53 Most Colorful Reptiles in the World

Reptiles are some of the world’s most delightful creatures. From the people-loving bearded dragons and leopard geckos kept as pets around the world to wild pit vipers and crested iguanas, reptiles give the world a truly spectacular burst of color.

List of Colorful Reptiles

Here’s our list of the most colorful reptiles in the world:

1. Blue-Tailed Skink

A five-lined skink skitters on a log.
  • Latin name: Plestiodon fasciatus
  • Habitat: Usually moist areas that are partially wooded, although it can also inhabit rocky areas
  • Size: About 5″-8.5″ long
  • Diet: Usually crickets, beetles, and spiders, though they may eat slightly larger animals on occasion
  • Colorful feature: The juvenile blue-tailed skink has a brilliant, shiny blue tail. It’s marked with five lines running down its dark body. The lines start out reddish at the head and fade to a pale yellow.

The name “blue-tailed skink” can refer to a few different species. This one is native to North America. The most colorful individuals are juveniles and sub-adults, as they are the ones with the bright blue tails!

2. Peninsular Rock Agama

A Peninsular Rock Agama on a log.
  • Latin name: Psammophilus dorsalis
  • Habitat: Hilly, rocky areas in south India
  • Size: Up to about 13″ long
  • Diet: Mostly beetles, ants, grasshoppers, and termites
  • Colorful feature: The males of this species have brilliant red heads, and they also have bright red backs. They also have a black stripe on their heads that looks a little like a bandit mask.

These colorful lizards can be found basking in rocky areas. Like many agamid lizards, males will bob their heads and chests in a push-up-like motion to show dominance and attract females. While males are bright and colorful, this is only seasonal; their colors become much flashier during the breeding season. Many are bright red, but their upper parts can also be yellow or orange.

3. Oriental Garden Lizard

Oriental Garden Lizard sitting next to green leaves.
  • Latin name: Calotes versicolor
  • Habitat: Adapts to many habitat types throughout the Indo-Malayan region, including those in urban areas
  • Size: Up to 14.5″ long
  • Diet: Mostly insects, including grasshoppers and ants; they also may eat smaller vertebrates
  • Colorful feature: Males in breeding season have bright red heads and throats. The red coloring pops against the base color, which is usually greenish. These lizards can change their colors as needed from red to black (or to a mixture of both). Many have black patterning around the eyes.

These slim, athletic lizards go by a number of names: you might also hear them called Indian garden lizards, eastern garden lizards, common garden lizards, changeable lizards, or bloodsuckers.

4. White-Lipped Pit Viper

White-Lipped Pit Viper coiled around branch.
  • Latin name: Trimeresurus albolabris
  • Habitat: Various habitats in Southeast Asia
  • Size: Males are up to 24″ long; females are up to 32″
  • Diet: Mostly eats smaller mammals, frogs, and birds
  • Colorful feature: These snakes are a beautiful leaf-green in color. Their bellies are usually yellowish or white.

Though these beautiful snakes are venomous, their bites aren’t often fatal. You may occasionally see one in captivity, but they tend to be prone to biting and difficult to care for. They’re suitable for experienced reptile keepers, but if you’re looking for a good-natured pet, another species might be a better fit.

5. Transvaal Dwarf Chameleon

Transvaal Dwarf Chameleon perched on branch.
  • Latin name: Bradypodion transvaalens
  • Habitat: Forested parts of the South African provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo
  • Size: Up to about 6″ long
  • Diet: Primarily insects
  • Colorful feature: These adorable little chameleons can change to a brownish color to camouflage. But their brightest coloring incorporates bright greens and reds against black patterning.

These small lizards are cute, but they are surprisingly aggressive and territorial. They will readily fight with one another. They also have one of the smallest ranges of any species on the list, as you can find them in parts of only two South African provinces. Because they are distributed near the Wolkberg mountain range, they are sometimes called Wolkberg dwarf chameleons.

6. Superb Large Fan-Throated Lizard

Superb Large Fan-Throated Lizard standing on rocks.
  • Latin name: Sarada superba
  • Habitat: Various habitats in Maharashtra, India
  • Size: About 3″ to 5″ long
  • Diet: Primarily insects
  • Colorful feature: Male superb large fan-throated lizards have throats that show three magnificent colors when fanned out: glittering blue, crimson red, and black.

Even the name of this little lizard sounds exciting. And whether you see one in person or in a picture, it doesn’t disappoint! Its tricolored fanned throat features stunningly bright colors that contrast sharply with its brownish, earth-colored body. This species was only described in 2016, as it was previously considered to be part of the species Sitana ponticeriana.

7. Green Thornytail Iguana

Green Thornytail Iguana on tree isolated on background.
  • Latin name: Uracentron azureum
  • Habitat: Amazon rainforest and other Guiana Shield forests
  • Size: Up to about 6″ in length
  • Diet: Mostly ants
  • Colorful feature: These odd yet beautiful lizards are a bright and energetic green. Their bodies are crossed by deep black bands, and their spiny tails have complex black and green patterning.

The green thornytail iguana doesn’t look anything like the lizard most of us picture when we think of an iguana. But its green and black patterning has a purpose; since these lizards are arboreal, their patterns help them blend in with the sun filtering through the rainforest canopy.

8. Blue Malaysian Coral Snake

Blue Malaysian Coral Snake isolated on black background.
  • Latin name: Calliophis bivirgatus
  • Habitat: Various habitat types in Southeast Asia
  • Size: Up to 5′ 11″ long
  • Diet: Primarily eats other snakes
  • Colorful feature: These reptiles have some of the most beautiful coloring in the snake world. Their bodies are dark blue or black with sky blue stripes, while their heads and tails are red.

The red heads and tails of these lovely snakes serve as a warning to predators. If you happen to threaten a blue Malaysian coral snake, it will usually slither away quickly. But in some cases, it may stay still with the red tip of its tail extended into the air.

9. Tuatara

Tuatara sitting on log.
  • Latin name: Sphenodon punctatus
  • Habitat: Coastal areas of some parts of New Zealand
  • Size: Males are up to 24″ long; females are up to 18″
  • Diet: Primarily insects, but they will also eat eggs and small vertebrates
  • Colorful feature: Many tuatara are a dull, mossy green. But as you can see from the picture, some of them are an intense greenish blue. They have large eyes compared to most lizards, so they look a bit like cartoon characters!

These strange reptiles look a lot like lizards, but they evolved separately. Some experts call tuataras “living fossils,” as they are the only surviving species of the order Rhynchocephalia, a group of reptiles that originated about 250 million years ago. May 2 was named “Tuatara Day” to commemorate the day when researchers discovered that tuatara were not actually lizards.

10. Chinese Crocodile Lizard

Close-up of a Chinese crocodile lizard.
  • Latin name: Shinisaurus crocodilurus
  • Habitat: Cool-temperature forests in China and Vietnam
  • Size: About 16″-18″ long
  • Diet: Mostly eats insects, tadpoles, worms, and snails
  • Colorful feature: As is the case with many other lizard species, males in breeding season tend to be the brightest of all. They are often a combination of reddish orange, green, and black (or dark brown). Their bumpy skin resembles that of a crocodile.

The Chinese crocodile lizard is certainly unusual in appearance. It’s also very rare, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies it as an endangered species. Like the tuatara, the Chinese crocodile lizard has ancient roots; it is the last surviving species of the Shinisauria group. This group of lizards can be traced back over 120 million years ago!

11. Psychedelic Rock Gecko

Psychedelic Rock Gecko isolated on black background.
  • Latin name: Cnemaspis psychedelic
  • Habitat: Lives only in Hon Tuong Isle and Hon Khoai Island in Vietnam
  • Size: Up to about 5″ long
  • Diet: Mostly insects
  • Colorful feature: The exact patterning of these beautiful little geckos varies by individual. However, each one is an exciting mixture of black, blue-grey, yellow, and orange.

This stunning gecko is classified as an endangered species, as the total adult population in the wild is about 500. It was only described scientifically in 2010, so it hasn’t been extensively studied at all. Though its natural habitat is a protected area, the psychedelic rock gecko is sometimes collected for the pet trade.

12. Jewelled Gecko

Close-up of Jewelled Gecko.
  • Latin name: Naultinus gemmeus
  • Habitat: Lives only on the South Island of New Zealand
  • Size: Up to about 7.1″ long
  • Diet: Moths, insects, berries, and nectar
  • Colorful feature: Different jewelled gecko populations tend to have different colarations. The most colorful among them are a bright spring green with markings of both white and yellow.

The IUCN classifies the jewelled gecko as an endangered species. As a result, these lizards are highly protected; even disturbing them is illegal. They also have great cultural significance, as the Ngāi Tahu people of New Zealand’s South Island refer to them as “taonga,” or something that is prized. Remarkably, these geckos do not lay eggs; the females will give birth to live young.

13. Hieroglyphic River Cooter Turtle

Hieroglyphic River Cooter Turtle isolated on white background.
  • Latin name: Pseudemys concinna
  • Habitat: Freshwater habitats in the southeastern United States
  • Size: Up to 17″ long
  • Diet: Can eat meat or plant matter; diet varies based on available food
  • Colorful feature: Lots of turtles aren’t too colorful, but the exquisite hieroglyphic river cooter turtle certainly is! it is technically a subspecies of the river cooter, and its shell and body are marked with intricate patterns of yellow and black that resemble ancient hieroglyphs.

These beautiful turtles are the most exquisite of the river cooter subspecies. As a result, they are sought after by reptile enthusiasts. But thankfully, as they are easy to care for in captivity, it’s often possible to purchase a captive-bred individual and leave the wild populations undisturbed.

14. Fire Corn Snake

Cute corn snake female on a tree isolated on white background.
  • Latin name: Pantherophis guttatus
  • Habitat: Fields, forest openings, and empty barns in the southeastern United States
  • Size: Up to about 6 feet long
  • Diet: Primarily rodents
  • Colorful feature: The fire corn snake is a specific morph, so these bright snakes aren’t found in the wild. As adults, fire corn snakes are bright red. They usually have very subtle patterning, so the bright color is the main focus.

The color of these bright snakes comes down to genetics. Corn snake breeders combine amelanistic and bloodred genes. The result is a snake without the typical dark patterning. These easygoing snakes are one of the more popular snake species kept as pets, but they also exist in the wild in North America. The name “corn snake” comes from the fact that they can often be found outside of corn and grain stores waiting to eat rodents.

15. Collared Lizard

A Collared Lizard on a log.
  • Latin name: Crotaphytus spp.
  • Habitat: Arid areas of southwestern North America
  • Size: Up to about 14″ long
  • Diet: Mostly invertebrates and some smaller vertebrates
  • Colorful feature: Depending on the exact species, collared lizards will be patterned a little differently. Many are turquoise with bright yellow heads. The name comes from the dark, collar-like marking around the neck.

These lizards are some of the most colorful in North America. “Collared lizard” can refer to any member of the Crotaphytus genus. It can sometimes be difficult to discern an exact species just by observing these lizards in the wild, as many species look similar. Still, the collared lizard is a fairly recognizable symbol of the Southwest, and Oklahoma even designated it as the state reptile in 1969!

16. Impressed Tortoise

Pet turtle Impressed tortoise on white background.
  • Latin name: Manouria impressa
  • Habitat: Mountain forests in southeast Asia
  • Size: Often over 14″ long
  • Diet: Mostly mushrooms and bamboo shoots
  • Colorful feature: Not every impressed tortoise is as bright as the one in the picture. But as you can see, some of these tortoises have shells that are very bright yellow!

The impressed tortoise is smaller than many other tortoise species. It’s classified as an endangered species by the IUCN, and the exact wild population is uncertain. This species is very challenging to keep in captivity, so adult impressed tortoises tend to be significantly more expensive than most other tortoise types.

17. Mount Hanang Chameleon

Mount Hanang chameleon isolated on black background.
  • Latin name: Trioceros hanangensis
  • Habitat: Mountain forests around Mount Hanang in Tanzania
  • Size: About 5″ long
  • Diet: Mostly insects
  • Colorful feature: This tiny chameleon is among the most colorful reptiles on our list. Its body is bright yellow-green, and its sky blue head really sets it apart! Most Mount Hanang chameleons also have some red, orange, or yellow markings on their sides, too.

If you don’t know a whole lot about chameleons, you may never have heard of this bright yet diminutive species. In the wild, the Mount Hanang dwarf chameleon has a very limited range. It’s caught the attention of reptile enthusiasts all over the world, and one prominent breeder lives in the Netherlands.

18. Chinese Cave Gecko

A mottled blue-grey Chinese Cave Gecko isolated.
  • Latin name: Goniurosaurus luii
  • Habitat: Various sheltered habitats in China and Vietnam
  • Size: Up to about 6.3″ long
  • Diet: Mostly insects
  • Colorful feature: These amazingly colored reptiles are a mottled blue-grey. Their bodies are crossed by black-rimmed, neon orange bands. Sometimes, the bands can be white instead of orange.

These colorful creatures may sometimes be called “Chinese tiger geckos,” and other members of the same genus may sometimes be called Chinese cave geckos. Though they are uncommon, they make good pets, although they can be a little shy. Currently, the IUCN classifies the wild population as being vulnerable to extinction.

19. Fiji Banded Iguana

Male Fiji banded iguana on a branch.
  • Latin name: Brachylophus fasciatus
  • Habitat: Wet forested areas in Fiji
  • Size: Up to 22″ long
  • Diet: Mostly plant matter
  • Colorful feature: As you can see from the photo, the Fiji banded iguana is so bright that it almost doesn’t look real. Males are bright green with splashy bands of light blue, while females are solid bright green or green with white or blue spots.

As you may already know, the magical island of Fiji is already home to some of the most spectacular reptiles on the planet. The Fiji banded iguana is certainly one of them! It’s much brighter in color than most other iguana species. It’s also a good bit smaller. The IUCN classifies this species as being endangered, although it’s sometimes possible to find captive-bred ones for sale as pets.

20. Peters’s Banded Skink

Peters's Banded Skink isolated on white background.
  • Latin name: Scincopus fasciatus
  • Habitat: Grassland areas in northern Africa
  • Size: Up to about 10.5″ long
  • Diet: Mostly insects, although they will eat plants as well
  • Colorful feature: These are some of the world’s brightest-colored skinks. They are yellow-orange in color with black bands that look a bit like tiger stripes.

The Peters’s banded skink isn’t nearly as well known as some other skink species. After all, it’s seldom bred in captivity. But if you’re a skink enthusiast looking for a smaller lizard than the more common blue-tongued skink, this docile lizard is a good choice. Though Peters’s banded skinks are rare, there are reputable reptile breeders who produce and sell them. 

21. Green Striped Tree Dragon

A pet Green Striped Tree Dragon.
  • Latin name: Diploderma splendidum
  • Habitat: Yangtze River basin in China
  • Size: About 9″ long
  • Diet: Mostly insects, although they may occasionally eat plants
  • Colorful feature: The high-contrast pattern on the green striped tree dragon makes this lizard especially stunning. It has a base color that is dark blackish brown, but its back has two wide green stripes. The head is also bright green. 

Though they can sometimes be kept as pets, green striped tree dragons pose an unusually high health risk for humans. That’s because scientists have discovered 26 human pathogens in the gut flora of these lizards. Those pathogens include Mycobacterium tuberculosis (the bacterial species that causes tuberculosis), Streptococcus pneumonia (bacteria that causes pneumonia), Listeria monocytogenes (bacteria that causes listeria), and Chlamydia trachomatis (bacteria that causes chlamydia). Though you can safely keep one if you’re careful, green striped tree dragons may be best appreciated from afar.

22. Williams Blue Cave Gecko

Side view of a Electric blue gecko, isolated.
  • Latin name: Lygodactylus williamsi
  • Habitat: Only on screwpine trees in Tanzania’s Kimboza Forest
  • Size: Up to about 3″ long
  • Diet: Mostly insects and nectar
  • Colorful feature: The males of this species are an incredibly intense blue in color, while females and some less-dominant males are more brown, green, or bronze. Both sexes have bright orange bellies.

These otherworldly little geckos are listed as critically endangered by the IUCN. Unfortunately, much of their population decline is due to illegal collection for the pet trade. The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria started an initiative in 2013 to support captive breeding and keep a studbook. Now, at least within the European Union, you can’t own or sell one of these geckos unless you have a permit and proper documentation.

23. Veiled Chameleon

Yemen chameleon sitting among leaves.
  • Latin name: Chamaeleo calyptratus
  • Habitat: Various habitat types on the Arabian Peninsula
  • Size: Females are up to 14″; males up to 24″
  • Diet: Mostly insects, although they will sometimes eat plants as well
  • Colorful feature: As babies, veiled chameleons are a simple pastel green. But as they grow, their colors start to deepen. Most are green or blue-green with yellow or white stripes and mottling.

This chameleon is sometimes called the Yemen chameleon. It’s one of the most popular pet chameleons, and it has been bred in captivity for nearly 30 years. Veiled chameleons are hardy and seem to do well in captivity, and many seem to like spending time around their owners (as long as they have been well socialized).

24. Green Bush Viper

Green Bush Vipers come in a range of colors.
  • Latin name: Atheris squamigera
  • Habitat: Mostly rainforests in central and western Africa
  • Size: Up to about 31″ long
  • Diet: Mostly smaller mammals
  • Colorful feature: Though it’s called the green bush viper, this species comes in a range of colors. As you can see from the picture, some of these snakes are a combination of bright yellow and fiery orange!

These snakes are especially bright and beautiful, but they can be deadly. Their venom is toxic to the blood, and there have been at least two reported deaths from green bush viper bites. Despite the potential danger, some people keep green bush vipers as pets. If you want to do this, be sure to check local laws, as many places outlaw the possession of venomous snakes or require that you have a permit first.

25. Green Iguana

Closeup of colorful iguana.
  • Latin name: Iguana iguana
  • Habitat: Various parts of Central America, South America, and southern North America
  • Size: Up to about 6.5 feet long
  • Diet: Various types of plants
  • Colorful feature: Even though they are called “green iguanas,” these lizards come in many colors. Coloration will often vary based on location. For instance, iguanas in Peru are often blue. Those in parts of Costa Rica are red, and many in Mexico are orange.

Although they can be a challenge to care for in captivity, green iguanas are the most commonly traded reptile in the world. In some states, they are prohibited pets, mainly to decrease the risk of the green iguana becoming an invasive species. These lizards are banned in Hawaii, and those possessing or importing them may be fined up to $200,000 and imprisoned for up to three years.

26. Common Green Forest Lizard

Common Green Forest Lizard sitting on green plant.
  • Latin name: Calotes calotes
  • Habitat: Forested areas of the Shevaroy Hills and the Western Ghats in India and Sri Lanka
  • Size: Up to about 25.5″ long
  • Diet: Mostly insects
  • Colorful feature: These lizards are usually bright green with several pale bands crossing the body. Their faces often have a few small patches of pale blue. During the breeding season, the males’ heads will often turn bright red.

This relatively large lizard likes to roost in trees, and its banded coloration helps it to camouflage. It has a dramatic, spiky crest that makes it especially eye-catching. You might see the resemblance to the oriental garden lizard; both are members of the same genus!

27. Yellow-Headed Gecko

Yellow-headed Gecko (Gonatodes albogularis fuscus) sitting on rock.
  • Latin name: Gonatodes albogularis
  • Habitat: Various warm habitats in Central America, South America, Cuba, Jamaica, and Hispaniola
  • Size: Up to about 4″ long
  • Diet: Mostly spiders and insects
  • Colorful feature: Like many other species on the list, this one has sexually dimorphic coloring. Males are brighter; they have dark bluish bodies, yellow-orange heads, and irregular powder blue patches along the mouth.

These cute geckos are a bit different from other gecko species. One of the most surprising differences is their lack of “sticky” lamellar pads that allow them to climb surfaces. Instead, yellow-headed geckos have claws like other lizard species. These geckos aren’t usually kept as pets, although they seem comfortable with people and will sometimes come into human homes. 

28. Yarrow’s Spiny Lizard

Yarrow's Spiny Lizard isolated against black background.
  • Latin name: Sceloporus jarrovii
  • Habitat: Forests and rocky areas of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico
  • Size: Up to about 9″ long
  • Diet: Mostly insects
  • Colorful feature: These unique lizards don’t seem to have one set color pattern; as you can see from the photo, many of them seem to be tinted in different colors. Their scales often look like a combination of bronze, blue, pink, green, and copper. Males are a bit more colorful, as they have blue throats and bellies.

These striking and unusual lizards are quite at home in rocky desert environments. And they defend their territories fiercely; both males and females will head bob and puff out their throats to warn away intruders. If other lizards don’t listen, a Yarrow’s spiny lizard will rush at them and bite!

29. Malabar Pit Viper

Malabar Pit Viper coiled on branch.
  • Latin name: Craspedocephalus malabaricus
  • Habitat: Mostly forested areas in the Western Ghats of India
  • Size: Around 42″ long
  • Diet: Includes various small vertebrates
  • Colorful feature: The Malabar pit viper comes in a remarkable range of colors and patterns. Often, they are yellow, green, brown, or a mixture of those colors. And as you can see from the photo, many of them have very intricate patterns as well.

This viper species, formerly known as Trimeresurus malabaricus, is an interesting creature. Unlike many snakes, it tends to move fairly slowly. But when it strikes, it does so with lightning speed! Like all vipers, it is venomous, but its venom only causes some pain and swelling in humans. Though it’s uncomfortable for a bit, these effects will usually stop after a day or two.

30. Ornate Mastigure

Ornate spiny-tailed lizard (Uromastyx ornata ornata) isolated against black background.
  • Latin name: Uromastyx ornata
  • Habitat: Rocky, dry parts of the Middle East
  • Size: Up to about 14″ long
  • Diet: Mostly plant matter, although they may sometimes eat insects
  • Colorful feature: These lizards are much brighter than most other members of the Uromastyx genus. In breeding season, males are especially colorful. They have a bluish base color with yellow or orange markings. Females have similar colors that are a bit more muted.

The yellowish markings and spiny tails of the ornate mastigure make it a standout. Most desert lizards have a dull coloring that lets them camouflage, but this lizard’s colors are reminiscent of that of the collared lizard (another bright desert creature).

31. Parson’s Chameleon

An adult Parson's chameleon (Calumma parsonii) resting among jungle vegetation.
  • Latin name: Calumma parsonii
  • Habitat: Humid forests in parts of Madagascar
  • Size: Up to 27″ long
  • Diet: Plants, insects, and small vertebrates
  • Colorful feature: There are a few different color varieties of the Parson’s chameleon. The one in the photo, called the “orange eye” variant, is the brightest of them. With this type, the male is turquoise or green with bold orange coloring around each eye.

Like other species of chameleon, the Parson’s chameleon can be found in the pet trade. However, it’s one of the more expensive chameleons, and it’s not unusual to pay around $1000-$2000 for one. Part of the reason for the high price is the fact that Madagascar strictly limits the number of Parson’s chameleons that can be exported each year, so the supply of new breeding stock to the United States is restricted.

32. Four-Horned Chameleon

Four-Horned Chameleon sitting on branch.
  • Latin name: Trioceros quadricornis
  • Habitat: Highland areas in parts of Cameroon and Nigeria
  • Size: Up to about 14″ long
  • Diet: Almost entirely arthropods
  • Colorful feature: These striking chameleons aren’t always as colorful as some other species. But as you can see in the picture, some four-horned chameleons feature multicolored markings on a tight leaf-green base color.

This lizard, also called Eisentraut’s chameleon, has been classified as being vulnerable to extinction by the IUCN. It can be kept in captivity, but it’s important to note that the four-horned chameleon is a lot more standoffish than most other chameleon species. It’s definitely not the best choice if you’re looking for a more affectionate pet! Caring for these lizards is a lot different than most, as they need an unusually cool enclosure (usually between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit) to thrive.

33. Tokay Gecko

Tokay Gecko in tree.
  • Latin name: Gekko gecko
  • Habitat: Mostly rainforests in parts of Asia and the Pacific islands
  • Size: Up to about 16″ long, although most are closer to 12″
  • Diet: Insects, plant matter, fruit, and some small vertebrates
  • Colorful feature: Tokay geckos look more like modern art pieces than actual reptiles! They have a beautiful powder blue base color marked with orange or brownish spots.

Don’t let the large eyes and pretty coloration on the tokay gecko fool you; these lizards are remarkably aggressive. They have much stronger jaws than most gecko types, and a large tokay can pierce the skin while biting. Of course, with patience and regular handling, some of these geckos might relax and become a little friendlier.

34. Green Basilisk

A male green basilisk (aka Jesus Christ lizard) resting on top of a branch in Tortuguero, Costa Rica.
  • Latin name: Basiliscus plumifrons
  • Habitat: Rainforests near streams in southern Mexico and northern Colombia
  • Size: Up to about 3 feet long
  • Diet: Various insects and plant matter as well as some small vertebrates
  • Colorful feature: Both males and females of this species are green, but males tend to be brighter. Males also have dramatic green “plumes” over the tail, back, and neck. And as you can see in the photo, they often have blue, black, and/or white markings.

The green basilisk is sometimes called the “Jesus Christ lizard.” That’s because of its unusual and impressive ability to run across water. Of course, it can only do so at high speeds; moving too slowly would cause it to sink. Like some other lizards on the list, the plumed basilisk prefers to not be handled much in captivity.

35. Gray Banded Kingsnake

Gray Banded Kingsnake coiled in green plant.
  • Latin name: Lampropeltis alterna
  • Habitat: Desert areas of southern New Mexico, southwestern Texas, and northern Mexico
  • Size: Up to about 4 feet long
  • Diet: Mostly lizards, but it will also eat eggs, frogs, and rodents
  • Colorful feature: The gray-banded kingsnake is probably the most colorful of the kingsnake varieties. Its base color is gray, but it is marked with bands of orange. Those bands are outlined in black and white.

The standard morph of the gray-banded kingsnake is pretty enough, but there are a handful of other color morphs found both in the wild and in captivity. Some of these morphs look markedly different from the wild types, as they have no banding at all.

36. Emerald Tree Monitor

Emerald Tree Monitor on log.
  • Latin name: Varanus prasinus
  • Habitat: Lowland areas of the island of New Guinea
  • Size: Up to about 39 inches long
  • Diet: Mostly birds, mammals, and small arthropods
  • Colorful feature: The emerald tree monitor has some of the most distinctive coloring of any monitor lizard. It ranges from green to turquoise in color, and its back is covered in darker banding.

Many monitor lizards have somewhat dull coloration. But the bright colors of the emerald tree monitor make it one of the most prized larger lizards in the pet trade. It’s also sought after by zoos. Notably, it’s a social animal and will often live in small groups.

37. Central Bearded Dragon

An isolated landscape portrait of a bearded dragon (pogona vitticeps).
  • Latin name: Pogona vitticeps
  • Habitat: Arid and semiarid parts of eastern and central Australia
  • Size: Up to about 24″ long
  • Diet: Mostly insects, small vertebrates, and some plant matter
  • Colorful feature: Many wild bearded dragons have somewhat dull colors to let them blend in with their desert surroundings. But in captivity, a whole world of morphs has emerged. Some captive-bred beardies are orange, yellow, red, or white. Many have intricate patterns of bars and diamonds.

There are several different species of bearded dragons. This one, the central bearded dragon, is the most popular pet. Central bearded dragons are docile, and many seem to be affectionate toward their owners. It is now illegal to export wild bearded dragons from their native Australia, but there are so many bearded dragons in other countries that the pet population has continued to flourish.

38. Cape Cobra

Cape Cobra in Kalahari desert.
  • Latin name: Naja nivea
  • Habitat: Various habitat types in southern Africa
  • Size: Up to about 6 feet long
  • Diet: Various types of vertebrates and carrion
  • Colorful feature: The Cape cobra is sometimes called the “yellow cobra” thanks to its bright coloration. Many of these snakes are a deep, intense golden yellow.

The Cape cobra’s cheery yellow color is certainly beautiful, but this large cobra is one of the most dangerous snakes in Africa. Its potent venom targets the heart, the respiratory system, and the nervous system. Luckily, the South African Institute of Medical Research has developed an antivenom. Without antivenom or prompt medical attention, bites from these snakes are often fatal.

39. Carpet Chameleon

Carpet Chameleon perched on a stick.
  • Latin name: Furcifer lateralis
  • Habitat: Various habitat types across Madagascar
  • Size: Up to about 10″ long
  • Diet: Almost entirely insects
  • Colorful feature: Unlike with most other species, female carpet chameleons tend to be more colorful than males. No two individuals look alike, and as you can see from the photo, many have almost every color of the rainbow! 

Carpet chameleons are strikingly beautiful, so it’s no wonder they’re popular in the pet trade. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re ideal for beginners. Chameleons need a lot of care and attention, especially when it comes to dialing in their temperature and humidity settings. Before you get one, make sure you’re committed to being a good pet owner!

40. Oriental Whipsnake

Oriental Whipsnake with tongue out.
  • Latin name: Ahaetulla prasina
  • Habitat: Various habitat types in many parts of Asia
  • Size: Up to about 6 feet long
  • Diet: Mostly smaller reptiles and amphibians
  • Colorful feature: This snake is a beautiful, intense green color. When it flattens its sides, though, you’ll see a checkerboard-like pattern of black and white scales interspersed with the green ones.

This beautiful, otherworldly snake is known by a number of other names. You might have heard it called the Asian vine snake, Gunther’s whip snake, or Boie’s whip snake. Its name comes from the fact that its long and very slender body somewhat resembles a whip. Despite its beauty, it has only recently been included in the pet trade. These snakes aren’t ideal for new reptile keepers; since they can be a challenge, they are best left to those with some experience.

41. Arabian Blue Mastigure

Uromastyx ornata philbyi isolated on white background.
  • Latin name: Uromastyx ornata philbyi
  • Habitat: Rocky parts of the Middle East
  • Size: Up to about 13″ long
  • Diet: Mostly various types of plant matter
  • Colorful feature: These unusual, spiny-tailed lizards are predominately slate blue in color. Many have yellow bellies or slight yellow markings on the body. Though it looks like it could be a captive-bred morph, it’s a naturally-occurring subspecies.

This uromastyx is a subspecies of Uromastyx ornata described above. If you’re in the market for a pet uromastyx, you might see this one advertised using its subspecies name, Philbyi. They aren’t as common as some of the more plain-colored uromastyx out there, so they do tend to be a little more expensive.

42. White-Lined Gecko

White-Lined Gecko isolated on white background.
  • Latin name: Gekko vittatus
  • Habitat: Various types of habitats in the Solomon Islands, New Guinea, Indonesia, and Palau
  • Size: Up to about 10″ long
  • Diet: Mostly insects
  • Colorful feature: As the name suggests, one of the most striking features of this little gecko is the thin white line trailing down his back. It adds a pop of color against the usually-dark coloring.

Thanks to the bright white stripe, the white-lined gecko is sometimes referred to as the “skunk gecko.” However, the body isn’t black; it is usually tan or green. The tail also has a few broad white bands that match the shade of the thin white line.

43. Fiji Crested Iguana

Fiji Island Crested Iguana sitting on rock.
  • Latin name: Brachylophus vitiensis
  • Habitat: Various islands in northwestern Fiji
  • Size: Up to about 30″ long
  • Diet: Mostly various types of plants
  • Colorful feature: This lizard is a brilliant green in color with a matching crest. Males have three slender white bands crossing the body.

Not to be confused with the Fiji banded iguana, this unique reptile is considered to be critically endangered by the IUCN. It can be easy to confuse with the banded iguana at first. But remember that the Fiji banded iguana has wide powder-blue bands. The Fiji crested iguana, on the other hand, has narrower whitish bands.

44. Jaguar Carpet Python

Jungle Jaguar Carpet Python on black background.
  • Latin name: Morelia spilota
  • Habitat: Different habitat types in New Guinea, Australia, the northern Solomon Islands, and the Bismarck Archipelago.
  • Size: Up to about 13.1 feet long
  • Diet: Mostly smaller mammals, lizards, and birds
  • Colorful feature: The “jaguar” in this snake’s name is a color morph. A jaguar carpet python has dramatically reduced skin pigmentation thanks to genetics. The result is a bright yellow body with intricate black patterning you’ll need to see to believe.

Even though carpet pythons can have an imposing size, they are generally friendly and easygoing. They still may be a little advanced for the beginning reptile keeper. But if you have some experience and want a new challenge, a colorful and beautiful carpet python is a great option.

45. Mexican Alligator Lizard

Mexican Alligator Lizard sitting on rock.
  • Latin name: Abronia graminea
  • Habitat: Highlands of the Sierra Madre Oriental mountains in Mexico
  • Size: About 6″ long
  • Diet: Mostly insects and arthropods
  • Colorful feature: This lizard is very bright green with a yellow belly. It also usually has a bright yellow ring around each eye. There is also a turquoise blue morph with a white belly.

At first glance, the stunning Mexican alligator lizard looks more like a sculpture than a living animal. Its large, alligator-like scales often appear to be shaded around the edges, making its pattern especially unique and eye-catching.

46. San Francisco Garter Snake

San Francisco Garter Snake isolated on white background.
  • Latin name: Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia
  • Habitat: Various habitat types in San Mateo County and Santa Cruz County in California
  • Size: Up to 55″ long
  • Diet: Mostly frogs
  • Colorful feature: These beautiful snakes have a turquoise blue base color. It is striped in blue-green, red (sometimes orange), and black.

This especially striking snake is a subspecies of the comparatively plain-looking common garter snake. It is classified as an endangered species, although experts have trouble getting an accurate count of the wild population. That’s because San Francisco garter snakes are shy and secretive, preferring to live in marshy, secluded areas.

47. Galapagos Land Iguana

Side view of Galapagos Land Iguana.
  • Latin name: Conolophus subcristatus
  • Habitat: Dry, lowland areas of the Galapagos Islands
  • Size: Up to about 5 feet long
  • Diet: Mostly plants, although they will eat insects or carrion if these foods are readily available.
  • Colorful feature: Some of these large lizards are more colorful than others, although most have a yellow belly. As you can see in the picture, the yellow patterning on their bellies sometimes extends to their faces!

If you love to admire wildlife within a natural habitat, the Galapagos Islands are the perfect destination. While Galapagos tortoises might be their most famous reptile, the Galapagos land iguana is truly a sight to behold! Charles Darwin might disagree, as he described these reptiles as being “ugly animals” with a “singularly stupid appearance.”

48. Panther Chameleon

Panther Chameleon perched on branch.
  • Latin name: Furcifer pardalis
  • Habitat: Tropical forests in parts of Madagascar
  • Size: Up to about 20″ long
  • Diet: Mostly insects
  • Colorful feature: The panther chameleon may well be the most colorful on the list. Wild morphs can be a range of colors and patterns: they come in orange, red, green, and blue. In captivity, panther chameleons can be even more brilliantly colored as breeders develop new morphs.

The beautiful panther chameleon is certainly head-turning, and it also makes a good pet. However, these lizards only live 3-6 years on average even when they have optimal care. Females tend to have shorter lifespans, as laying eggs places substantial stress on their bodies.

49. Leopard Gecko

Leopard Gecko sitting near pond.
  • Latin name: Eublepharis macularius
  • Habitat: Deserts and grasslands in India, Nepal, Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan
  • Size: Up to about 11″ long
  • Diet: Typically invertebrates, although they will often eat small vertebrates if given the opportunity
  • Colorful feature: The leopard gecko’s natural coloration is a tan base color marked with darker brown or blackish spots. However, breeders have developed morphs in a range of colors including white, yellow, and orange.

Leopard geckos are one of the most popular pet lizards in the world. Some people even refer to them as the first domesticated lizard. They are easygoing and often like to be handled, and caring for them is relatively straightforward.

50. Costa Rican Rainbow Stripe Galliwasp

Costa Rican Rainbow Stripe Galliwasp   sitting on log.
  • Latin name: Diploglossus monotropis
  • Habitat: Forested areas of Costa Rica, Colombia, and some nearby countries
  • Size: Up to about 21″ long
  • Diet: Mostly various types of invertebrates
  • Colorful feature: These lizards are some of the brightest on the list. As you can see in the photo, they have bright red bellies. Their upperparts are dark with stripes extending down the sides. Their heads are usually bright yellow-green.

While this beautiful and unusual lizard’s population is suffering a decline. Much of this is due to deforestation, but some people in Colombia and Central America falsely believe it is venomous. If one of these lizards is threatened, it will usually try to flee. Galliwasps rarely bite humans and typically only do so if they are cornered.

51. Peninsula Cooter Turtle

Peninsula Cooter Turtle sitting in leaves.
  • Latin name: Pseudemys peninsularis
  • Habitat: Freshwater areas on Florida peninsula
  • Size: Up to about 16″ long
  • Diet: Mostly aquatic plants
  • Colorful feature: These lovely turtles have high-contrast coloring that makes them stand out. Though their bodies are dark brown or black, they have swirling bright yellow markings and yellow bellies. While their shells are not quite as bright, they also have lovely swirling markings.

Compared to many other turtles of North America, the peninsula cooter has a fairly small range. It may not be the absolute brightest reptile on the list, but its shell’s pattern is somewhat reminiscent of a snow leopard. And if you happen to see one from the bottom, you might be surprised at the very bright yellow belly!

52. Spider-Man Agama

Spider-Man Agama sitting in dirt.
  • Latin name: Agama mwanzae
  • Habitat: Semidesert areas of Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania
  • Size: Up to about 9″ long
  • Diet: Mostly insects
  • Colorful feature: Like many other agama species, only the male Spider-Man agama is colorful. These lizards are named for their colors: the blue legs and tail and red upper body are reminiscent of Spider-Man.

Thanks to its particularly stunning coloration, the Spider-Man agama has had a surge in popularity with exotic pet owners. It’s still somewhat new to the pet trade, but the fact that it’s easy to care for and relatively inexpensive may indicate that it’s here to stay. Males are almost always more expensive than females, as females tend to be relatively plain and dull in color.

53. Jewelled Lizard

Jewelled Lizard on blurry background.
  • Latin name: Timon lepidus
  • Habitat: Various habitat types on the Iberian Peninsula
  • Size: Up to about 3 feet long
  • Diet: Mostly larger insects, although it will also eat vegetation and smaller vertebrates
  • Colorful feature: As you can see in the photo, these lizards have highly intricate patterning over a green base color. The “jewelled” part of the name refers to the small, jewel-like blue spots on the back. Both males and females are patterned this way, although males are usually a bit brighter.

This lizard is sometimes called a “jeweled lacerta,” especially when it is sold as a pet. Though it was once part of the cuisine of Extremadura, Spain, this lizard is now classified as being near threatened by the IUCN.

Nature’s Most Colorful Reptiles

Whether you have a pet reptile or hope to catch a glimpse of one in the wild or at a zoo, we hope that these remarkable animals can add some color to your life. Nearly anywhere you go, a colorful reptile is sure to be nearby!