Lizards

Typical lizards superficially resemble salamanders, but their dry scaly skin, clawed feet, and external ear openings quickly seperate them from theri distant moist-skinned ancestors.  Legless lizards may be confused with snakes, but unlike snakes, they possess movable eyelids. 

Glass Lizards - Family Anguidae

Slender Glass Lizard Ophisaurus attenuatus. Uncommon to rare essentially statewide, this legless lizard is infrequently encountered and believed to be declining. Most known occurrences are from above Fall Line Hills. Generally associated with relatively dry, open habitats. MODERATE CONSERVATION CONCERN.

Mimic Glass Lizard Ophisaurus mimicus. Uncommon to rare, secretive, and possibly threatened throughout. A recently described (1987) legless lizard of southeastern coastal flatwoods. Three documented occurrences from southern portion of Alabama’s Dougherty Plain and Southern Pine Plains and Hills. Preferred pine flatwoods habitat now much reduced. HIGH CONSERVATION CONCERN.

Eastern Glass Lizard Ophisaurus ventralis. Uncommon to rare in Coastal Plain, Ridge and Valley, and Piedmont. Formerly common in Coastal Plain, now appears to have experienced a marked decline and is rare to absent in many areas. Typically encountered in mesic habitats and under debris. MODERATE CONSERVATION CONCERN. 

Geckoes - Family Gekkonidae

Mediterranean House Gecko Hemidactylus turcicus. Exotic. Found locally in, and near, buildings of urban areas, especially in southern half of state. Nocturnal, and may be seen feeding on insects near lights after dark.

Indo-Pacific Gecko Hemidactylus garnotii. Exotic. Similar in distribution and habits to H. turcicus. Parthenogenetic (unisexual).

Spiny Lizards and Allies - Family Phrynosomatidae

Texas Horned Lizard Phrynosoma cornutum. Exotic. Reportedly established along the coast in some localities. May occur in relatively open, sandy areas.

Eastern Fence Lizard Sceloporus undulatus. Common and statewide in occurrence. Prefers dry, open woodlands and rocky areas. A conspicuous lizard that basks in open areas and runs when approached. Includes subspecies S. u. undulatus (southern fence lizard) and S. u. hyacinthinus (northern fence lizard). Low Conservation Concern. 

Anoles - Family Polychridae

Green Anole Anolis carolinensis. Common and statewide in occurrence, but relatively scarce in extreme northern portion. A climbing lizard that inhabits a variety of vegetated habitats, including residential areas. Many know this conspicuous color-changing lizard as “chameleon.” Lowest Conservation Concern.

Brown Anole Anolis sagrei. Exotic. Recently reported from a few locations in extreme southern Alabama, this Caribbean species is well established in Florida. Similar in habits to A. carolinensis.

Skinks - Family Scincidae

Coal Skink Eumeces anthracinus ssp. Rare and infrequently encountered. Widely distributed, but limits of distribution incompletely known. Most records from Coastal Plain, but also documented from Southwestern Appalachians and Ridge and Valley. Inhabits hilly terrain in mixed pine-hardwood forest, usually near water. Likely inhabits pitcher plant bogs in southern Alabama, as do nearby populations in Florida Panhandle. Some Alabama populations are E. a. pluvialis (southern coal skink) while others are intergradient with E. a. anthracinus (northern coal skink). HIGH CONSERVATION CONCERN.

Northern Mole Skink Eumeces egregius similis. Uncommon. Known from east of the Tombigbee and Black Warrior Rivers in the Coastal Plain, Piedmont, and Ridge and Valley. Alabama’s only red-tailed skink, this secretive burrowing lizard is rarely seen above ground. Thought to be declining. Low Conservation Concern.

Common Five-lined Skink Eumeces fasciatus. Common and statewide in a variety of mesic habitats. Frequently encountered, often in, or near, rotting logs and stumps, rocks, and trash piles. Lowest Conservation Concern.

Southeastern Five-lined Skink Eumeces inexpectatus. Formerly common statewide but believed to be declining and potentially threatened, especially in southern Alabama. Reasons for downward trend unknown. Prefers relatively open dry forestlands. Easily confused with common five-lined skink. HIGH CONSERVATION CONCERN.

Broad-headed Skink Eumeces laticeps. Common statewide and frequently encountered in areas with rotting logs, stumps, and tree cavities. Alabama’s largest and most arboreal skink. Low Conservation Concern.

Ground Skink Scincella lateralis. Fairly common statewide, but population densities have declined markedly in the past quarter century. Inhabits most terrestrial forested habitats. Low Conservation Concern.

Racerunners - Family Teiidae

Eastern Six-lined Racerunner Cnemidophorus sexlineatus sexlineatus. Uncommon to locally fairly common statewide. Most frequently encountered in southern portions of Alabama, but considerably less common than in the past. A fast-moving conspicuous resident of a variety of dry, open habitats, especially areas of sandy soils. Decline could be related to decreased burning. MODERATE CONSERVATION CONCERN.

References Cited:

Mirarchi. Ralph E., ed. 2004. Alabama Wildlife, Volume One.  A Checklist of Vertebrates and Selected Invertebrates: Aquatic Mollusks, Fishes, Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds and Mammals.  The University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, AL. 209 pp.

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