Conservation status

Squamate reptiles have suffered substantial habitat loss due to the extensive encroachment of humans into almost all natural biomes. Some species of lizards and snakes have been negatively affected much more severely than others. Many species that live on islands, such as those in the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, and Madagascar, are now endangered, often because humans have introduced competitors such as goats or predators that include rats, cats, dogs, and mongoose. Some species of endemic Caribbean land iguanas (genus Cyclura) are perilously close to extinction. Other species, such as those that dwell in extensive desert regions, have been more fortunate because humans have not yet been able to turn arid areas into green fields of crops. However, flat-tailed horned lizards (Phrynosoma mcalli) and fringe-toed lizards (Uma inornata) in the U.S. Southwest are threatened by habitat fragmentation and loss due to development. Biodiversity in tropical regions is high, but humans are rapidly destroying rainforests and other tropical habitats. Some species of Mexican cloud forest anguid lizards (Abronia) may well have gone extinct before they were ever collected or described.

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