Croaking Lizard: 13 Facts You Won't Forget!

Discover fascinating croaking lizard facts about its sound, body, habitat, distribution, and more!

Did you know there is a lizard found in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands that leaves an imprint of whoever's skin it crawls upon? There indeed is! The croaking lizard, Aristelliger praesignis, is a lizard that is widely feared in Jamaica. Its sound alone has the ability to scare people off and empty a room! It is a gecko species that is a member of the Sphaerodactylidae family. Commonly known as the Jamaican croaking gecko, the Jamaican croaking lizard, the woodslave, and the croaking lizard, this species is endemic to the Cayman Islands and Jamaica. Among the Cayman Islands and Jamaica, these geckos can be seen in the Morant Cays, the Pedro Cays, and the Bogue Islands. This species is a semi-arboreal, nocturnal (active at night), and large species of gecko that is indigenous to Swan Island, the Cayman Islands, and Jamaica. It has an interesting appearance that helps it in camouflaging excellently. It has pale skin, black beady eyes, small feet, and stubby legs. Their breeding is also quite captivating as the male produces certain sounds to which the female responds vocally. If she agrees to mate, she lays one egg every seven days in the breeding season. Keep reading to crawl deeper into the reptilian world of croaking lizards!

If you enjoyed reading our croaking lizard fun facts, you must check out our Texas spiny lizard surprising facts and crevice spiny lizard facts for kids next!

Croaking Lizard

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Insects and arthropods

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

1 egg twice a year

How much do they weigh?


How long are they?

Body: 2.5-3.3 in (6.3-8.3 cm)

Tail: 5.1 in (13 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Brown, white, and black

Skin Type

Dry scales

What are their main threats?

Pest extermination

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Forested areas


Jamaica including the Bogue Islands, the Morant Cays, the Pedro Cays, and the Cayman Islands





Scientific Name

Aristelliger praesignis





Croaking Lizard Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a croaking lizard?

The Jamaica croaking lizard is a renowned lizard of Jamaica. It is famous for the sounds it makes and the imprint it leaves on the skin of humans.

What class of animal does a croaking lizard belong to?

The lizard belongs to the class Reptilia and is a member of the family Sphaerodactylidae. Another lizard species, A. nelsoni, is considered to be an A. praesignis subspecies.

How many croaking lizards are there in the world?

The population of croaking lizards has not been evaluated yet. However, the population trend of these lizards is stable. Croaking lizards do not face any significant threats in Jamaica or the Cayman Islands. The species' population is abundant there despite pest extermination services.

Where does a croaking lizard live?

This lizard is found on the Cayman Islands and on the gorgeous island of Jamaica, on the Morant Cays, the Pedro Cays, and the Bogue Islands.

What is a croaking lizard's habitat?

This species is arboreal, implying that it lives in trees, and it is nocturnal (active at night). It can be spotted in forested areas, such as on ficus and beneath rotten trees' bark. It can also be spotted in thatched dwellings, cliff overhangs, scrub habitats, old buildings, rock piles, bromeliads, and wall crevices.

Who do croaking lizards live with?

Croaking lizards (Aristelliger praesignis) live in a community. However, they do show some signs of territorial behavior. Interestingly, this lizard shares communal nests where eggs are laid that have hard shells. If this lizard moves into someone's house, they are known to invite over others of the same species as well.

How long does a croaking lizard live?

The lifespan of these creatures is not known yet. However, the average life span of lizards is 10 years.

How do they reproduce?

A. praesignis is an oviparous species (egg-laying species). Females lay only one egg in a clutch, twice each year. These eggs are sticky usually. They are laid in open land, in the back of fronds, in hollows, in trees, or beneath the bark. They are laid in a communal nest or in a single nest where they go through the incubation process for three months approximately.

What is their conservation status?

These lizards of Jamaica have been classified under the Least Concern category by the IUCN.

Croaking Lizard Fun Facts

What do croaking lizards look like?

The croaking lizard has pale skin, with the dorsal side (upper side) being brown in color with dark markings and the ventral side being whitish in color. They have black beady eyes and small stubby legs. They range between 2.5-3.3 in (6.3-8.3 cm) in snout-to-vent length with the tail measuring 5.1 in (13 cm)!

For the croaking lizard, Jamaica is its home and it has black beady eyes and small stubby legs!

How cute are they?

These Jamaican lizards are anything but cute. The typical Jamaica croaking lizard sound and sight are quite scary in fact, and will make many people run away! They also have a generally displeasing appearance.

How do they communicate?

Croaking lizards chirp (also referred to as a bark) as both a courtship display and as a display of territorial behavior. They will vocalize to help attract females or ward off males. They utilize pheromones as well to attract a female mate. If the female is interested, she will let the male breed with her. Males also vocalize while fighting with another male over territory.

These Jamaican lizards make loud croaking sounds at night. These croaking lizards (Aristelliger praesignis) croak in a chorus which can become quite annoying for Jamaicans trying to sleep at night. There isn't much we can do to quieten these little creatures who are compared to be as bold as a dog as they are not afraid of light, shoes, and even insect spray! These Jamaican lizards' sounds include various clicks, chirps, and squeaks too, and some of their sounds can even sound inaudible to people.

How big is a croaking lizard?

Surprisingly, this lizard can pretend to be bigger than its size! They can carry a weight 40 times their own bodyweight on a vertical surface! They range between 2.5-3.3 in (6.3-8.3 cm) in snout-to-vent length and their tail can be about 5.1 in (13 cm) long. They are half the size of lava lizards!

How fast can a croaking lizard move?

These lizards are quite large so they cannot depend upon surface tension and are unable to run on the surface of the water. However, they still run at a good speed of 196.8 ft/s (1 m/s). These geckos walk on foot pads that are well-developed.

How much does a croaking lizard weigh?

The weight of this lizard has not been evaluated yet. However, given their small size, we can assume they are lightweight, weighing next-to-nothing.

What are their male and female names of the species?

They do not have any particular names based on their gender.

What would you call a baby croaking lizard?

A baby lizard can be referred to as a hatchling.

What do they eat?

These Jamaican lizards mainly feed upon insects and arthropods. All species of lizards are mainly preyed upon by hawks, dogs, wolves, snakes, birds, and larger lizards. These Jamaican lizards ward off predators using a hissing sound, which is their typical defensive display.

Are they poisonous?

These Jamaican lizards are not poisonous, however, whilst these geckos are not poisonous they are still very scary due to the imprint they leave on the skin. They can withstand brooms, light, insect spray, and shoes and will make many people run away at the mere sight of them!

Would they make a good pet?

No, they wouldn't make good pets. They make croaking sounds all night and will not let anyone in the house sleep. And if they were to escape their cage in a human's house, professional help would be needed to catch them.

Did you know...

These croaking lizards are named after Latin words 'prae' which means 'before' and 'signe' which means 'mark'. They were named so mainly due to their coloration and pattern.

There are about 5000 species of lizards that are known to make sounds, with the geckos being the most vocal.

What noises do lizards make?

Lizards make various clicks, chirps, squeaks, but these sounds can be inaudible to people as well. They vocalize to attract females or ward off males.

Are croaking lizards nocturnal?

Yes, these lizards from Jamaica are nocturnal. Being nocturnal means that these creatures are active during the night.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles from our South American rattlesnake surprising facts and Eastern diamondback water snake fun facts pages!

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable snake coloring pages!

* Please note that this is an image of the Saint George Island gecko, not the croaking lizard. If you have an image of a croaking lizard, please let us know at



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