The Green Anole

  • I caught this little guy right behind my house! We have tons of them right in our backyard! They change colors like a chameleon but they aren’t chameleons. Usually they are pretty tame but they can bite – this one bit me when we were filming the show! It didn’t hurt. They are really fast and hard to catch.

The Green Anole Taxonomy

  • Kingdom: Metazoa ((=Animalia) multicellular animals)
  • Phylum: Chordata (chordates)
  • Class: Reptilia (reptiles)
  • Order: Squamata (snakes, lizards)
  • Family: Iguanidae (iguanid lizards)
  • Genus: Anolis
  • Species: Anolis carolinensis
  • Common Names: Green Anole

One of my favorite lizards is the Green Anole.

They grow to about eight inches long and females are smaller – usually under five inches long.

Like geckos, they have adhesive foot pads so they can climb straight up a wall!

A lot of people think they are chameleons because they can change colors but they are not related.

There are 300 known species of Anoles – we ha Carolina Anoles. I even found one in my house!

You can spot a male by looking for a brightly colored flap of skin under their neck called a dewlap. Females can have them too but they are smaller.

They live all over the Southeastern United States.

Anoles eat insects and spiders so they are really good to have around if you hate spiders. I like spiders.

An anole can live up to seven years!

Male anoles perform rituals of dominance and territoriality. They show their dominance by bobbing their heads, usually through push up-like movements.

They also flare their dewlap. When threatened by another male, the opponents begin with head bobbing and flaring. Then they extend their throat (different than dewlap) to enlarge their body profile, they turn lateral to their opponent, showing the side profile of their body.

They also erect crests along the back, and form an eyespot. These performances are intended to intimidate the other anole. The loser of the confrontation performs submissive head bobbing and retreats to a different territory.

Green anoles breed anywhere from late March to early October. Females can lay single eggs every two weeks. These eggs, which look like smaller, leathery versions of the chicken egg (1/4-3/8″), need moist soil and foliage. They hatch after anywhere from 5-7 weeks.

Anoles have little black eyes that can move independently of each other.

An anole’s tail will easily break off if grabbed, which helps them escape predators. While a new tail will grow in its place, it will be shorter and less attractive. An anole can lose its tail only once.

They diurnal, which means they’re active during the day.

Anoles have been around for about six million years.


One response to “The Green Anole

  1. whyevolutionistrue

    Well done! One small thing– fossil anoles in amber date back to the mid Tertiary, about 20-30 million years ago.

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