Lizards occupy temperate and tropical habitats throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. They also occur on many tropical islands throughout the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans.
Most lizards have 4 limbs, although there are a few species of skinks that are limbless. Many lizard species have a long tail. In some species, the tail can easily break. This is a defense mechanism that enables the lizard to escape a predator that catches it by the tail. The tail detaches at weak points along the vertebrae. Often, the lizard regrows the lost portion of the tail.
Lizards defend themselves in a variety of ways. Many are quick runners and dash for cover at the first sign of danger. Other lizards are well camouflaged and escape predators by blending into their surroundings. Some species take a more active stance against threats by expanding themselves to appear larger and more fearsome. If pushed too far, many lizards will resort to biting or clawing their attackers. But of all the defense mechanisms, the most formidable is that of venom. Only three species of lizard are known to be venomous: the Gila monster, the Mexican beaded lizard and the Komodo dragon.