Life Cycle of a Lizard

brown and green lizard
Photo by Nilina on


Lizards are reptiles in a group composed of over 6,000 species in various parts of the planet except for Antarctica. A lizard can range from size from a couple of centimeters to Komodo dragons that can measure up to a few meters in length. Most of these lizards move with strong lateral motions which are also known as quadrupedal motion. 

Some lizards do not have legs and bodies like snakes and a good number of them can even glide. Lizards have carnivorous habits and consume predators to survive. They feed mainly on land-based invertebrates, these include insects and even little worms.

Life Cycle of a Lizard

The life cycle of a lizard can be divided into three phases, and they are outlined below: 

  1. Laying and Hatching of Eggs: The life cycle starts with the hatching of the egg, but it must be stated that some species give birth to the little ones but when it comes to lizards, they undergo a transformation for more development. Following the development, the adult lizards lay the eggs and the process is repeated until the eggs mature into adults. The exact duration from the stage of egg-laying to developing into new adults differs from species to species. Some lizards lay their eggs in the hole then leave the eggs. Some return from time to time to provide some warmth and incubation for the eggs, and this can take anything from 30 to 90 days. 
  2. Juvenile Stage: Once the hatching of the eggs is done, the next stage is that of the juvenile lizards which are ready to become fully-grown adults in no time. There are some species of lizards that do not give proper attention or care to juvenile lizards. 
  3. Adult Stage: This is the stage in which the lizard has reached maturity and can also reproduce after mating. The mating itself also depends on the species of lizard. When the mating is done, male lizards use several strategies to attract the female lizards. One is the spreading of the frill and after the mating is concluded, around 8 to 24 eggs can be laid. Lizards find it a lot easier to mate during the dry season. 

Most of the lizards, geckos, iguanas, and water dragons are known for laying leathery and soft eggs. The female lizards bury their eggs in soft soil after digging holes and the eggs are usually left alone. The incubation period in frilled lizards takes up to 70 days while the green iguana eggs do not hatch until 90 days. As hinted in the sections above, not all lizards provide incubation. 

Adaptation for Survival

Lizards can adapt in different places and that explains why they are found in various regions, from arid places to depths of the oceans. As a result of the features that they share with snakes, some confuse both together, but one thing is that snakes do not have legs, and lizards possess movable eyelids. 

Lizards also have a very dry and scaly skin, but a good number of lizards do not always possess this skin depending on several conditions. Many will also be shocked to know that lizards have awesome defense capabilities. These reptiles have what scientists call caudal autotomy and this is a condition in which the lizards can protect themselves using their tails whenever there are hostile elements in the environment. The most outstanding thing about this is that the lizards have the incredible ability to even grow back the tails. 


In many lizard species, the life cycle commences with the hatching of the lizard from the egg even though several species can give birth to live offspring. Juvenile lizards then transform into adults without any metamorphosis as observed in other amphibian species. The adults then mate, and they commence the cycle again. The duration of each stage in the life cycle and the total life span depends, specifically on each species. 

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