The 10 Largest Lizards in the World

May 03, 2023

By Sonakshi Kandhari

Did You Know?

Lizards are spotted during the summer because they are dormant during the winter. Antarctica is the only continent in the world where lizards are not found. The length of their tails often exceeds the length of their entire body. Living for as long as 50 years, lizards can grow up to 10 feet long. Creepy, right? Read on and explore the 10 largest lizards in the world

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Marine Iguana  (Amblyrhynchus Cristatus)

It is the only lizard one can find swimming across the floor of the ocean on Galapagos Island. It goes as deep as 65 feet and can remain underwater for 30 minutes. When it is born, it is black, but over time it turns grey, red and green.. This lizard  lives up to the ripe age of 60.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Galapagos Land Iguana (Conolophus Subcristatus)

This 5-foot yellow-coloured lizard has white, black and brown splotches on it. Contrary to its intimidating appearance, this lizard is a herbivore and feeds on pear leaves and fruit. The population of these lizards is rapidly decreasing as a result of the rising numbers of their predators, which include cats, dogs, pigs and rodents.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Blue Iguana (Cyclura Lewisi)

A native of Grand Cayman, this lizard gets camouflaged in the rocky forests with its blue colouration.They soak in the sun during the day and seek refuge in the crevices, rocks or caves at night. A blue iguana's eggs are among the largest ever laid by any lizard.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Lace Monitor (Varanus Niloticus)

It is Australia’s second-largest lizard. Distinguished from other lizards and reptiles in general for its high level of intelligence. Another rare fact about this lizard is that it has excellent vision and is found unblinkingly gazing at aeroplanes. True to its name, this lizard is dark-coloured with a yellow lace-like pattern on it.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Nile Monitor (Varanus Niloticus) 

This lizard’s tail is 1.5 times larger than the rest of its body. Found primarily in Africa, an occasional one might be spotted in Florida. Nile monitors skirt around crocodile nesting bites because they feed on crocodile eggs. This lizard can remain underwater for up to an hour.

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Black-throated Monitor (Varanus Albiguraris Microstictus)

Found in Africa, this lizard looks like a prehistoric giant, but if treated with affection from a young age, it could be a pet. This lizard has a forked tongue similar to a snake, with which it can detect any interesting scent. They can go on long, leisurely walks in search of their food.

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About 2 metres long, this lizard is the largest in Australia. A bite from this lizard takes a long time to heal. This lizard's defence mechanism in the face of a predator is either to raise its hood or to use its whip-like long tail. It lives up to the age of 40 and feeds on turtle eggs, insects and other reptiles.

Perrentie or Goannas (Vavanus Giganteus)

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

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Tree Crocodile (Varanus Salvadori)

With a snake-like tongue and crocodile-like teeth, this lizard is a lethal combination. The longest version of this lizard grows up to 16 feet. This lizard is sought after for its skin and meat, which are used for clothing and drumheads. Their primary diet is carrion, reptiles, small mammals and bird eggs.

Common or Malayan Water Monitor (Varanus Salvator)

From hitchhiking up a tree to swimming underwater for long periods of time, there is not much that this lizard cannot do. This lizard happily feasts on a road nest and does not hesitate to binge on roadkill too. Apart from its lengthy tail and neck, this lizard's claws can cause a high degree of damage.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Komodo Dragon (Varanus Komodoensis)

At 300 pounds, this 10-footer is the world’s largest lizard. When hunger gets the better of them, they eat fellow or younger dragons, but they primarily feed on carrion. A bite from it can make its prey bleed to death because of the bacteria it introduces. This deadly lizard calls Indonesia its home.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons