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Green Anole

 
 

Image: Wikipedia.org (GNU Free Documentation License)

Description: Measuring up to nine inches in length, the familiar Green Anole, sometimes called the Carolina Anole, is bright green or brown with white underparts. The male has a conspicuous red or pink dewlap that is used for courtship or territorial display. A dewlap is a flap of skin that hangs from the lower jaw. Like many lizards, the anole’s tail is detachable when grasped by a predator and will wiggle for several seconds after it detaches, distracting the predator while the anole escapes. The lost tail will re-generate, but it is usually not as long and not as functional. Like chameleons, Green Anoles can change their colors depending on mood, temperature, humidity and overall health. These reptiles have specialized pads on the feet which allow them to climb virtually any vertical surface.

Diet: Green Anoles feed primarily on insects and spiders. These reptiles can only sense prey when it moves.

Habitat/Range: Green Anoles are found in shady places with trees, shrubs, and a nearby water source. They are often encountered on tree trunks, fences, or rocks. The Green Anole is found throughout most of the southeastern United states from southern Virginia west to east Texas.

Breeding: Anoles mate any time between April and August. Males court the females by displaying their dewlaps while bobbing up and down. Males mate with several females and the larger his size, the greater number of females his territory encompasses. Unlike many lizards, the female Green Anole does not lay a single clutch of eggs, but rather, lays one egg at a time for a period of about four months, roughly one each week. The eggs are deposited in soft soil and hatch in about 6-8 weeks and receive no parental care. Young anoles have numerous predators, including adult anole, who will not hesitate to snatch them up as a meal.

Status: The Green Anole is common and familiar throughout its range. Many are taken as pets.