Honduras  is home to some 20 species of lizards, including the common iguana and the larger and more intimidating basilisk lizard. Two places especially well known for their huge and numerous lizards are the region around Brus Laguna (in the Mosquitia) and the Bay Islands , although they are seen less and less frequently due to hunting. Several lizard species on the islands are found nowhere else in the world, though they are in danger of extinction from overhunting.
Well over 100 species of snakes slither through the forests and pastures (and sometimes swim in the waterways) of rural Honduras, and almost all of them are harmless. Among the poisonous species are the dreaded fer-de-lance (called barba amarilla, yellow beard, for the bright yellow patch on its neck); the coral (coral snake) with its distinct bands of red, black, and white; and the noisy cascabel (rattler). All of these species are found throughout the country, so watch out for them. When hiking in rural areas, it’s always advisable to watch where you put your feet, particularly when walking among rocks, logs, or tall grass. Less dangerous are boas, which can grow up to three meters long. Although not poisonous, boas have sharp teeth and don’t hesitate to bite if threatened.
Crocodiles and their smaller relatives, the caymans, inhabit the many lagoons, swamps, and waterways all along the Caribbean coast. So perfectly adapted to their environment that they have barely evolved since the age of the dinosaurs, crocodiles still maintain a healthy population in Honduras , despite the depredations of hunters after their meat and hide, or just avenging the loss of a pig or favorite hunting dog. Out in the Mosquitia, swapping legends of huge crocodiles is a favorite pastime among the Garífuna and Miskitos. A pilot flying a small plane over Laguna de Ibans not long ago thought he saw an abandoned canoe on one of the small islands in the middle of the lagoon. Swooping down for a closer look, he saw that it was in fact a monster of a crocodile, fully four meters long, basking placidly in the sun. Villagers living in Cocobila, Belén, Raistá, and other communities nearby still insist on swimming and bathing in the lagoon, even though a croc will take someone’s arm or carry off a baby every year or two.
Sea turtles, especially hawksbill and green ridley but also loggerhead and leatherback, once regularly beached themselves on the north coast and in the Golfo de Fonseca to lay their eggs, but merciless hunting has devastated their populations. As a result of limited protection programs on a few beaches—for example, Plaplaya in the Mosquitia and Punta Ratón  on the Golfo de Fonseca—workers patrol beaches at night during the season when females come in, collect the eggs and protect them in incubators until they hatch, and then release them directly into the sea.
Spending almost their entire long lives at sea, only female turtles come to shore, and then only for as long as it takes to laboriously dig a nest, deposit their eggs, and struggle back into the water. The turtles arrive at night, often shortly before dawn, and leave between 70 and 120 eggs, each about the size of a golf ball, with an odd leathery skin that feels fragile but is actually quite resilient. Left to their own devices, the eggs take about two months to hatch, sometimes less, at which point the tiny hatchlings struggle out of the sand and directly into the ocean. But rarely are eggs left alone these days, as they are considered a local delicacy and can fetch a good price. Hueveros, or “egg men,” walk up and down the beaches at night during the season, raiding nests and frequently killing the defenseless mother for meat as well. While the number of turtles is but a fraction of what it was 30 years ago, protection programs in Honduras  and other countries offer some hope that the populations can rebound.