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5 Types of Reptiles Found in Hawaii

Jackson’s chameleon (Trioceros jacksonii jacksonii)

Hawaii has one of the most unique ecosystems in the globe. It’s home to a diverse species of reptiles. However, due to the islands’ isolation, most of the reptiles found in Hawaii are not native.

Hawaii’s reptile ecosystem is made up of both native and introduced species, with some species playing an important role in the ecosystem while others are considered invasive and harmful to the native wildlife.

During our team adventures on the Big Island over the past few years, we’ve encountered many types of lizards and amphibians. Here are some of our favorites:

Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake

The yellow-bellied Sea Snake, also known as the pelagic sea snake, is the only snake native to Hawaii. They can grow up to about 1 meter in length and are venomous, but their venom isn’t considered a threat to humans. These snakes are typically yellow or green and have a distinct yellow or white belly, and can usually only be found closer to shore when there are high winds and strong currents.

Jackson’s Chameleon

This species of chameleon is native to East Africa but can also be found in Hawaii, Florida, and even California! These guys are easy to identify due to their three horns on the tips of their noses and eyelids, resembling Triceratops. The Jackson’s chameleon can be found in wet rainforest areas, providing ample places to blend in.

Green Sea Turtle

Sea turtles are one of the only reptile species native to Hawaii. Green sea turtles are the largest of the 5 types found across the islands, coming in at lengths as long as four feet and weighing up to 300 pounds! Their lungs are capable of storing enough air to keep them underwater for hours.

These turtles were thought to be the property of the ali’i throughout Hawaiian history, and have been a part of tradition for generations.

As exciting as it might be to see Hawaii’s sea turtles in person, please remember to keep a distance of at least 10 feet between you and them. It is against federal law to get too close or provoke them in any way, as they are an endangered species trying to bounce back.

Azure Tailed Skinks

Once thought to be extinct, there are still some of these blue-tailed creatures on the island. While they typically live at the edge of forests, they are being driven to live on the edges of cliffs due to habitat loss, leaving them exposed to the elements and also to predators. These skinks will lose their tail when threatened but don’t worry; they will always grow back with the same beautiful blue we admire them for.

Brown Anole

Brown Anole is one of the most commonly found lizards in Hawaii’s gardens. Like chameleons, anoles can change color. However, brown anoles can only change their shade of brown. When they feel threatened or are trying to attract a mate, they will show a fantastic pop of bright orange and red with their dewlap.

Now more than ever, it’s imperative to refrain from introducing any other reptile species to the island, and it’s important to advocate for preserving the environment we have left for our current species population. If you have any questions about our diverse ecosystem, you can ask one of our tour guides at Botanical World Adventures. With our Garden passes, you can take a tour and see some of these creatures in person. The best part of all, you can book your trip online TODAY!

If you have any questions, you can contact us today at (808) 731-1160 or at!


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