Keep Seeing Lizards? These Reptiles Can Be Good or Bad Omens


Jan. 23 2024, Updated 10:41 a.m. ET

Two Komodo dragon cubs are pictured at Chimelong Safari Park in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province of China
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Lizards appear in places all around the world, making many people wonder what the reptile's spiritual meaning is. Spirituality almost always incorporates symbolism. It makes religious or spiritual stories easier to understand, especially if the symbol is something people see all the time.

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Learn more about the lizard’s spiritual meaning by reading about the animal's cultural definitions. You can determine what the reptile represents for you, as the warming climate alters their habitats and makes the animals appear more frequently around humans.

Ozkan Helvacioglu stands in a grocery store in Tokat, Turkiye with a chameleon he named 'Patron' on his left shoulder
Source: Getty Images
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Lizards have spiritual meanings based on folklore and real-world facts.

The various spiritual meanings of lizards derive from what humans see them do. For example, lizards often bob their heads up and down. Humans don’t typically do that, so it sticks out as odd.

Research from the Journal of Experimental Zoology found lizards of all sizes have lower head temperatures than body temperatures. Bobbing their heads could bring their head temperature up through thermoregulation. Technology like infrared pyrometry showcases this difference with a 0.1 degree Celsius accuracy range in animals and humans, per Acuren.

But before modern technology could prove the thermoregulation differences, people explained the head motions through folklore.

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Ghanaians believed lizards nodded their heads because a man told a lizard the three secret names of a king’s daughters, according to an episode of Stories Mother Told: African Folktales. After the lizard told the king his daughters’ correct names, the king gave them to the lizard in marriage rather than the man who discovered them. The man pours boiling water down the lizard’s throat and blames him for being a thief.

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The lizard can’t speak, so nodding is the only way he can communicate for the rest of the story. The lizard’s spiritual meaning became a warning of jealousy’s destruction and the harm that comes from seeking revenge.

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What does seeing a lizard mean spiritually?

Lizards mean various spiritual things, depending on the culture defining their symbolism. IndiaNetzone recounts how Hindus believe lizard chirping is holy, so it’s good luck if you’re near one making sounds. The same site explains a Hindu belief that if a lizard falls on you, it can bring you either good or bad luck, depending on what body part the animal falls. recounts that in Plains Indian folklore, lizards represent survival and healing because the reptiles are resilient. When they lose a tail, they grow it back through unique cellular processes, as per research by the University of Southern California. People find this ability of lizards encouraging when they feel stuck in their personal growth or life’s ongoing hardships.

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Indigenous Māori communities in New Zealand believe lizards guard the underworld, per the New Zealand Department of Conservation. They can represent darkness, but they also protect the dead, so Māori people may release them near resting places of deceased friends and family.

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What is the spiritual meaning of seeing a lizard in a dream?

The lizard’s incredible ability to regenerate their tail makes the animal a symbol of resilience in dreams. If you see one while asleep, it likely means you’re seeking ways to adapt to life’s circumstances. Find encouragement in the lizard’s ability to bounce back and even shed its old self to become a stronger survivor.

Determine the lizard’s spiritual meaning for yourself.

Your definition of a lizard’s spiritual meaning depends on your background and beliefs. If you love reptiles and come from a community with celebratory lizard folklore, you likely see them as favorable omens. Consider all these various meanings to determine what you believe about one of nature’s most well-known critters.

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