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Giant Amevia

Giant Amervia Kelly Carregal Florida non-native lizards

Amevia amevia                                                 Photo Kelly Carregal ©

This 18 inch to 2-foot long lizard is sometimes kept as a pet, and was probably introduced to South Florida via the pet trade. They have become established and now breed in fields, parks and on canal banks in Broward, Dade, and Palm Beach counties. Native to Central and South America, these alert, active lizards are also called green whiptails or Jungle Runners in the pet trade. The long whip like tail makes up nearly 2/3 of this lizards total length.

There are two distinct color morphs. The dusky color morph has a charcoal to blue gray back with pale blue, yellowish or whiteish spots, the green-rumped color morph have green backs or backs that are green near the head and tan colored towards the tail. The sides are speckled with dark edged white spots.

These lizards are often seen basking in the sun, but they are very fast and can run on their hind legs. They dig burrows, which they use as at night.


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