Galapagos Lava Lizard

These friendly lizards will welcome you to the Galapagos


The friendly Galapagos Lava Lizard is the most common reptile found throughout the Galapagos Islands. After just a few of your shore excursions on a Galapatours cruise you’ll be very familiar with these “miniature iguanas” that can be seen basking all over the islands.

The Galapagos Lava Lizard averages around 10 inches (25cm) in length, and they can range in color from grey through to greens and browns - rarely you may find one that’s black, see if you can spot one of these on your trip! Males are usually bigger than females, and can be recognised by the crest that runs along the length of their backs.

One particularly interesting behaviour occurs between competing males defending their territories. If two face off against each other, rather than going straight in for a potentially damaging physically attack, they start doing pushups to each other! They do this to try and look bigger and stronger, hopefully putting off the challenger. Two equally matched males might start to fight using tail slaps or even bites. These push up displays often happen on man made structures like gate posts or signs - this can create some amazing photo opportunities, and your expert Galapatours guides will be sure to point out any of this fascinating behaviour when they see it.

Galapagos Lava Lizards are seen all year round and are active in the day time. They are mainly found in the lowlands, and often on the warm rocks of the shore line, darting amongst the Galapagos Marine Iguanas. Although not specifically at risk, like many of the Galapagos native species their populations can be dramatically impacted by strong El Nino and other climate events exacerbated by global warming.

Photos of the Galapagos Lava Lizard

Fast Facts about the Galapagos Lava Lizard

  • Lava lizards vary in color from mottled grey through to stunning combinations like gold and black
  • There are 7 different species of lava lizard spread throughout the islands
  • Lava lizards will often change their color if they are threatened, or if the temperature suddenly changes
  • Lava lizards are cannibals, and quite often eat each other!

Where can the Galapagos Lava Lizard be seen?

Map Loading

All cruises to visit the Galapagos Lava Lizard