suborder of reptiles

Lizard is the common name used for all squamate reptiles other than snakes (and to a lesser extent amphisbaenians), encompassing over 7,000 species, ranging across all continents except Antarctica, as well as most oceanic island chains. The grouping is paraphyletic as some lizards are more closely related to snakes than they are to other lizards. Lizards range in size from chameleons and geckos a few centimeters long to the 3-meter-long Komodo dragon.

Lizards are scaley reptiles of an ancient bloodline ~ Robert T. Bakker
Meagre as lizards ~ C. S. Calverley




  • Dinosaurs are not lizards, and vice versa. Lizards are scaley reptiles of an ancient bloodline. The oldest lizards antedate the earliest dinosaurs by a full thirty million years. A few large lizards, such as the man-eating Komodo dragon, have been called "relicts of the dinosaur age", but this phrase is historically incorrect. No lizard ever evolved the birdlike characteristics peculiar to each and every dinosaur. A big lizard never resembled a small dinosaur except for a few inconsequential details of the teeth. Lizards never walk with the erect, long-striding gait that distinguishes the dinosaurlike ground birds today or the birdlike dinosaurs of the Mesozoic.
    • Robert T. Bakker, The Dinosaur Heresies: A Revolutionary View of Dinosaurs (1986), pp. 22-23
  • Lizards have been the subject of speculation and superstition among our ancestors for thousands of years, especially in those areas of the world where they are most numerous. People's curiosity about the animals with which they share the earth is one of the few characteristics which sets the human being apart from other species; which are, by and large, only interested in the animals they can eat, be eaten by, or mate with. Although some of the larger lizards may play a part in the nutrition of certain groups of humans, and a very small number may cause people pain or discomfort, they normally live in peaceful coexistence with us, except when we destroy the habitat in which they live.


  • Ανίκα δὴ καὶ σαῦρος ἐφ’ αἱμασιᾶισι καθεύδει.
  • Nunc varia in gelida sede lacerta latet:
    • Appendix Vergiliana, "Copa", 28
      • Now in cool haunt his heat the lizard slakes:
        • C. A. Elton, "The Tavern Dancing Girl",
          Specimens of the Classical Poets, ii (1814), p. 134
  •   And the green lizard, and the golden snake,
    Like unimprisoned flames, out of their trance awake.
  • The lizard with his shadow on the stone
    Sleeps like a shadow,
  • On sunny slab of the ruin the furtive and fugitive lizard,
  • Did giant Lizards come and crouch before you on the reedy banks?
  • Under her old pink gateways, where Time a moment turns,
    Where hang the orange lanterns and the red hibiscus burns,
    Live the harmless merry lizards, quicksilver in the sun,
    Or still as any image with their shadow on a stone.
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