A trip for many people to Florida is often a chance to encounter one of Florida’s most popular lizards. These are the green and brown Anoles. Gorgeous Little lizards that have quite a temperament to them. They’re a bit on the tenacious side and are predators for sure.
They look like little velociraptors to me sometimes because of their tenacity when they hunt their favorite prey, which is of course insects.
Two distinct different species are sometimes referred to as Anolis or Anoles. It is almost like when people say the same word but in different ways. The green anole or the Carolina anole which is native from Carolina down in Florida is a species that was very popular in the pet trade for many many years. The other is brown Anoles. These live in Florida but many come up from the Caribbean and the Bahamas. They are like tiny hitchhikers that they have gotten into the united states and are an invasive species. And they are so tenacious, they’re kind of pushing our green anole friends up the border and out of competition for food. They are very very aggressive as well.
Green Anoles are beautiful little creatures, in that they have, particularly in the males, a gorgeous dewlap, that they throw out. Its a flap of skin underneath the neck that is brightly colored and serves a dual purpose. Its first function is to attract a girlfriend. A male with a beautiful dewlap is most likely to mate with his female counterparts. The other purpose of the dewlap is to scare off other males. The male will puff up its dewlap to show other males how big he is.
Although we’re talking about an animal that is only 3-4 inches in length and maybe a couple of ounces in weight. He is trying the show how big and bad he is by throwing out his dewlap, bobbing his head and saying this is my territory, I live here, you back off.
So the green and brown Anoles are something I’m sure if you have visited Disney world or visited your grandmother in Florida you have encountered some of these great creatures. The cohabitate fantastically well with mankind and are everywhere. Crawling across houses, inside of houses, and inside porches.
They are a daytime/diurnal animal that you’ll see all day long. At night they sleep on walls and tree trunks and are extremely easy to catch when they’re sleeping. During the day they are not so easy to catch as they are very quick.
This an animal that suffers from the anomaly known as autotomy which is when something grabs it by the tail, the anole will detach that tail so it can escape. It is a self-defense mechanism that helps it escape the grasp of a predator. Its nature’s way for lizards to defend themselves from being eaten by snakes and birds of prey etc. The tail regenerates but is never quite as nice as the original.
The green and brown anoles are a treasure of the American southeast and something you’ll see anytime you visit the Florida area.