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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: http://www.loyno.edu/lucec/sites/loyno.edu.lucec/files/loyola-university-center-for-
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