Difference Between Snakes and Lizards

Animals can be distinguished by their behavior, size, shape, color, etc.


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Names are given to every 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 you will call it an elephant.

Similarly, every animal is different from the others and undoubtedly contributes 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, it would be impossible for humans to survive.

Snakes and lizards are the two most common animals 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. Some are poisonous, and some are non-poisonous. The same is true for lizards, but most are harmless and non-poisonous.

Key Takeaways

  1. Snakes and lizards are reptiles, but snakes are limbless, while lizards have four legs.
  2. Snakes have streamlined bodies, no external ears, and a forked tongue to sense their surroundings, while lizards have cylindrical bodies and external ears and do not have a forked tongue.
  3. Snakes are carnivorous and have unique ways of capturing their prey, while lizards have a more diverse diet and are generally more active during the day than snakes.

Snakes vs. Lizards

Snakes are elongated, legless reptiles that move by slithering, they have no eyelids or external ears. Additionally, most snakes are carnivorous. Lizards are four-legged reptiles that move by walking or running, lizards have eyelids and often have visible ear openings.

Snakes vs Lizards

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Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonSnakesLizards
Hearing abilityThrough skull boneLizards have external ear openings through which they hear sounds.
MovementSnakes bend their spines to move forward by pushing objects. They have a good grip on the surface.On the other hand, Lizards has four limbs and can walk, climb, and 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 mechanical function.
JawsSnakes have got more flexible jaws than lizards.Lizards’ jaws are not that flexible.
Poisonous/HarmfulMost snakes are poisonous and 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 and known to be carnivorous. Their body shape and structure distinguish them from the other animals.

Considered one of the most dangerous animals, most snakes throw poison from their fangs when they bite.

Many human beings were also attacked by them, resulting in the person’s death. 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 aged 30-69 and about a quarter of children under 15 years of age became the victim of snakebites.

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

If you look at a documentary on snakes, 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 flexible jaw that helps them perform most things with the help of it. With the help of their skull bone, they can accumulate the most force to move forward and help them climb, swim and even crawl.

Though they do not have legs, they can still do things like most animals.


What are Lizards?

On the other hand, Lizards are small creatures 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 and have small limbs, but they are swift creatures.

Lizards are carnivorous animals that mostly feed on small insects, but bigger lizards like the Komodo Dragon can eat big animals like the water buffalo.

Lizards have small ear openings through which they can hear sounds, unlike snakes, which do not have ears or small openings. Other than that, lizards have winking eyes, unlike snakes which 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 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.
Difference Between Snakes and Lizards
  1. https://academic.oup.com/icb/article-abstract/23/2/431/302353
  2. https://setac.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/etc.5620210502
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