Difference Wiki

Gecko vs. Lizard: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on November 21, 2023
A gecko is a type of lizard known for its unique vocalizations and ability to climb smooth surfaces, while a lizard is a broader category of reptiles with diverse species, including geckos.

Key Differences

Geckos are a distinct group within the larger lizard category, characterized by their vocal abilities and adhesive toe pads. While, lizards are a widespread group of squamate reptiles, with over 6,000 species, including geckos.
Geckos are known for their sticky toe pads, which allow them to climb even vertical surfaces. Whereas, lizards have a wider range of physical characteristics, including some without limbs.
Geckos are often found in warm climates and are known for their nocturnal behavior. Meanwhile, lizards have diverse habitats and behaviors, ranging from desert-dwellers to forest inhabitants, with varying activity patterns.
Most geckos are insectivores, feeding on insects and spiders. On the other hand, lizards have varied diets, including insectivorous, herbivorous, and carnivorous species.
Geckos have evolved unique adaptations like vocalizations for communication and tail autotomy for defense. Lizards, in general, have a wide array of adaptations, including color change, limb regeneration, and various defensive mechanisms.

Comparison Chart


A subgroup of lizards
A broad category of reptiles

Physical Traits

Sticky toe pads for climbing
Diverse traits, some with and some without limbs


Mostly in warm climates, often nocturnal
Diverse, including deserts, forests, and more


Primarily insectivores
Varies from insects to plants and small animals

Unique Adaptations

Vocalizations, tail autotomy
Limb regeneration, color change, and more

Gecko and Lizard Definitions


A reptile that can vocalize, unusual among lizards.
At night, the gecko's chirping can be heard.


Some species exhibit unique features like limb regeneration.
The lizard regrew its tail after an encounter with a predator.


A creature capable of tail autotomy to escape predators.
The gecko escaped, leaving its detached tail behind.


A widespread group of squamate reptiles with external ears and movable eyelids.
The lizard basked in the sun on a rock.


A lizard with a soft, often patterned skin.
The gecko blended into the tree bark with its camouflaged skin.


A reptile that can vary greatly in size, color, and habitat.
In the desert, the lizard's coloration matched the sand.


A small to medium-sized lizard known for its sticky feet.
The gecko effortlessly climbed the glass window.


Lizards have diverse diets, ranging from insects to plants.
The lizard caught a fly with its quick tongue.


A nocturnal lizard found in warm climates.
The gecko emerged at dusk to hunt for insects.


Many lizards are adept climbers, but not all have adhesive pads like geckos.
The lizard climbed the tree using its sharp claws.


Any of various chiefly nocturnal tropical and subtropical lizards of the family Gekkonidae, characteristically having toe pads covered with numerous tiny bristles that adhere to vertical surfaces.


Any of numerous squamate reptiles often classified in the suborder Lacertilia, characteristically having a scaly elongated body with a tapering tail, four legs, movable eyelids, and external ear openings.


Any lizard of the family Gekkonidae. They are small, carnivorous, mostly nocturnal animals with large eyes and adhesive toes enabling them to climb on vertical and upside-down surfaces.


Leather made from the skin of one of these reptiles.


(rare) To move in the manner of a gecko; to attach to a vertical or upside-down surface.


Any lizard of the family Geckonidæ. The geckoes are small, carnivorous, mostly nocturnal animals with large eyes and vertical, elliptical pupils. Their toes are generally expanded, and furnished with adhesive disks, by which they can run over walls and ceilings. They are numerous in warm countries, and a few species are found in Europe and the United States. See Wall gecko, Fanfoot.


Any of various small chiefly tropical and usually nocturnal insectivorous terrestrial lizards typically with immovable eyelids; completely harmless


How do geckos communicate?

Geckos can produce vocalizations, which is rare among lizards, for communication.

Do geckos make good pets?

Many gecko species are popular pets due to their size and interesting behaviors.

Are all lizards carnivorous?

No, lizard diets vary greatly, including insectivores, herbivores, and omnivores.

Can lizards be found in cold climates?

Some lizard species can live in colder climates, but they are more common in warm areas.

What is the lifespan of a gecko?

Lifespans vary, but some geckos can live up to 10 years or more in captivity.

What do geckos eat?

Most geckos are insectivores, feeding on insects and spiders.

Are all geckos able to stick to walls?

Most geckos have adhesive toe pads, but not all species can climb smooth surfaces.

Can geckos regenerate lost tails?

Many gecko species can autotomize and regenerate their tails.

Do lizards have good vision?

Many lizards have excellent vision, important for hunting and navigation.

Are geckos found worldwide?

Geckos are primarily found in warm climates but are widespread in various regions.

Are lizards cold-blooded?

Yes, lizards are ectothermic, or cold-blooded, relying on external heat sources.

How do geckos stick to surfaces?

They have special toe pads with microscopic structures that allow them to adhere to surfaces.

Are all lizards capable of tail autotomy?

Many, but not all, lizard species can shed their tails as a defense mechanism.

Do all lizards have external ears?

Most lizards have external ear openings, but the structure varies among species.

Can lizards be venomous?

A few lizard species are venomous, but most are not.

How do lizards regulate their body temperature?

Lizards bask in the sun to absorb heat and seek shade to cool down.

Are geckos active during the day or night?

Most geckos are nocturnal, active during the night.

Do lizards hibernate?

In colder climates, some lizards may brumate, a form of hibernation.

Do lizards care for their young?

Most lizard species do not care for their young after birth or hatching.

Can geckos swim?

While not common, some geckos can swim if necessary.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons