Curly Tailed Lizard: 21 Facts You Won’t Believe!

Interesting curly tailed lizard facts for everyone.

The northern curly tailed lizard (Leiocephalus carinatus) is a lizard species native to the Bahamas. It belongs to the family Leiocephalidae. The curly tailed lizard habitat includes urban forests and beaches. Popularly known as an invasive species in Florida, it was introduced to control pests of sugar cane in this region. In specific species, females are smaller than males. It is generally known as a curly tailed animal because the tail curls over its sternum.

The curly tailed lizard diet consists of insects, smaller vertebrates, green vegetables, flowers, and fruits. This reptile is known to eat the other species of lizards, such as the anole lizard. Usually brown or green in color, it has the ability to hide in the sand. It is a great climber and moves very fast on various surfaces. Some people find lizards interesting, while some find them scary and develop a phobia. For those who would love to know more about these creatures or those who want to overcome their fear of lizards, you can check out these Texas horned lizard facts and collard lizard facts.

Curly Tailed Lizard

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Insects, flowers, fruits, and small vertebrates

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

3-4 eggs

How much do they weigh?


How long are they?

4.1 in (10.5 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Brown, gray, green, white, and yellow

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Predators and urban development

What is their conservation status?

Least concern

Where you'll find them

Urban forest, arid forest, beach or sea coast


The Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Florida, and Cuba





Scientific Name

Leiocephalus carinatus





Curly Tailed Lizard Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a curly tailed lizard?

The L. carinatus is a type of lizard species, from the family Leiocephalidae, which are native to the Bahamas and Cayman Islands.

What class of animal does a curly tailed lizard belong to?

The L. carinatus belongs to the class Reptilia, and from the phylum Chordata.

How many curly tailed lizards are there in the world?

The total population size of L. carinatus has not been defined yet.

Where does a curly tailed lizard live?

The L. carinatus is a xerophilic (arid loving) creature native to the Bahamas, Cuba, and the Cayman Islands. In the '40s, this invasive species was introduced to Palm Beach in Florida to control pests of the sugar cane crop. It spread to other parts of the state.

What is a curly tailed lizard's habitat?

It is native to the Bahamas. The main habitat in this region includes arid and urban forest regions, where there is easy access to rocks to use as shelters. It is also found on beaches where it buries itself in the sand after sunset. However, there is a disadvantage of this habitat as the lizard becomes an easy target to animals and birds. To save itself, it uses the curling and uncurling of the tail as a defense mechanism. Sometimes, it also plays dead to fool its predators. If you want to keep an L. carinatus as a pet then you will need an area with a lot of insects which is an important factor during the breeding season. In coastal areas, it is simple to attract this reptile. You need to construct a pile of rock or rock house, if there is a curly tail reptile nearby, it will probably come and check it out.

Who do curly tailed lizards live with?

It is unknown whether L. carinatus lives alone or in groups.

How long does a curly tailed lizard live?

The maximum longevity of the northern curly tailed lizard (Leiocephalus carinatus) is about 10.8 years.

How do they reproduce?

In captivity, curly tail lizards require appropriate humidity and temperature to mate and lay eggs. Once the females lay their eggs, collect and place them immediately in a large cup with a sufficient amount of moist vermiculite. In the wild, females lay eggs at the end of summer. If there is more than one male, they will argue or fight for the female or even their territory. Males usually terrorize each other by curling and uncurling their tails, while trying to attract females. Females lay their eggs in the rocky shelter in their natural habitat.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), the status of the northern curly tailed lizards has been listed as Least Concern. The main threat to these reptiles is predators, such as dogs, cats, and rodents. Additionally, there is an increase in demand for species L. carinatus as pets, which further endangered the population of these animals. These lizards are abundantly present in their native place but also survive in large populations in Florida.

Curly Tailed Lizard Fun Facts

What do curly tailed lizards look like?

The maximum length of males is 7.8 in (20 cm), whereas females are relatively smaller than males. Like other reptiles, the body texture is scaly but also glossy. The color of the body may vary from brown to green or it can be a mixture of two colors. The body may have asymmetrical spots and stripes. Their belly is whiteish yellow. Males possess a throat fan. They also have bigger heads than females. These lizards have a lifespan of around eight years and more.

This lizard has curly tails with dark brown to grayish body coloration.

How cute are they?

With their short size and curly tails, the northern curly tail lizards look adorable and cute.

How do they communicate?

The northern curly tail lizards (Leiocephalus carinatus) communicate through their tails. They curl and uncurl the tails to terrorize their predators or during fights with other males of their species to attract females. 'Playing dead' is also on their list when handled by humans.

How big is a curly tailed lizard?

The height of a Leiocephalus carinatus is 4.1 in (10.5 cm), which is five times bigger than a grasshopper.

How fast can a curly tailed lizard move?

The exact walking or climbing speed of the northern curly tail reptiles is unclear. However, it is a fast moving reptile that can climb easily on any surface.

How much does a curly tailed lizard weigh?

The weight of a Leiocephalus carinatus is unknown.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no male and female name of species L. carinatus, separately.

What would you call a baby curly tailed lizard?

Like other lizard species, the baby L. carinatus is generally known as a young or offspring.

What do they eat?

The curly tailed lizard's diet mainly consists of food like insects, such as crickets, grasshoppers, waxworms, and mealworms. Apart from insects, these lizards also feed on other lizards, including Anole lizards. They can also eat green leafy vegetables and fruits. Flowers like the Beach Morning Glory or Railroad vine can also be given to them to eat but not every day. In captivity, one must remove uneaten food from the tank and also take out the curly tail lizard poop as they like a clean environment.

Are they poisonous?

No, the L. carinatus species is not dangerous or poisonous. In fact, the northern curly tailed lizards are shy and require special care in captivity. They do not bite, but they can also bite when threatened, and their claws are small but sharp. So, one must be careful when holding them.

Would they make a good pet?

Curly tail lizards, Leiocephalus carinatus, are one of the most popular pet reptiles in the world. They are non dangerous animals that are simple to keep in tanks. In the American pet trade, the populations are generally collected from Florida.

Did you know...

Sometimes, the northern curly tailed lizards bite when it becomes aggressive or feels threatened. However, the curly tail lizard bite is non dangerous.

It got its name due to its curly tail.

Where do curly tail lizards sleep?

Yes, northern curly tailed lizards are native to the Bahamas that sleep between rocks or branches. Sometimes, they bury themselves in the sand and sleep there.

Are curly tail lizards invasive?

Yes, northern curly tails lizards are an invasive species in Florida. They were introduced in Florida to control pests but slowly spread to about 11 counties in Florida. The palm beach in Florida is their favorite place.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these reticulated python facts and gopher snake facts pages.

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



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