Lizard vs Reptile: Difference and Comparison

We confuse lizards and reptiles as the same and prefer to call them a class. It is shown that the two of them have some basic differences, such as the term reptiles is used to define a class of animals, whereas lizards account for only a few per cent. 

Key Takeaways

  1. All lizards are reptiles, but not all reptiles are lizards.
  2. Lizards possess movable eyelids and external ear openings, features absent in other reptiles like snakes and turtles.
  3. Lizards have legs for locomotion, while some reptiles, like snakes, lack limbs altogether.

Lizards vs Reptiles 

Lizards are a class of scaled reptiles found around the world except in cold regions such as Antarctica. They vary in size ranging from 2 cm to 3 metres long. Lizards have over 6,000 species, which have existed for over 260 million years. Reptiles are a class of reptiles found all over the world. They have existed for over 312 million years and vary in size from 1 cm to 4 metres. Reptiles have over 8000 species.

Lizards vs Reptiles

Lizards have more than 6000 species which are found in most of the continents which excludes Antarctica. They vary in size and can range from chameleon to a 3-foot-long lizard.

They are Squamate reptiles and exclude snakes, Amphisbaenia and fall under the group paraphyletic and have many antipredator adaptations like venom, camouflage, etc. 

Reptile is the word that refers to all the animals under the class Reptilia, and it comprises all amniotes excluding mammals and their relatives.

The reptiles have existed for more than 312 million years and are said to have originated in the Carboniferous period and include animals like crocodiles, turtles, amphisbaenians, etc.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonLizardsReptiles
Class of animalsSquamata is the classification of lizards which falls under the class Eureptilia.Reptilia is the class of all the animals following under it
Size of the speciesThey may have sizes ranging from two cm to three metres.  They may have sizes varying from one cm and can be as large as seven metres.  
Number of speciesIt has around four thousand species under it.Although lizards are the biggest class under it, reptiles have more than eight thousand species
Time of originThey are said to have originated in the late Permian period and are said to be 260 million years old. They are said to date back for more than 310 million years and have originated in the Carboniferous period.
AbilitiesThe most common ability in a lizard is autotomy or the ability to grow body parts which are cut off.They are most famous for antipredator adaptations which include features like camouflaging, venom attack, growing size, etc. 
ExamplesChameleons, monitors, skinks, iguanas, Gila monsters, geckos, etc.Turtles, crocodiles, gharials, lizards, snakes, tuatara, amphisbaenians, etc. 

What is Lizard?

Lizards fall under Squamate reptiles along with the snakes and can be found everywhere except Antarctica due to the weather conditions.

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They are different from snakes because of the presence of limbs and outside ears. They are quadrupedal means they run on their legs, but they have a class that is legless.

They are said to have territories and can fight for them. Mostly the males are said to change their colours to attract their mates and also threaten the enemies to secure their space as well as their mates. 

Lizards like Komodo are said to even eat species as big as water buffaloes, but others feed on small insects. They are also said to have to sit and wait for the prey, which means that they carefully observe their prey for a while and then attack suddenly. 

They are said to have various techniques for being safe in which camouflaging and venom attacks are highlighted, especially for the lizards.

They can be as small as 2cm and can be as large as 3m and are considered a good omen when seen at some of the festivals, especially in India. One of the species of lizard are Chameleon Draco. Komodo, Skinks and Iguanas.


What is Reptile?

Reptiles are cold-blooded animals and have a large number of classifications under them. They fall in between the Amphibian and Birds group and consist of more than 8,000 species that are spread all over the world. 

According to the Linnaean classification, they were treated differently from the birds, but the class crocodilians have shown a variety of common features with the birds rather than reptiles and therefore, according to the new and modern cladistic classification, both of them are placed in the same class and named it as Clade.

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They have a variety of approaches for being safe from predators, and all of the sub-classes have different techniques.

The snakes rise and open their head to scare off the invader, and if this doesn’t work, they go for a venomous attack which is used mostly by cobras, anacondas, etc. For the crocodiles, they tend to enlarge their body.

The common species under this class are lizards, crocodiles, gharials, turtles, etc. They lay eggs, and the mammals and ancestors are not included under them. 


Main Differences Between Lizards and Reptiles

  1. The lizards are of the class Squamata, which is a small class under the classification of reptilia, whereas reptiles are used to refer to all the animals that are under the class of reptilia.
  2. Lizards have different sizes, and they can be anywhere between two cm to three metres. In comparison to this, reptiles have a larger range of sizes, which varies from one cm to 7 metres.
  3. Lizards are said to be found and originated in the Permian period, which was about 260 million years ago, whereas reptiles first originated in the Carboniferous period, which was about 310 million years ago. 
  4. Lizards are said to have the ability of autonomy, which means they can rebuild their organs after it is cut off, whereas reptiles have a few common features which help them against a predator, including venom attacks, camouflaging, etc.
  5. Lizards make up 59% of the class of reptilia and have more than 4000 species, whereas the class itself has more than 8000 species. 
Difference Between Lizard and Reptile

Last Updated : 23 August, 2023

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20 thoughts on “Lizard vs Reptile: Difference and Comparison”

  1. This article provides a comprehensive comparison between lizards and reptiles, highlighting their differences and similarities. It’s intriguing to learn about the evolution and classification of these fascinating creatures. Well-written and informative!

  2. The article adeptly elucidates the distinctions between lizards and reptiles, providing a scholarly yet accessible resource for those interested in herpetology. The evolutionary background is particularly enriching.

    • I echo the sentiment. The article’s in-depth exploration of evolutionary origins is a testament to its scientific rigor and comprehensiveness.

    • I couldn’t agree more, Murray Sebastian. The historical perspective adds a captivating layer to the discussion, making it more intellectually stimulating.

  3. The article provides a well-rounded comparison of lizards and reptiles, encapsulating their evolutionary history and biological differences. It’s an engaging and insightful read for enthusiasts of herpetology.

    • I couldn’t agree more, Leanne47. The depth of information and clarity in presentation make this article a standout in its domain.

    • The article’s exploration of the differences in abilities and species diversity is particularly illuminating. Kudos to the writer for the thorough coverage.

  4. The article admirably dissects the distinctions between lizards and reptiles, offering an educative survey of their biological and behavioral attributes. The inclusion of examples adds an enriching layer to the discussion.

    • I appreciate the article’s incorporation of specific examples to illustrate key points. It adds a vivid dimension to the otherwise technical comparison.

    • The detailed analysis of behavioral differences in lizards and reptiles is a commendable aspect of this article. It deepens the reader’s understanding of these creatures.

  5. The article effectively highlights the finer distinctions between lizards and reptiles. It’s refreshing to see such nuanced discussions on this topic. The comparison table is especially helpful for clarifying differences.

    • I found the comparison table to be particularly enlightening. It neatly summarizes the key differences between lizards and reptiles, making it easy to understand and remember.

  6. The article effectively demarcates the key differences between lizards and reptiles, providing a nuanced understanding of their taxonomic classifications and distinguishing features. It’s an intellectually stimulating read.

    • I concur, Chelsea02. The article’s treatment of the topic is scholarly yet lucid, catering to both academic and lay audiences with equal finesse.

  7. While the article provides interesting insights, I find the emphasis on size and origin somewhat repetitive. It could benefit from a more diversified focus on other unique characteristics of lizards and reptiles.

    • I agree with Umorgan. Exploring lesser-known aspects of these creatures would add greater value to the article. Nonetheless, the scientific content is commendable.

    • I see your point, Umorgan. Perhaps delving into behavioral and ecological differences would enhance the article’s depth and appeal.

  8. This article provides a comprehensive comparison between lizards and reptiles, highlighting their differences and similarities. It’s intriguing to learn about the evolution and classification of these fascinating creatures. Well-written and informative!

    • I completely agree. The level of detail in this article is impressive. It’s clear that the writer has a deep understanding of the topic and has done thorough research.

    • I agree, this article presents a wealth of information in a clear and concise manner. It’s a great resource for anyone interested in herpetology.


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