Saint Croix ground lizard

South America


Pholidoscelis polops


  • Habitat loss
  • Predation by mongooses and rats

The Saint Croix Ground Lizard, a native reptile creature to the Caribbean island of St. Croix, is considered as one of the rarest lizard species in the world. This member of the Teiidae family of lizards used to populate the upland forests and beach areas of Buck Island, Green Cay, Protestant Cay, and Ruth Cay. It has a widely-varied food preference, from berries and ants to moths and small hermit crabs.

The major threat to the existence of the Saint Croix Ground Lizard is the presence and overabundance of rats and mongooses in its native habitat range. And as the surrounding areas are converted for human settlements and commercial sites, it reduced the availability of suitable dwellings and also removed the leaf litter that serve as protective cover for the lizards.