Rainforest Friday: the Green Spiny Lizard of Costa Rica


In the five months I’ve been working in the rainforest of Costa Rica, I’ve had some interesting visitors to my office.

Our base is home to several dogs and a cat who wander in from time to time. We get plenty of fist-sized spiders that I’ve slowly become less squeamish about cohabitating with. And one day a snake slithered in.

This week I met a new kind of visitor – sceloporus malachiticus.

Ok, that is his scientific name. He goes more informally by the name of green spiny lizard.

The Green Spiny Lizard of Costa Rica

The green spiny lizard is native to Central America and commonly found in the higher elevations of Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panama.

Green spiny lizards like my new friend often stick to the same daily routine – foraging for insects in the morning, basking in the sunlight during the day, and bundling down under a cozy rock for the evening. Considering our office has little sunlight and no rocks, I can’t think of a reason why he wanted to visit us. Oh wait… we have plenty of insects!

Like most types of lizards, the green spiny lizard can grow back its tail after being attacked by a predator. It appears the visitor to my office was in the middle of the process of regenerating a tail, as his new tail was only half grown.

Unfortunately, this little guy scurried away before I could take a selfie with him, so for now my selfie collection of unusual creatures is limited to the roadguard snake and rhinoceros beetle.


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