lizards are found globally. You can even spot some specific kind of lizard at your house as well. They are very popular as they scare the small kids. However, here we will discuss two specific species of lizards, which are geckos and chameleons. Although they both are lizards, they also possess distinctive differences between them as well. Both geckos and chameleons are generally found in a warm climate in abundance.

Geckos vs Chameleons

The difference between geckos and chameleons is that 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 contrast, the lifespan of the chameleons is 3-10 years.

Geckos can be found in various colours like black, pink, purple and blue and are very colourful. 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 3 subfamilies. Around 600 species of geckos can be noticed or observed. Geckos generally 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 lack the ability of extraordinary vocalizations. Chameleons are found only in 2 genera. Around 50 species of chameleons are seen. Chameleons generally live inside the tropical forests and jungles, and they arboreal.

Comparison Table Between Geckos and Chameleons

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)Not as colourful as Geckos.
AbilitiesThey do not possess any ability 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 from Malay Gekoq. The base word shows an expression of imitation of geckos 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 possess wide, short necks, flattened bodies and flatheads.

The feet of the geckos are like toes, and they have bristles that are tiny and hooked. 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, black colours. 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, sometimes small in size too. Throughout the globe, 1,500 variety of species are found. Most of them, specifically the tokay geckos, are found in Southeast Asia.

What are Chameleons?

The term “Chameleon” has its origin 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 generally found in warm climatic conditions. They are categorized as large heads, sticky tongues and compressed bodies.

They can be seen with fused feet. Chameleons generally 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 conical in shape. Chameleons have mobile eyes which are distinctively stereoscopic.

They have zygodactylous feet, which are parrot-like. Chameleons have pressed out tongues which are highly modified, long, prehensile tail, and on their head they possess crests. Chameleons have a unique capability to change their body colour according to various situation.

Main Differences Between Between Geckos and Chameleons

  1. Geckos can be found in a variety of colours like black, pink, purple and blue and are very colourful. Whereas chameleons are not as colourful as Geckos.
  2. Geckos do not possess any ability to change their body colour. Whereas, Chameleons possess 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. Whereas around 50 species of chameleons are seen.
  6. Geckos are basically from the Gekkonidae family. Whereas chameleons are basically from the Chamaeleonidae family.
  7. Geckos are small-sized lizards. Whereas chameleons are big sized lizards.
  8. The average size of the geckos ranges from 3-5 inches. Whereas 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 chameleons is 3-10 years.

Conclusion

Many people get confused between different Species of lizards, and specifically between geckos and chameleons. However, they are be simply differentiated from each other by their looks and appearance. Geckos are the most colourful lizards in comparison to the Chameleons.

Chameleons cannot chirp like geckos. The average size of the geckos ranges from 3-5 inches. And the average size of the chameleons ranges up to 27 inches. Thus, when next time you spot a lizard, don’t get confused whether it’s a gecko or a Chameleon.

References

  1. http://www.mvences.de/p/p1/Vences_A113.pdf
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378111901006436
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