Are you as fond of lizards as we are?
Then stick with us, as we will be listing the largest lizards ever in this very article.
The largest lizards in the world are:
- Komodo dragons
- Asian water monitors
- Crocodile monitors
- Nile monitors
- Lace monitors
- Rock monitors
- Bengal monitors
There are some pretty awesome lizards in the world.
Are you ready to find out what makes them so special?
Then check out the following section of this article, where we’ll be giving you the low down on large lizards and smaller lizards alike.
Table of Contents
8 Largest Lizards in the World
Are you fascinated by lizards?
You’re not alone!
We too are impressed by these agile and fascinating reptiles. But not only are they speedy, but some of them are massive too!
Are you ready to find out more about some of the biggest lizards out there?
Then you’ve come to the right place as coming up next we’ll answer the following questions and more.
What is the largest lizard in the world? Is it venomous? Where does it live?
Let’s start the ball rolling with the biggest and heaviest lizard species.
#1 Komodo Dragon – the Biggest Lizard In the World
Yeah, you guessed it! The Komodo dragon wins the prize for being the biggest lizard in the world.
Just how big are we talking?
Komodo dragons generally grow up to 3 meters long or 9.8 feet. But it’s not just the length of the Komodo dragon that is astonishing.
Take a look at the following Komodo dragon facts that are just as gobsmacking.
- The adult male Komodo dragon can weigh up to 91 kg (201 lbs), and the female can weigh up to 73 kg (161 lbs).
- The Komodo dragon has a venomous bite, one so powerful it can envenom a water buffalo. Imagine tucking into one of those for supper!
- These large lizards live on Indonesian islands. You cannot find them anywhere else in the world.
- Komodo dragons use their forked tongue to smell. Their sense of smell is fantastic; they can “sniff” out their prey from 4 kilometers away. Fancy having a sense of smell like that when you’re looking for the nearest bakery!
- They eat small mammals like deer, pigs, and goats.
- Young dragons take 8 to 9 years to mature.
#2 Asian Water Monitor
So, what’s the second largest lizard?
The second-place prize goes to the Asian water monitor lizard, which also goes by the name Malayan water monitor. This large lizard is the second largest in the world.
How big is it?
The male Asian water monitor generally grows up to 2.4 meters (8 feet) long, and the female grows up to 1.2 meters or 4 feet long. Yep, these lizards are huge and not to be messed with!
The Asian water monitor (Varanus Salvator) stands out for many more reasons. Here are just some of them.
- The Asian water monitor lizard has a venomous bite. That’s right; you don’t want to end up in this lizard’s bad books!
- It is native to south and south east Asia. This includes India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and other parts of Southeast Asia.
- The Malayan water monitor weighs, on average, 16 to 20kg (35 to 44 lbs).
- These large lizards have muscular bodies, are carnivorous, and love to eat decaying flesh, young crocodiles, and fish.
#3 Crocodile Monitor
So, who will win the bronze medal for the largest lizard on the planet?
Give it up for the Crocodile monitor! The Crocodile monitor is the 3rd largest lizard on earth.
How large is it?
Well, it’s no exaggeration that these monitor lizards are the 3rd largest in the world, as they can grow up to 2.4 meters long (8 feet). In fact, their tails alone can count for up to two-thirds of their length!
These lizards are no match for the Komodo dragon, but we still don’t fancy getting on the wrong side of one of them!
Here are some of our favorite facts about the Crocodile monitor.
- The Crocodile monitor lizard can live for up to 20 years.
- It can weigh up to 90 kg (200 lbs).
- The Crocodile monitor gets its name because of its flat serrated teeth that are similar to those of crocodilians. It uses those teeth to eat small mammals, birds, and eggs.
- These Crocodile monitor lizards can climb trees with the help of their study tail which they use for balance. That’s why it also goes by the name Tree crocodile.
- This lizard is endemic to New Guinea.
#4 Nile Monitor
The next prize goes to the Nile monitor. Nile monitors are the 4th largest lizards on the planet.
4th place might not seem like much of a big deal. But, the average length of the Nile monitor might make you think otherwise.
So, how big is this large lizard?
The Nile monitor (Varanus niloticus) can grow up to 1.7 meters (5.5 feet). However, exceptionally large specimens can reach up to 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) in length!
The Nile monitor is among some of the largest lizards on the planet. Here’s why we’re so fond of them.
- This is the largest species of lizard native to Africa and is mostly found in sub-Saharan Africa and along the Nile.
- They can remain underwater for over an hour.
- The Nile monitor has a long tail that can grow to over a meter in length. This serves as a counterweight and helps it to swim faster. They can run on land at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour and paddle through water even faster. You might be a confident swimmer, but you’re going to want to leave the water if you catch sight of one of these guys.
- They are the second largest reptile in the Nile river.
- They eat small mammals, fish, snails, and frogs.
- They are an invasive species in Florida.
Also on our list of the largest lizards alive right now are Perenties. Perenties are the 5th biggest lizards in the world.
How long are these guys?
Perenties are the 5th longest lizards in the world. This is because their average length is 1.7 to 2 meters (5.7 to 6.6 feet).
- Perentie is the largest living lizard native to Australia. It is most common in Western Australia, South Australia, the Northern Territory, and Queensland.
- The Perentie lizard has sharp claws and a very strong, long tail and hind legs.
- You will find them in rocky outcroppings, gorges, and desert areas.
- They eat carrion and other small animals like rats and rabbits. But they also eat other animals that are considerably larger, like kangaroos and wombats. Yep, this lizard has quite the appetite!
#6 Lace Monitor Lizard
Who will win a very respectable 6th place prize on our scale of the biggest lizards in the world?
None other than the Lace monitor, it is the 6th largest species of lizard alive right now.
Ok, he’s smaller than the Komodo dragon as he measures, on average, just 1.5 meters (4.8 feet). But that doesn’t make the Lace monitor any less impressive.
Here are some reasons why.
- The Lace Monitor (Varanus varius) can live for up to 20 years.
- It is native to eastern Australia, South Australia, and New South Wales.
- Like other monitor lizards, the Lace monitor has a venomous bite.
- These squamate reptiles may cover up to 3 kilometers a day looking for food. Now here’s a lizard that’s not afraid to travel to make sure he gets a good dinner.
#7 Rock Monitor
Now we’re down to number 7. That is the 7th largest species of lizard in the world.
Is it small?
By no means!
Rock monitors are the 7th largest living lizards in the world. While their average length is 1 to 1.5 meters (3.3 to 5 feet), they can grow up to 2 meters (6.6 feet).
Here are some of our favorite facts about the Rock monitor.
- The Rock monitor is endemic to East, Southern, and Central Africa.
- In Central Africa and other parts of the continent, the lizard goes by the name Leguaan or sometimes Likkewaan.
- The Rock monitor typically weighs between 3 and 8 kg (6.6 and 17.6 lbs). Adult males weigh about 6 to 8 kg, and females weigh 3.2 to 5 kg.
- A large portion of their diet consists of tortoises which they swallow whole! Fancy trying to digest a shell like that before bedtime!
- These types of squamate reptiles are prone to tick infestations in their nasal passages.
#8 Bengal Monitor
This next lizard is last on our list, but by no means the least.
The Bengal monitor is the 8th biggest lizard in the world.
How big is lizard number 8?
It can reach 1.8 meters, but its average length is anywhere between 0.61 and 1.8 meters (2 and 6 feet). Here are some interesting facts about the Bengal monitor.
- The Bengal monitor is native to Southeast Asia and West Asia.
- They don’t have many predators, but humans hunt them for their meat.
- They can weigh up to 7.2 kg (15.9 lbs).
- The young Bengal monitor is more colorful than the adult.
Types Of Big Lizards
Do you love big lizards just as much as we do?
Then that’s great news because you’re about to go on a journey where you’ll get to know some of the biggest lizards in the world. But before we do, let’s take a look at some of the names of lizard groups with both big and small lizards.
- Anguimorpha. A group of snakes, iguanians, and lizards.
- Dibamidae. A group of insectivorous lizards without limbs.
- Gekkota. Gecko reptiles.
- Iguania. A group of iguanas, chameleons, agamids, and new world lizards.
- Lacertoidea. Ground-dwelling lizards.
- Scincomorpha. A group of lizards, including skinks and their close relatives.
Scientists think there are over 7,000 species of lizards in the world. Now, that’s a lot!
But don’t worry; we won’t be covering them all today. We’re going to discuss just 3 types of lizards that are big, heavy, and loaded with fun facts for you to learn.
Inside these 3 types, we’ll get to know 5 species of lizards a little better. Let’s meet the candidates and find out what type of lizard they are.
Anguimorpha is a group of snakes, iguanians, and lizards. Some of the largest lizards on earth are in this category.
Varanidae is the name of a group of carnivorous monitor lizards from the Anguimorpha suborder. This group includes Komodo dragons – the biggest lizards in the world.
Komodo dragon adult males are usually around 2.6 meters long (8.5 feet). The females are just a little shorter, but still an impressive 2.3 meters long (7.5 feet).
It can use its venom to kill a large animal, like a water buffalo. Yep, we think it’s safe to say that the Komodo dragon likes a hearty meal.
These large lizards live on Indonesian islands and use their forked tongue to smell.
Varanidae also includes the Mangrove monitor. As its name suggests, this lizard likes to inhabit mangrove swamps, damp forests, and places near lakes and rivers in Northern Australia and New Guinea.
They also live in the Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands, Caroline Islands, and the Mariana Islands.
The Mangrove monitor is a big lizard. It can grow up to 1.3 meters long (4.3 feet).
Here are some of our favorite facts about Varanidae lizards.
- They have small limbs in comparison to the size of their muscular bodies.
- They have thick skin and small round scales.
- Some species of Varanidae are venomous.
- They have a parietal eye or a third eye on the top of their heads.
Helodermatidae is the name of a group of carnivorous monitor lizards from the Anguimorpha suborder. This group includes the Gila monster.
The Gila monster.
Sounds scary, right?
Let’s find out what it’s all about.
The Gila monster is one of the largest lizards in the United States, measuring 0.56 meters or 1.8 feet. These lizards primarily live in Mexico and Arizona, but a few lizards also live in Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, and California.
Why is the Gila monster so well known?
Not just because it is one of the largest lizards native to the US but because it is the only venomous lizard that lives there.
Here are some facts you’ll enjoy about Helodermatidae lizards.
- All 5 types of Helodermatidae lizards have well-developed venom glands. Yup, you’ll want to give these a wide berth when they’re angry!
- They store fat in their tails.
- They have about 6 eggs per clutch.
Iguania is a group of iguanas, chameleons, agamids, and new world lizards. Some of the largest iguanas are in this category.
Iguanidae is the name of a group of lizards made up of iguanas and chuckwallas from the Iguania suborder. This group includes the Green iguana.
The Green iguana is the largest iguana of its kind. It measures 2 meters or 6.5 feet long.
These small mammals are one of the most popular reptile pets in the United States. Unfortunately, few lizards of its kind are well looked after, and most die within their first year of captivity.
They do much better and have a longer life expectancy in the wild.
Iguanidae also includes the Marine iguana.
The Marine iguana may be among some of the smaller lizards of its kind, but it is still generous in size. A marine iguana can grow up to 1.5 meters or 5 feet long.
Marine iguanas of different sizes, shapes, and colors live on the Galapagos islands. They may look intimidating, but they only feed on underwater algae and seaweed.
Here are some of our favorite things about Iguanidae lizards.
- Iguanidae lizards like a warm climate. That’s why you’ll often find them in the Caribbean islands, South America, and the Pacific.
- Just like other reptiles, they spend time basking in the sun to thermoregulate. Who could blame them?
- Some species live in trees, whereas other lizards live on the ground.
- Most of these lizards are herbivores.
Teiidae is the name of a group of lizards native to the Americas from the Lacertoidea suborder. This group includes the Giant tegu.
The Giant tegu goes by the name “giant” for a reason. He can grow up to 1.2 meters or 4 feet long!
The giant tegu can weigh anywhere between 2.5 kg and 7 kg (5.5 lbs and 15.4 lbs).
The Giant tegu is also known as the Argentinian black and white tegu. This is because it typically lives in the east and central parts of South America, including Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina.
The giant tegu can drop a small portion of its tail when it is under attack. Would you fancy being able to leave a limb behind when you’re in danger? Perhaps not.
Here are some of our favorite facts about Teiidae lizards.
- There are about 150 species of Teiidae lizards in the world.
- They all have forked tongues similar to those of snakes.
- Their bodies are covered in rectangular scales.
- Several species of Teiidae lizards are entirely female and do not have any males. Talk about girl power!
What Is the Largest Lizard Ever to Have Lived?
We’ve discussed some of the largest lizards alive right now. But in the past, there were larger lizards in the world.
Oh yeah, we’re about to go back in time, and things are going to get pretty intriguing.
What was the largest lizard to ever live?
Megalania prisca was the largest terrestrial lizard known. It was a giant monitor lizard that inhabited Australia 50,000 years ago.
Are you ready to find out everything there is to know about this fascinating giant lizard of the past? Then jump into our time machine, and let’s get investigating.
Megalania prisca was the longest lizard on record, measuring from 3.5 to 7 meters in length (11.5 to 23 feet). It was the only species of monitor lizard to reach this size.
Megalania prisca would have fed on small to large mammals, birds, and eggs. It had serrated teeth that would have helped it rip through the flesh of larger animals.
Now, while we can’t be 100% sure about everything this lizard ate, we know it had to have a pretty solid diet to reach such a phenomenal size!
Megalania prisca may like other lizards, have had a venom gland. If so, it would have been the largest venomous vertebrate ever.
A bite from a lizard that size is something you would have never forgotten!
Parts of Megalania fossils have been found in various parts of Australia. These include Queensland, New South Wales, and South Australia.
Fossils have not yet been found in Western Australia, the Northern Territory, or New Guinea. We do not yet know everything we would like to about the largest lizards to ever walk the planet, but we’re confident we’ll find out even more as technology advances.
Where Is the Largest Lizard In the World?
The largest lizard is the Komodo dragon. This lizard is native to the Indonesian Lesser Sunda islands. You cannot find them anywhere else in the world.
They are easiest to spot in the tropical forests, but they also live in different parts of the islands. The Komodo dragon can survive the harsh climate on the islands and has done so since its discovery.
Outside their natural habitat, you can also find these lizards in zoos in different countries around the world. Here are just some of their zoo locations.
- Smithsonian zoo
- Louisville zoo
- Pittsburgh zoo
What Is the Second Largest Lizard In the World?
The second largest lizard on earth is the Asian water monitor lizard, which also goes by the name Malayan water monitor.
The male lizard generally grows up to 2.4 meters (8 feet) long, and the female grows up to 1.2 meters or 4 feet long. It weighs, on average, 16 to 20 kg (35 to 44 lbs).
This lizard is native to south and south east Asia.
What’s Bigger Than a Komodo Dragon?
The Komodo dragon does not currently have a rival when it comes to big lizards. It is the biggest lizard in existence.
Megalania prisca was the largest terrestrial lizard ever known. It was a giant monitor lizard that inhabited Australia 50,000 years ago.
It measured from 3.5 to 7 meters in length (11.5 to 23 feet).
The Largest Lizard In the World
Lizards are fascinating reptiles that inhabit coastal rainforests, swamps, and rocky outcroppings all around the world. They all come in different sizes.
This article has helped us to see that the largest lizard on the planet is the Komodo dragon. After the Komodo dragon, some of the largest lizards are the Asian water monitors, Crocodile monitors, and Nile monitors.
Have you found the information in this article interesting?
At Oddly Cute Pets, we are always striving to provide you with the best guides on lizards and other reptiles. To find out more about the pet you’ve got at home, make sure you check out our website.
Thanks for reading!