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Lizard Symbolism & Meaning (+ Totem, Spirit & Omens)

lizard portrait

Lizards are a fascinating group of creatures with impressive abilities that range from changing colors to regrowing body parts. In some cultures, the lizard symbolism is associated with shining light and rebirth. Though most lizards are small and capable of going unnoticed, they are an interesting part of the natural world around us.

In this article, we’ll try to learn what the lizard has to teach us by exploring lizard myths and stories from around the world, as well as the meaning of the lizard spirit animal and lizards in dreams. If you’re hoping to get an overview of the kind of wisdom that these scaly little critters have in store, you’ve come to the right place!

The table of contents below provides a sneak peek of what we’ll discuss in each section. If you’d like to skip directly to a section, just click the link and it’ll take you there.

Table of contents

Lizard Symbolism and Meaning

Some lizard species are capable of sacrificing a part of their tails. When a lizard is trapped or threatened by a predator, its tail may fall off, allowing the lizard to escape the threat and survive. Eventually, the tail will grow back and the lizard will recover. This ties the lizard symbolically to the idea of sacrificing one part for the sake of the whole.


The lizard hibernates through winters and reawakens in spring. This, along with the ability to regrow its tail, symbolizes resurrection and rebirth. On top of this, many lizards shed their skin and some species, like geckos, will even eat the shed skin to repurpose its nutrients. For this reason, lizard symbolism is tied to renewal, regrowth, and cycles.

Geckos, specifically, represent resourcefulness, recycling, and flexibility.

lizard on a leaf

The Sun

Lizards are cold-blooded animals and achieve the body temperature that they need to survive by absorbing heat from their environment. They’re often seen sun-bathing in arid climates. For this reason, lizards symbolize the sun and the warmth that it brings the earth.


Lizard symbolism is vast and varied around the world. From dragons to dinosaurs, lizards are often connected with mythological beasts and ancient power.

In some Hindu superstitions, lizards’ chirping is seen as auspicious or holy. Lizards have even found their way into Shakespeare. In Macbeth, the witches boil up a magical brew using “lizard’s leg” as an ingredient. This means that lizards are sometimes associated with witchcraft or sorcery. The Italian word for lizard is “lucertola,” which means the “shining light.” As mentioned above, the lizard can symbolize light, the sun, and magic.

Lizard Native American Symbolism

Lizard symbolism is very prominent in a number of Native American cultures. Ishi, the famous 20th century man who is believed to have been the last of California’s Yahi people, told stories of Lizard. In Ishi’s stories, which have since been translated into English, Lizard is an arrow-maker who lives alongside the Yahi people. 

Ishi’s people aren’t the only ones who felt deeply connected with lizards. Many Plains Native Americans connected the lizard with survival and perseverance as well as masculinity and health. Native American lizard lore focuses on the lizard’s ability to thrive in harsh climates and potentially offer guidance to the lost.

lizard portrait

Some Native American lizard mythology even credits the lizard with being a creator spirit who decided the shape of the world. Clearly, though different cultures see them differently, lizards loom large in Native American folklore.

Lizard Eastern Symbolism

In traditional Chinese medicine, geckos are said to be used to make a concoction that prevents infidelity.

But lizards themselves are not nearly as important to Chinese symbolism as their mythological cousins. Chinese lizard symbolism immediately calls to mind the powerful symbol of the Chinese dragon. These legendary beasts are associated with good luck, power, confidence, masculinity, order, balance, and authority. The dragon is a deeply auspicious symbol in Chinese art and folklore, so it’s hard not to connect lizard symbolism to this incredible mythic animal.

lizard on a ground

The Japanese word for the salamander is “火蜥蜴.” This is pronounced “hitokage” and means “fire lizard.” So, just as there is a European tradition of associating salamanders with fire and fire-breathing dragons, there is also a connection in Japanese between lizards and heat. If you’re a big Pokémon fan, you might get a kick out of googling “hitokage.” It turns out, the beloved Pokemon, Charmander, shares its name with this word in Japanese.

Lizard Christianity symbolism

In Christian symbolism, lizards can probably be expected to have aa negative reputation. After all, Christianity’s most ubiquitous symbols of evil and sin are reptilian. A snake introduced sin into the Garden of Eden, revelations features a vicious man-eating dragon, and Satan is himself depicted as somewhat reptilian in Christian iconography.

With all those negative connections between reptiles and impurity, you might be surprised to learn that Christian lizard symbolism isn’t actually all bad.

Lizards in the Bible are relatively few, but they are mentioned in Proverbs 30:24 as one of four things on earth are small but exceedingly wise. In this proverb it is said that the lizard can be caught by hand yet is found in the king’s palaces. So, Christian symbolism connects lizards with royalty and wisdom.

lizard portrait

The wisdom of the lizard in this passage is a fascinating departure from the negative connotation that reptiles largely hold in Christian symbolism.

The lizard is wise because it can go unnoticed in palaces and overhear the plans being made by the king. This small creature represents the wisdom of subtlety, the power of knowledge, and the virtue of listening. Tiny yet mighty, the lizard can survive even in places where other creatures cannot and takes advantage of this ability to thrive.

Lizard Celtic Symbolism

Lizards themselves don’t appear very often in Celtic myths . There are not very many species of reptiles found in the Northern parts of Europe where a lot of Celtic stories originate. Like Chinese folklore, though, Celtic stories do feature plenty of dragons.

Through these dragons we know that Celtic lizard symbolism is connected with power, the supernatural, and danger. Many Celtic myths depict dragons as ancient threats to humankind that a hero must overcome to achieve his full potential.

The most famous Celtic dragon symbol is, in fact, the flag of Wales! The Welsh flag features a fearsome red dragon that likely originated from several mythological sources.

The Mabinogion, a famous collection of Welsh myths, a great battle between a red dragon and an invading white dragon must be put to an end to restore peace. This dragon is a symbol of Wales and a potential origin for the dragon flag. Some say the dragon flag is also taken from King Arthur. Arthur is the sone of Uther Pendragon, whose name means “dragon head.” Although most people associate King Arthur with England now, the original King Arthur story comes from Wales!

colorful lizard

If lizards count as dragons, then Celtic lizard symbolism can be understood to represent strength, royalty, might and defense.

Lizard African Symbolism

Most Middle Eastern and African cultures see lizards as forces for good. African myths and folktales even feature prominent lizard characters. Two especially interesting lizard mythology tales come from Africa and Australia. 

African Malawi traditions tell the story of a chameleon sent by the God Chiuta to tell the human race that it will live forever. Unfortunately, the chameleon is too slow and another lizard goes in its place to tell humans that their end is coming soon. This introduces mortality to mankind.

Other tales and legends state that the lizards were responsible for splitting the human race into males and females and also for inspiring artists and storytellers.

lizard portrait

Like many other cultures around the world, African lizard symbolism sometimes connects these animals with the sun and sunlight. Across many cultures, lizards are thought of as resilient animals capable of incredible healing, regrowth, and rejuvenation.

Lizard in Dreams

Seeing a lizard in a dream can mean many different things depending on both the specifics of the dream and the circumstances of the dreamer. Dreaming about a lizard in your house may represent an opportunity for a fresh start. You may need to sacrifice some things from the past in order to unlock your future potential.

A dream with a pet lizard in it might represent a desire to be warmer to others. Don’t be afraid to open up and share your vulnerabilities with your friends and loved ones.

lizard on a ground

Dreaming about fighting a lizard or being attacked by a lizard represents fear and mistrust. You might be feeling like the people in your life aren’t being totally honest with you. Overcome this by listening to your instincts and trusting yourself.

Lizard dreams can also mean that the dreamer will overcome an enemy. For the Navajo, a horned lizard was a symbol of strength, health and protection, so dreaming of one might mean that the universe is on your side and you will be protected in future conflicts.

Lizard Encounters and Omens

The meaning of a lizard encounter can change based on the circumstances. Lizards in the house are commonly interpreted as joyful or lucky omens. A falling lizard or lizard jumping can also have different meanings depending on the culture.

If a lizard falls on the left side of a woman and on the right side of a man, then some cultures see this as a very lucky sign that foretells a positive future.

The clucking sound of a lizard is auspicious in some parts of the world. The appearance of a lizard on the thighs can be interpreted as auspicious but on the knees, it can mean imprisonment. Both of these assume that you’ve got lizards crawling on your legs, which might just mean that you’re hanging out in a lizard hot-spot!

The meaning of a baby lizard sighting is usually a positive sign. To find a lizard with two tails is often considered to be extremely lucky. Geckos and lizards found in bed are an omen that brings good fortune. 

lizard on a tree

In Africa, the fire skink lizard is a bad omen and when people see one, they abandon their plans. In Pakistan, people dislike the agama lizard because their head bobs are seen as a ‘mockery of their prayers.’ The people of Madagascar do not kill lizards as it tends to be a sign of bad luck. In New Mexico, people believe that lizards are reincarnations of medicine men. Around the world, lizards hold a huge variety of meanings.

In Wisconsin, unknown tribes even built an effigy of a lizard about 250 feet long. It is preserved in Lizard Mound County Park.

It is said that a lizard falling on the head from the trees above is a good sign. It can indicate an upcoming promotion. 

Lizard Mythology and Folklore

Mythological lizards date back thousands of years and span a number of different cultures.

Ancient Egyptians carved Nile monitors and even preserved lizards in mummies. Some even carried lizard charms in boxes. 

In Roman mythology, the god Mercury was often depicted in chariots pulled by lizards. Aboriginal tribes in Australia who dreamed of lizards made lizard totems to attain supernatural powers. According to Aboriginal lore, two monitor lizards painted each other – one did a great job by painting rosette patterns, but the other simply threw a bucket of black paint on the other. 

As mentioned above, in some African mythology, the lizard or chameleon is sent to give the message of eternal life to humankind

lizard portrait

According to this legend, the chameleon stops to eat along the way and the messenger of death reaches humanity before he can. To compensate for this loss of immortality, the Sky God made the concept of marriage and children so people could live forever through their children. Because of this myth, the lizard is associated with birth and families.

Native Americans also have many legends and stories about lizards. For them, the lizard was a healing spirit that brought with it strength and sacred healing. Lizards also gave rise to the myth of the Lizard Man of the Scape Ore Swamp in South Carolina. This green slimy lizard man is reported to jump out of the woods and scare people. In some sightings, it was capable of chasing vehicles at high speeds.

Lizard Spirit Animal

If the spirit animal of the lizard is your guide then you are deeply connected to the element of fire. The color red is also connected with the lizard spirit. 

Through the lizard spirit guide, you can draw upon a number of strengths and abilities. The lizard spirit may represent fearlessness, patience, agility, and serenity.

If the lizard is your spirit animal then you have the ability to wait for a great opportunity very patiently. With the lizard’s spirit in your corner, you can inspire courage and gain great success in business matters. However, like the lizard, you are a lone ranger. The lizard spirit is typically introverted and unsociable.

The lizard spirit animal encourages the spirit to be fearless in all pursuits. With the lizard as your guide, you must take risks in order to achieve what you want. 

To best utilize the power of the lizard spirit, engage in your passions without letting them consume you. Thanks to the lizard spirit, you are blessed with an intrepid nature. You work for what you want and can take leaps and jumps if needed

Be careful though. Even when passions consume you, like the lizard, you could fall. So learn to remain calm and still. The lizard’s energy isn’t about taking uncalculated risks. Instead, develop the patience to take risks at the right time.

Lizard Totem Animal

The lizard is a powerful totem in Native American and Aboriginal tribes. Throughout the world, the lizard symbolism is connected to the sun and light. This meaning is important to understanding the lizard as a totem animal.

As a totem animal, the lizard is often connected with dreams and visions.

The lizard is the happiest when basking in the sun, so, like your totem, make the sun your ally. Take in the sunrays when you can. This will energize and strengthen you. 

The lizard totem is powerful for people connected with young children, such as school teachers. The lizard totem is capable of invoking creativity and artistic abilities. South American tribes often used lizards or snakes as totem animals. 

lizard portrait

As a totem, the lizard is an ally that helps you deal with the ever-changing experience of life on Earth. Lizards have adapted quite well in a variety of ways to avoid being preyed on. The lizard totem represents adaptability.

Through varying techniques or illusions, the lizard adjusts to the current conditions and blends in its surroundings. The lizard totem is capable of deflecting negative energies and safeguarding the spirit.

Lizards can also blend in with their surroundings and camouflage themselves. This helps ward off predators. At the same time, the lizard is capable of patiently waiting for its prey and striking when the time is right. 

If the lizard is your totem then patience is your strength. Distraction and camouflage are the characteristics of lizards that link this totem to dreams and illusions. 

Lizard Power Animal

Lizards like to bask on warm stones, absorbing the energy of the sun. If the lizard is your power animal then your spiritual power is tied to the sun and warmth.

 And with its ability to detect vibrations in the ground and its keen sense of hearing, the lizard power animal can keep you safe from harm. The lizard is a powerful protective force.

As a power animal, the lizard has the power of dreams and prophecies. In addition, the lizard can encourage you to face challenges with strength and courage.

lizard on a ground

In North American cultures, the lizard is an envoy of the sun. Aborigines used lizard totems to keep them safe from enemies. They also used it to divine water during summers and droughts. 

In Mexico, lizards are thought to be the reincarnated spirits of medicine men and shamans. So, if the lizard is your power animal then you may be able to wield shamanic healing power.

In Africa, a lizard mask is sometimes worn during special ceremonies and burials. This is because of the lizards’ association with reincarnation. A lizard can easily grow its tail back. This means it is capable of regeneration. If you call upon the power of the lizard then you may have the ability to emerge from any negative situation with newfound wisdom and strength. 

Lizard Tattoo Meaning

Although lizards are common symbols worldwide, they feature most prominently in Polynesian tattoos. The lizard tattoo is popular because it is considered the creator of the world. 

A lizard tattoo might be connected with good luck and fortune, like the Chinese dragon that brings wealth, balance, and order.

A lizard can regenerate itself. So a lizard tattoo’s meaning can be symbolic of emerging stronger after trauma. In many cultures, the lizard is a symbol of regeneration and rebirth. It is also linked to feminine power. 

illustration of a lizard

Lizards also have the ability to make dreams come true. In Australia, Aboriginal cultures use the imagery of lizards to divine the location of water. To Native Americans, lizard medicine is thought to bring strength and power. A lizard tattoo can reflect this meaning.

Select your tattoo carefully. Discuss your vision with an experienced tattoo artist so you can get the exact tattoo you desire. If the lizard is meaningful for you, then it may be just the right choice for a tattoo.

More potential lizard tattoo meanings include:

  • Optimism
  • Protection
  • Vigilance
  • Independence
  • Creativity
  • Intuition
  • Patience
  • Courage
  • Flexibility


Lizard symbolism is linked to the sun, light, regeneration, and renewal. It is a symbol of good fortune in some cultures, while also representing impurity and danger in others.

Lizards are patient, determined, and have the ability to blend in with their surroundings. If the lizard is a guiding force in your life, then we hope that this article is a useful resource for you!


37 thoughts on “Lizard Symbolism & Meaning (+ Totem, Spirit & Omens)”

  1. Avatar

    Hie. Ummm about 3 to 4days back a lizard poop on my top when I was out side by the gate in the morning , then today in the morning saw a lizard my bed am very worried what does it mean?

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    Pls am writing to you from Nigeria, one particular lizard always come every morning walking on the roof of my house and its getting to almost three months now but keep coming everyday, most especially when am about to start my morning prayers parambulating up and down and to my surprise oneday I later found one on my arrival at night hanging onto one my cloths, sighting a little cut on her stmach stain with small blood, as if it fight another unknown creature, I was so scared and I quickly took it outside, pls what is the meaning of all this, HELP MR PLS

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    Hey! I accidentally stepped on a medium sized light brown lizard, which killed her. 🙁 Upon closer inspection, I realized I squashed her right eye. And for the last three days, my right eye has been twitching. What does this mean, if anything?

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      I think it means you have a conscience.
      I have many bearded dragons, an iguana and a tegu.
      They mean the whole world to me. I truly despise people who hunt or kill reptiles on purpose.

      Yours was an accident, hopefully immediate demise for the dear baby, and I think you feel guilt at the pain you caused so your subconcious is constantly reminding you with the twitch.
      Say a prayer for and apologize to the spirit of the lizard to give yourself peace.

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    I found two dead baby lizards this week while walking my dog; they seem to have been run over by cars. Wondering what it could be as the previous week I encountered 7 spiders – 2 in my car (I have a newer/very clean car, so rather unusual)!! Crazy lol. This site is fascinating, thank you!

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    Hello! I was lying in my bed, when a small house lizard fell near my feet, on the bed. But didn’t touch me. What does this indicate?

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      I would imagine that this indicates a new light coming into your life! I hope this helps!

      — Hailey Brophy
      Writer @ World Birds

  6. Avatar

    Hi there, I just dreamed of two reddish brown lizards running around my bed while I was sleeping . One big lizard and a small one, the big one chasing a small one. What does this mean?

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    Hi, a couple weeks ago I discovered 2 alligator lizards mating in my hallway right outside my bedroom door. They were rescued to the outdoors. Today I found 1 alligator lizard in my bedroom and it made its way out in its own. Meaning??? New love interests? 😁

    1. Avatar

      New love interests or new opportunities! The lizard brings light and growth.

      Hope this helps!
      — Hailey Brophy
      Writer @ World Birds

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    Hello ! I have noticed a lizard coming on my window for two days now .it keeps coming like it want to come in my house. What does this mean ?

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    I have been seeing a colorful lizard firstly, outside while cutting grass a week ago, secondly, on the back porch and a few minutes ago today on the house by the front door. What do you think this colorful creature (dark brown, red, blue and slightly green) symbolizes….fully developed

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    Last night I saw a white lizard in front of my door. It was very scary as I’m scared of anything that crawls. What does it mean?

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      Lizards are nothing to be afraid of! A lizard at your door could be a sign of adaptability, endurance, healing, or growth. Lizards are generally not at all harmful, so try not to worry!

      I hope this helps!
      — Hailey Brophy
      Writer @ World Birds

  11. Avatar

    Hi …pls advise what it means if the black / grey and orange / brownish very tiny baby lizzard sat on my left leg but never noticed how it got there I just moved my left to remove it then it fell on the ground and stayed there for a while but never seen where it disappeared to

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      The lizard is a source of growth and healing! Being visited by one is very good luck!

      — Hailey Brophy
      Writer @ World Birds

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    I have been seeing lizard (agama )around wherever I go even and around my vicinity…sometimes the female one but mostly the male.

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    Today I saw a beautiful brown in color lizard sitting at the back door of my workplace, it was there for about 30 minutes just staring at me, I automatically thought it was a sign of some sort. Didn’t notice when it disappeared.

  14. Avatar

    Hi today i seen a baby black lizard when I removed this log and it didn’t run i wasn’t scared. And it wasn’t scared.

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      I have been seeing lizards, first I seen babies after I had to my parents dog to sleep, now I’m seeing the same one, my friend had a negative dream.. should I be worried or is this good luck? Thank you

      1. Avatar

        Baby lizards are usually signs of good luck! Look out for positive opportunities in the future. I hope this helps!

        — Hailey Brophy
        Writer @ World Birds

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    hi there, yesterday i saw a baby lizard front door at the entrance and then this morning i saw the same color of lizard but was a bit bigger than the previous one, this time was at my bedroom window inside the house and as i did to the first one. let it go cause i was afraid. but i really want to know what is the meaning of this

    1. Avatar

      At a guess, I would imagine that this symbolizes growth and transformation!

      Thank you for commenting!
      — Hailey Brophy
      Writer @ World Birds

  16. Avatar

    I was picking on spent flowers on a hanging basket. When done, A black lizard came up out of no where. I didn’t see it. It startled me! Lol. Then it stayed put at the rim of hanging basket. It stared to look at me and basked in the sun. Not moving at all even when I got so close to talk to it. What does it mean. Is all black.

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    What does it mean if I just woke up and I’m sitting here eating thinking about my ex and wishing he would come back and I turn around and see a bright green baby lizard with his tail cut and he just sat there looking at me while I talked to him and then I turned around and turned back around to say something to him again and he was gone what does that mean

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      Hello Victoria! The missing tail in your story is very interesting to me. I think it could represent the way that we sometimes have to cut off or lose something dear to us in order to survive. The great thing about lizards, though, is that once they have had time to heal, they grow a new tail. Sometimes loss is an opportunity to become a new and improved version of ourselves!

      Hope this helps!
      — Hailey Brophy
      Writer @ World Birds

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      It depends on what energy you have there if you are doing to much it means you need spend less time there if you aren’t there enough it could mean you need more time to regenerate or shed old habits and become new

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      Ok so I went to make my bed and there was a bright green baby lizard in my pillow at first I thought it was a toy and my son was playing a joke. I was not scared it did not have a scary or harmful energy it was sweet my son set it out of the house and said go home your free it was so cute I wonder what that symbolizes and how the heck it got into my bed

    3. Avatar
      Beatrice Latama

      Hi there. one day my boyfriend come to my house then when I wake up in the morning calling him to join me for a cap of tea I found a small white lizard then and it’s was looking at me when I called my boyfriend to see if it’s was already gone

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