Green Spiny Lizard

Save as favorite

Avg. Owner Satisfaction


(2 Reviews)

Species group:

Other common names: Spiny Lizard, Green Lizard, Scorpion Lizard, Emerald Swift

Scientific name: Sceloporus malachiticus

The basics:
Green Spiny Lizards are found in Southern Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Panama). They inhabit open, sunny locations among trees, rocky areas, pastures and clearings, as well as urban and suburban buildings, gardens, and surroundings.

Appearance / health:
Green Spiny Lizards are indeed green and spiny (keeled scales) throughout most of the body. The face has smooth scales, and the tail and head are oftentimes a bright metallic blue. Coloration changes from green to blue to yellow green or black, getting lighter as the temperature rises. Males average 8 inches in length; females slightly smaller. Males also have brighter colors (sometimes having bluish patches on the sides, and a wider head and tail base.

Behavior / temperament:
These lizards are highly territorial and aggressive towards other males. Like most lizards, they are skittish and run to hide when threatened. They are diurnal (active in the daytime). Because of their exotic colors and relative ease of care and feeding, the Green Spiny Lizard is popular in the pet trade.

A medium woodland terrarium with climbing branches is best for the Green Spiny Lizard. A rear wall that can be climbed is recommended. A shallow water dish is a must. Hiding places must also be provided on the ground because this lizard is both terrestrial and arboreal. A dry sandy substrate is recommended, with a small corner slightly damp to help with humidity levels. Substrate and décor should allow burrowing for hiding. Day temp: 77-86F; night temp: 59-68F; basking temp: 95F; humidity: 50-80%; lighting 14 hours, UV radiation required.

Because Green Spiny Lizards are territorial, they are best kept in pairs or in a group with only one male. Because of their attractive colors and ease of care and feeding, these lizards are popular in the pet trade. Under optimum conditions, they are expected to live for 3-5 years.

The primary diet of Green Spiny Lizards is insects like cockroaches, crickets, grasshoppers, moths and their larvae. On occasion, they will eat vegetation (leaves and flowers), and tiny or pinkie rodents. Mineral-dusted and gut-loaded crickets help provide proper nutrition.

Green Spiny Lizards give birth to live young. One litter would be from 6 to 15 in one season.


brilliant green backs, bright blue undersides, little speedster


large enclosure


driftwood perches, hot basking temperatures

Member photos