Lizard on a Doorstep, Barbados Pocket Guide

There are six varieties of lizards in Barbados

The Green Lizard

The Green Lizard (Anolis extremus) is a widespread and prolific species of lizard that is a local inhabitant of the island. In the past, this species was endemic to Barbados but has since been introduced to St. Lucia, Venezuela and Bermuda.

Commonly known as cock lizards to Barbadians, the male species with its very noticeable head-bobbing notion uses its brightly coloured throat fan to ward off potential predators and also to attract females. Their heads are pale lavender to blue-gray in colour with the upper side of their backs a deep green with dark markings, periodic white spots and yellow bellies.

Females are usually smaller and duller in color than males.


The Shiny Lizard

The Shiny Lizard (Mabuya bistriata) is from the skink species. Commonly referred to as the Shiny Lizard, this lizard has a  smooth shimmery bronze like skin texture with brown stripes extending downwards from its head. It moves with a hurried snake-like action and can easily be found under stones or old wood.



Geckos are bountiful and aggressive nocturnal house lizards that can be found scurrying across house walls and other buildings in search of insects that are attracted to lights.


Geckos have the amazing ability to stick to walls via an amazing adhesion mechanism. Here is how it works. Each of their toes is covered with tiny projections much thinner than a human hair that are called setae. Each seta is tipped with hundreds of even finer projections called spatulae, which have a diameter smaller than the wavelength of visible light.


The spatulae stick to walls by van der Waals forces, the electrostatic attraction or repulsion between materials caused by the uneven distribution of charge on their molecules.


These forces allow a gecko to cling to almost any surface, without secreting a sticky substance. Although a gecko only weighs around 90g, it can stick to a ceiling tightly enough to support a weight of around 40kg.


Geckos have the ability to turn on and off their grip as it would be difficult to move around so swiftly if you’re that strongly stuck. They switch it on by rolling their toes down and gripping inwards, and detach by rolling the toes upwards and backwards to peel the spatulae off. They're able to do this so quickly that they can attach and detach from a surface 15 times a second.


There are two species of Geckos in Barbados.  The Hemidactylus mabouia and the Phyllodactylus pulcher.


The Hemidactylus mabouia is a tropical house gecko lizard that is commonly referred to as a poison lizard or woodslave.


Commonly known as the leaf-toed gecko, the Phyllodactylus pulcher is indigenous to Barbados and considered a rare species. However, there are other species that occur in South America.


Kentropyx borckiana is a sizeable brown lizard once claimed to be extinct but now being found with increasing frequency. This lizard is brown with stripes and dark blotches on the back and has a greenish neck and head with white underneath. The species is apparently a rare unisexual clone that reproduces through parthenogenesis. There are no recorded males in these species.


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