Difference Between Snakes and Lizards (With Table)

Animals can be distinguished from their behaviour, size and shape, colour, and many other things. Names are given to each and every kind of animal so that it is easier to understand and identify the animals just by looking at it because if you see an insect crawling then I don’t think that you will call it an elephant.

Similarly, each and every animal are different from each other, and no doubt they contribute largely to the environment. Contributing in the sense that all animals are included in the food chain and thus if animals vanish from the earth then it would be impossible for humans to survive.

Snakes and lizards are the two most common animals that we see around us. Lizards can be seen crawling on your house walls whereas snakes can be seen hissing in your garden. However, snakes have so many different categories like some are poisonous and some are non-poisonous and the same case for lizards too but most lizards are harmless and are non-poisonous.

Snakes vs Lizards

The difference between snakes and lizards is that snakes do not have legs and therefore they cannot walk whereas lizards have legs and therefore they can run or walk. In order to move from one to place to another snakes swim, climb, or crawl by bending their spine and by leading the edges to push off objects.

Comparison Table Between Snakes and Lizards

Parameters of ComparisonSnakesLizards
Hearing abilityThrough skull boneLizards have external ear openings through which they hear sounds.
MovementSnakes bend its spines to move forward by pushing objects. They have a good grip on the surface.Lizards, on the other hand, has got four limbs and can walk, climb, run.
EyesSnakes have sharp eyes and they do not wink.Lizards, on the other hand, wink their eyes.
SheddingMost snakes shed their skin at least once a year.Lizards shed their tail whenever there is an indication of danger and the shedding works as a mechanism function.
JawsSnakes have got more flexible jaws than lizards.Lizards’ jaws are not that flexible.
Poisonous/HarmfulMost snakes are poisonous and are harmful.Lizards are not poisonous except the Gila Monster is the poisonous lizard.

What are Snakes?

Snakes belong to the reptilian family and are elongated in size known to be carnivorous. It is their body shape and structure that distinguishes them from the other animals. Considered as one of the most dangerous animals on earth most snakes throw poison from their fangs when they bite.

Many human beings were also attacked by them and resulted in the death of the person. It was estimated that between the years 2000 to 2019 there were about 1.5 million deaths due to snakebites in a country like India. About 58,000 deaths were average per year where people were about aged 30-69 and about a quarter being children under 15 years of age that became the victim of snakebites.

Now, comparing snakes with lizards will have a lot of difference because you will not hear people dying of lizard bite. Most lizards that you see in your homes are not poisonous at all except the Gila Monster that is found in the US is a poisonous one.

If you look at a documentary on snakes then you will see how these creatures move and attack their prey. Their movement is so unique because they do not have legs still they are so fast in hunting down their prey for food.

Snakes have got a flexible jaw that helps them to perform most things with the help of it. It is with the help of their skull bone they can accumulate the most force to move forward and help them to climb, swim and even crawl. Though they do not have legs still they can do things like most animals.

What are Lizards?

Lizards, on the other hand, are small creatures that you can see crawling on the walls of your room. These tiny creatures are harmless and they are not poisonous at all. Lizards though belonging to the reptilian family along with snakes have completely different characteristics than a snake.

Lizards, are usually small in size and have got small limbs but they are very fast creatures. Lizards are carnivorous animals and they mostly feed on small insects but bigger lizards like the Komodo Dragon can eat as big animals like the water buffalo.

Lizards have got small ear openings through which they have the ability to hear sounds, unlike snakes that do not have ears or small openings. Other than that lizards have winking eyes, unlike snakes that do not have blinking eyes.

Main Differences Between Snakes and Lizards

  1. Snakes do not have legs whereas Lizards have legs
  2. Snakes can crawl, climb, and swim whereas lizards can also crawl, run and walk.
  3. Most snakes are harmful and are poisonous whereas lizards are harmless and are not poisonous.
  4. Both snakes and lizards are carnivorous animals.
  5. Snakes have got more flexible jaws than a lizard.
  6.  Snakes are usually bigger than a lizard.


Both these animals are one of a kind. Some countries consume these animals for their food. Taking the example of China where every living organism is sold for the normal people in the market where snakes and lizards are common items.

Though being in the same family snakes and lizards have their differences and have only a few similarities.


  1. https://academic.oup.com/icb/article-abstract/23/2/431/302353
  2. https://setac.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/etc.5620210502