Are Lizards Faster Than Humans? What is the Speed of a Lizard?

Lizards are naturally fast species judging from their great speed and movement. Their speed varies with the specie, as the smaller lizards are usually seen darting over short distances.

It’s either they are running away from predators, or they are after prey. Some bigger lizards are also fast, sprinting up to 12 mph. Let’s see how fast the lizards can move and if they are faster than humans or not.

Are Lizards Faster Than Humans?

No, lizards are not faster than humans. A lizard can run up to 21 miles per hour. However, humans are pretty quick and can run up to 27.5 miles per hour.

Over the years, the lizard species have evolved to be great sprinters, moving as fast as 12mph. The smallest lizards like the Nano Chameleon move the fastest.

They quickly dart over short distances and are found running around the house. When they are not after prey, they are running from being caught by a predator.

On the other hand, humans move faster. They can run as fast as 40mph.

Why Do Lizards Move?

Just like other reptile species, lizards move from place to place. This could be for a variety of reasons namely;

To escape from predators

The lizards move from one distance to another in a bid to escape from their predators. Most times, they move on ceilings or on walls to escape being found on the ground. Some of their predators include; wolves, snakes, dogs, and hawks.

To find food

Lizards feed on insects such as crickets, hornworms, mealworms, leafy greens, plants, and vegetables. In other to get access to these food items, lizards need to move. Most times, they move with speed when they are in pursuit of insects.

To find shield

Although lizards move throughout the day, their speeds tend to increase during the hot afternoons. This is when they look for a shield from the sun. A study on their movement shows that lizards are diurnal animals and are most active in the daylight or warm summer hours.

How Do Lizards Move?

Lizards move by bending their body from one side to the other as they walk or run. Their movements are diagonal with the right foot moving with the left hind, and the left fore moving with the right hind.

Since they possess four legs, they move or run with them. However, some lizard species are called ‘legless lizards’. They move by crawling on their belly.

Here are the various ways lizards move:


Running lizard

The figure below shows how a lizard moves while running.

Here, the left fore is seen moving forward together with the right hind.

Also, the right fore and the left hind are static on the ground.

Next, the lizard starts running by the movement of the leg joints, hip, and shoulder. Most importantly, running is greatly influenced by the back and leg muscles.


Crawling lizard

Crawling is another form of movement found in lizards.

A lizard’s movement against walls and ground can be referred to as crawling.

Here, they move with their forefoot and hind legs with their belly touching the ground.


Climbing lizard

Lizards love to climb especially when in search of food.

They possess suction pads beneath their legs, and this creates a form of suction.

Resultantly, the suction pads create a vacuum that helps lizards’ bodies to stick to the wall when climbing.


jumping lizard

When in high walls or trees, the lizards tend to either jump down or into another place.

Also, lizards jump when in fright as this increases their chances of escape.

Since they are easily attacked by predators, they jump to escape from their predators.

In addition, they jump up to 20 feet down or up to catch prey. This way, the prey is taken by surprise.

How Far Do Lizards Move?

Most lizards move as far as 60 meters (200 feet). The forest-dwelling Draco and the Sonoran black iguana move the farthest.

They move long distances by running, jumping, gliding, and climbing. Interestingly, their tails are of great help during these movements as it helps them in locomotion and balance.

Which Type of Lizards Move Faster?

The following species of lizards move the fastest; Sonoran black Iguana, Bearded dragon, Green Iguana, and Komodo dragon.

Let’s take a look at them!

Sonoran Black Iguana

No doubt, the Sonoran black Iguana is the fastest lizard in the world. It can move at the speed of 40 miles per hour and is native to the Sonoran desert.

Bearded dragon

This species of lizard is found in Australia such as deserts, Savannah, woodlands, and shrublands. While the females grow up to 20 inches, the male counterparts are about 24 inches. This facilitates their speed as they move at 40 mph.

Green Iguana

The green Iguana is native to central and South Africa and the Caribbean. No doubt, the Iguanas are agile climbers with a speed of 35 mph.

Komodo dragon

This species is native to the Indonesian Islands of Komodo, Flores, and Rinca. With a height of 10ft, the Komodo dragon has a speed of 21 mph.

Below is a table showing these lizards, and their maximum speed recorded.

Rank  AnimalMaximum recorded speed
1  Sonoran black Iguana40
2Bearded dragon  40
3Green Iguana35  
4Komodo dragon21  


To sum up, humans are naturally faster than lizards. While a lizard moves up to 21 mph, humans move at 27.5 mph. However, lizards are one of the fastest reptiles with the Sonoran black Iguana being the fastest lizard. When they are not running away from their predators, lizards are either looking for food or a shield.

Usually, lizards move by running, climbing, gliding, and crawling. They do these movements with their fore and hind legs. Some species like the green and black Iguana, bearded dragon, and Komodo dragon move the fastest.

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