Difference Wiki

Salamander vs. Lizard: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Aimie Carlson || Published on November 22, 2023
Salamanders are amphibians with moist, smooth skin and typically no claws, while lizards are reptiles with dry, scaly skin and usually have claws.

Key Differences

Salamanders belong to the amphibian class, meaning they live both in water and on land during different life stages. While, lizards are reptiles, usually living on land and rarely venturing into water. Both are ectothermic, relying on the environment to regulate their body temperature.
Salamanders have moist, smooth skin and are often found in damp environments. Lizards, on the other hand, have dry, scaly skin, adapted for a terrestrial lifestyle. This skin difference is a key identifier between the two.
Most salamanders lack claws and have a more elongated body shape compared to lizards. Whereas, lizards typically have well-defined legs with claws and a more varied body shape, ranging from elongated to stout.
Salamanders undergo a larval stage, often aquatic, with a metamorphosis into adulthood. Meanwhile, lizards hatch from eggs or are born fully formed and do not undergo such drastic developmental changes.
Salamanders are generally less adept at coping with dry conditions than lizards. Lizards are more versatile in habitat, thriving in environments ranging from deserts to forests.

Comparison Chart



Skin Type

Moist, smooth
Dry, scaly

Limb Structure

Often without claws
Usually have claws


Undergo metamorphosis
Hatch from eggs/born fully formed

Preferred Habitat

Damp environments
Diverse, including arid regions

Salamander and Lizard Definitions


A salamander is a small amphibian with a slender body and smooth skin.
The salamander slipped into the pond as we approached.


Lizards are found in various habitats, from deserts to forests.
In the desert, we spotted a lizard darting across the sand.


Many salamanders have vibrant and distinct color patterns.
The spotted salamander displayed its bright yellow spots.


Many lizard species can detach their tails to escape predators.
The gecko dropped its tail to distract the predator.


Salamanders are known for their ability to regenerate lost limbs.
After losing its tail, the salamander regrew it within a few weeks.


A lizard is a reptile with scaly skin, four legs, and a tail.
The lizard basked in the sun on a rock.


Salamanders typically have moist skin and are found in wet habitats.
We found a salamander under the wet leaves by the stream.


Some lizards have the ability to change color for camouflage or communication.
The chameleon changed its color to blend with the leaves.


Salamanders play a crucial role in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.
Salamanders help control insect populations in their habitats.


Lizards vary greatly in size, from tiny geckos to large monitor lizards.
The Komodo dragon is one of the largest lizard species.


Any of various small, tailed amphibians of the order Caudata, having porous scaleless skin and usually two pairs of limbs of equal size, found chiefly in northern temperate regions.


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.


A mythical creature, generally resembling a lizard, believed capable of living in or withstanding fire.


Leather made from the skin of one of these reptiles.


In the occult philosophy of Paracelsus, a being having fire as its element.


Any reptile of the order Squamata that is not a snake or an amphisbaenian, usually having four legs, external ear openings, movable eyelids and a long slender body and tail.


Do salamanders live in water or on land?

Salamanders live in both, depending on their life stage.

What environments do lizards prefer?

Lizards can live in various environments, including deserts and forests.

Are salamanders cold-blooded?

Yes, like all amphibians, salamanders are ectothermic.

Are lizards cold-blooded?

Yes, lizards, being reptiles, are also ectothermic.

Are salamanders good pets?

Some salamander species can be kept as pets, but they require specific care.

Can salamanders regenerate body parts?

Yes, many salamanders can regenerate lost limbs and tails.

Do lizards lay eggs?

Most lizards lay eggs, but some give birth to live young.

Do lizards have good eyesight?

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

How long do salamanders live?

Salamander lifespan varies by species, ranging from a few years to over 20.

Are salamanders active during the day or night?

Many salamanders are nocturnal, but this can vary.

What do salamanders eat?

Salamanders typically eat insects, worms, and small aquatic creatures.

What is the diet of most lizards?

Lizards generally eat insects, plants, or small animals, depending on the species.

Can lizards detach their tails?

Some lizards can autotomize their tails to escape predators.

How long can lizards live?

Lizards' lifespans also vary, with some species living over 10 years.

Do salamanders have teeth?

Yes, salamanders have small teeth for catching prey.

What is the biggest difference between salamanders and lizards?

The biggest difference is that salamanders are amphibians with moist skin, while lizards are reptiles with dry, scaly skin.

How do salamanders breathe?

Salamanders breathe through their skin and lungs, depending on the species.

Can lizards hear?

Lizards have ears and can hear, though their hearing abilities vary.

Can lizards be kept as pets?

Yes, many lizard species are popular pets, like geckos and bearded dragons.

Are all salamanders poisonous?

Not all, but some species have toxins in their skin as a defense mechanism.
About Author
Written 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.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons