About Anoles

AnolesAnoles are small and common lizards that can be found throughout the southeastern United States, the Caribbean, and various other regions of the western world. A large majority of them sport a green coloration, including the only species native to North America, the aptly named Green anole, although the green anole can change its color based on its mood and surroundings. Anoles are an exorbitantly diverse and plentiful group of lizards. There are currently well over 300 known species. The knight, green, bark, and Cuban brown anoles can all be found in the United States, primarily in Florida, although the most prevalent of these species by far is the Cuban brown anole, which has pushed the native green (or "Carolina") anole population farther north. All species of anole in the U.S. except the green anole were introduced through eggs nested in imported plants. It is notable that while nearly all anoles can change their color, the extent and variations of this ability differ wildly throughout the individual anole species. For example, the green anole can change its color from a bright, leafy green to a dull brown color, while the Cuban brown can only change its shade of brown, along with the patterns on its back.

Many anoles are between 8 and 18 cm (3–7 inches) in length. Some larger species, such as the Knight Anole, can surpass 12 inches, some males of the Knight Anole species can even reach two feet.

Anoles thrive on live insects and other invertebrates with moths and spiders being some of the most commonly consumed prey. Anoles are opportunistic feeders, and may attempt to eat any attractive meal that is small enough. The primary food for captive anoles is small crickets bred for food that can be purchased at most pet stores.

These subtropical lizards are semiarboreal. They usually inhabit regions around 3–6 m (10–20 feet) high. Shrubs, walls, fences, bushes, and short trees are common hiding places.

Most anoles are said to live between 3 and 5 years. Even anoles captured from the wild can live for several years if given acceptable living space and cared for properly—a healthy anole in captivity, being free from predators and natural disaster, may live well beyond seven years.

Breeding occurs for several months beginning in late spring. Males employ head bobbing and dewlap extension in courtship. 1–2 small, softshell eggs are laid among leaf litter. More clutches may be laid before mating season has ended.

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Fun Facts

  • Do You Know?

    If you dilute Listerine in a spray bottle that it works as a mosquito repellent?

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