The name garden lizard can refer to a number of different species of lizard. The species most often called by this name is the Oriental Garden Lizard, though the name can refer to other members of the Agamidae family as well. There are also many opportunistic species of lizard that can be frequently found living in gardens, in close proximity to humans, including geckos and skinks and countless other species.
Lizards in the family Agamidae, commonly called agamas and belonging to the genus Agama, are endemic to Africa and Asia. Quite common, these lizards seek out habitats that are relatively dry, such as deserts, rocky steppes and forest edges. Agamas are primarily insectivores, but may also feed on small rodents, other reptiles and some fruits and vegetables. In captivity, agamas are usually fed crickets and day-old mice.
Agamas also are sometimes called dragons or dragon lizards. These lizards are muscular in appearance, with strong legs and wedge-shaped heads that, in many species, are large compared to body size. Unlike many lizards, agamas cannot shed and regenerate their tails. Many of these lizards have a limited ability to change color, giving them another nickname, the Fake Chameleon. The most common agamas kept as pets include the Oriental Garden Lizard, tree dragon, common garden lizard and brown garden lizard.
The Oriental Garden Lizard is a widespread species of Asian lizard. Its natural range is from Iran to Malaysia, and it adapts well to life alongside humans, both as a pet and as a garden visitor. This species can grow to lengths of up to 17 inches (about 43 cm) and has a large head, wide shoulders and a long, thin tail. Nocturnal and arboreal, these lizards are not easily observed in the wild, though they are gaining popularity in the pet industry. During the mating season, male Oriental Garden Lizards display a red throat to attract a mate, giving them the inaccurate nickname "the bloodsucker."
Depending on the region and climate zone in which a person lives, any number of lizard species may be found living in a garden area. Some of the more commonly observed lizards include geckos and skinks. Geckos are fat-bodied lizards that can be found in deserts, tropical rain forests and in houses around the world. Skinks are also commonly observed in gardens and are distinguishable from other lizards by their small and sometimes absent limbs, making them appear more snake-like than lizard-like.