Lizard, Lizard, Show me your Gizzard*

Cuban anole giving a warning or a wink?

Cuban anole giving a warning or a wink?

I was wandering out back when I perused one of the trees coming into leaf. There I spied the bright red dewlap of a brown anole, one of the non-native Florida lizards. A dewlap is a throat flap that the males have, kinda like the Adam’s apple of the herp set.

No shame in the mating department

No shame in the mating department

This surely means that Spring has arrived. Love is in the air!  Anoles display their dewlaps for two reasons…to warn or to woo.   An added element is that they will bob up and down in these courtship or territorial displays.  I doubt this guy was trying to invite me to be his wife, so I will assume that he was just letting me know to move on.  This was his area. Get out.

Green anole boys have pink dewlaps

Green anole boys have pink dewlaps

Recently I’ve been seeing a lot of the native Green Anoles as well, which pleases me. That means that my habitat efforts are working to keep them from being out competed by the invaders.  The native green anoles prefer habitat with height whereas the brown invaders are more terrestrial, keeping things low to the ground.

Luckily my population of the native green anole seems secure

Luckily my population of the native green anole seems secure

This allows both species to coexist, but people need to allow shrubbery to grow a little taller to encourage the populations of native anoles.  I’ve done exactly that by adding a few trees and allowing my Wax Myrtle and Elderberry shrubs to grow up, up and away.

They shed as they grow

They shed as they grow

No, your anole isn’t sunburned.  Anoles shed their skin as they grow.   Younger anoles will shed more often then their adult counterparts since they grow at a more rapid rate.  Many eat their own skin (ewwwwwww), to take back in the minerals.

See?  no sunburn, this guy is in the shade

See? no sunburn, this guy is in the shade

Both native and non-native anoles are beneficial in that they eat pest insects.  They also provide hours of entertainment with their swift movements, courting styles and routines to capture prey.

Keep our green anoles secure by maintaining some landscaping with the height they need

Keep our green anoles secure by maintaining some landscaping with the height they need

Encourage them by providing habitat and avoiding pesticides.  And please people, put down the hedge clippers to give our native anoles a better chance.

*Title with thanks to source:

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  1. says

    Cool guys! What a photo of the pink dewlap on that male anole. I love that the native anoles have worked things out with the non-natives territory-wise. Springtime for all! Good advice about keeping tall hedges and bushes for these guys. How high up will they climb?
    kathy vilim recently posted..A Butterfly Kind of Day~

  2. says

    Love the articles on the smiles, it was very good, so u of like to know more about their life expand and ways that I can help them to be protected from the cold weather that’s approaching here in Sarasota fl.
    In advance thank you,
    Maria Avila Blanco

    • says

      Hi Maria!

      I don’t think you have to do anything to protect them. They find a safe spot to stay warm during our brief cold spells, at least here in Central Fl.

      Thanks for stopping by :)

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