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Iguana vs Gecko Differences and Comparison

Iguana vs Gecko Differences and Comparison

The word reptile frightens many people as people relate it to crawling-creepy animals. However, reptile interests many people too; if you are one of them then this article is for you. What would happen if two lizard species, Iguana and gecko encounter each other?? Who would win the reptile fight?? To determine the winner; let’s know about them.

Physical Traits: gecko vs iguana

How do Geckos and Iguana look like?

green iguana in zoo
Green Iguana in the wild

As Iguanas and Geckos are reptiles they are cold-blooded. Geckos don’t have eyelids rather they have a transparent membrane which they clean by licking it while lizards have external ears and retractable eyelids.While geckos can expel some foul-smelling compound to distract their aggressor when they under threat or attack, iguanas don’t have such a defense.Geckos have bulbous toe pads covered with millions of microscopic hairs called setae which provide them ability to climb vertical surfaces and ceilings easily whereas iguanas cannot climb straight vertical walls as they have clawed feet.

Both species can regrow their tails. They use it as another defense system; when the gecko or iguana is attacked by the predator they detach their tail; while the detached tail continues to wiggle and distract the predator, it provides them time to escape and to save themselves. However, geckos grow their tail much faster than iguanas; it takes around 30 days for the gecko to regrow a functional tail whereas iguanas need 2 months to a year.

Eating Habit: gecko vs iguana

What is Geckos favorite food?

Geckos are nocturnal i.e. they prefer to hunt during the night. Their diet consist of small insects,king mealworms, butterflies, beetles, millipedes, crickets, caterpillars, etc. sometimes they eat small geckos too. Geckos are cannibalistic; they can eat individuals of the same species.

What is Iguanas favorite food?

Iguanas have a wide variety of food in comparison to geckos which includes fruits, vegetation, mealworms, small insects, eggs, birds, carrion, etc. Mostly iguanas live of fresh leafy greens in the wild, while Green pet iguanas require a varied diet of leafy greens, vegetables and fruits. collard greens, mustard greens, dandelion, mulberry leaves, fresh peas.

leapord gecko in wild
Leopard Gecko in Captivity

Geographical Distribution and Habitat:

Where do we find Iguanas?

Green Iguanas are native to Central and South America; they are found in Mexico, Paraguay, Brazil, and Caribbean Islands, Hawaii. Green Iguanas are arboreal; they live in high branches of the tree’s canopy. Iguanas prefer to live close to water; they are excellent swimmers, to avoid the predators they often dive in the water.

Where do Geckos live?

Geckos live in various habitats that include rain forests, deserts, and mountains.Geckos are found on all continents except Antarctica.


How does Geckos reproduce?

The Geckos lay around 8-10 eggs mostly between May and August as they prefer a warm climate. Geckos lay eggs under dark and slightly moist places such as crevices, sheds, woodpiles, etc. Most lizards lay their eggs in the nest while some of them give birth to young ones. Both geckos and iguanas relinquish their eggs after laying them and they don’t take care of their young ones.

Do iguanas reproduce sexually or asexually?

Iguanas reproduce yearly After reaching adulthood or sexual maturity. Green iguanas mature during after 2nd year and live around 10-12 years,on the contrary large land adult iguana lives attains adulthood at 10 years, and may live upto 40 years.

How many eggs does iguana lay?

Female adult iguanas can produce bunch of infertile eggs without males. They lay eggs normally an their quantity varies based on iguana breeds.
Green iguana can lay 20 to 71 eggs at a time;
Marine iguanacan lay upto 6 eggs;
Blue iguana can lay Upto 21 eggs.

Amazing Fun Facts for kids:

Some interesting facts about Geckos?

  • Geckos can make chirping, squeaks, and clicking and screaming sounds unlike pet lizards which rarely make any sound.
  • Geckos have soft thin skin having small bumps on them while lizards have slight hard, dry, and scaly skin.
  • Gecko species have one of the smallest reptiles in the world; Sphaerodactylus parthenopion is only one and a half inches long.
  • Gecko doesn’t always lose their tail if their tail gets injured it heals and sometimes another tail grows there which makes gecko two-tailed.
  • Gecko hunts on motion perception if an insect moves then only gecko attacks it. 

Some interesting facts about Iguanas?

  • Like pet lizards Iguana’s can detach their tails and regrows another in a short period of time. (Limb regeneration )
  • Iguana’s got excellent eyesight allowing them to spot prey or detect danger a long way away.
  • Iguana’s are classed as omnivores but they tend to stick to an herbivorous diet and that’s why can be tamed.
  • Some lizards like the Komodo dragon can hunt deer and buffaloes too.

What is the difference between a chameleon and an Iguana?

The difference between chameleons and iguanas and is that iguanas are herbivores that live on land and treetops, while chameleons are carnivores that live mainly on branches. Chameleons can change their skin color of as per surroundings to camouflage from predators while iguanas doesn’t posses this ability.

Do geckos need a basking light?

Since geckos are nocturnal, they don’t bask in the light like other reptiles.Their lights should be on during day time while they’re sleeping, and off at night while they’re awake. 75W to 100W UVB lighting bulb will serve the purpose of maintaining an ambience of 85-90°F on hotter side while the cool side of tank should be at around 75° F. vivariums humidity level should be between 30-40% for geckos.

Do Iguanas need a bask?

Green iguanas are especially adapted to basking, so they might get badly hurt in case they are on an extreme hot rock. pet iguanas too love basking for hours a day, but they also require cooling down time.UVA/UVB lighting 85-95°F while active and 70-79°F while resting.

Reptile Duel: Who would win?

Iguanas are strictly herbivorous whereas geckos can be carnivorous while some species are omnivorous. But, when it comes to duel iguana has the upper hand as it is quite bigger in size and has clawed feet. It can kill gecko in just a blow; the only protection gecko has to spray its stinky liquid and run away. As they leave the arena, it all boils down to Iguana being the winner of the duel Iguana vs Gecko.

Comparison Chart: Iguana vs Gecko

Comparison Heads Iguana Gecko
Kingdom Animalia Animalia
Phylum Chordata Chordata
Class Reptilia Reptilia
Order Squamata Squamata
Suborder Iguania Lacertilia
Genus Iguana Gekko
Weight 4-14 kg 60-90 gms
Body Length 5-7 feet 1.2-6 inch
Geographic Distribution Central and South America All Continents except Antarctica
Habitat They live on trees close to water. Rain forests, deserts, and mountains
Lifespan About 20 years 10-20 years

FAQ’S: Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is it Ok to touch a leopard gecko?

    House geckos can’t bite hard enough because of smaller teeth insufficient to puncture human skin so it’s safe to hold the gecko with bare hands as long as you hold them gently.

  • Do iguanas have a third eye?

    Iguanas do have a so called “third eye” on the top of their heads. better known as the parietal eye.

  • Do geckos carry any diseases?

    snakes, geckos, toads,Turtles, frogs, iguanas,salamanders,chameleons are often kept as pets. they frequently carry bacteria called Salmonella that may cause serious illness in people.

  • Can geckos smile?

    Geckos mouth are shaped like a smile, This gives them the illusion of a fixed smile on their face.

  • Do iguanas and geckos like being petted?

    Yes both like to be be tamed, they are very friendly reptiles.leopard gecko are favorite unique pet animals in USA.

  • Do geckos scream?

    Geckos makes both screaming and screeching sound while in defensive mode.