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Green Anole

Order: Squamata
Family: Iguanidae
Genus/species: Anolis carolinensis

The green anole is generally about five to eight inches (13 to 20 cm) long. Females are usually smaller and can be under five inches (13 cm) long. Green anoles have adhesive lamellae on their foot-pads for crawling along walls, much like geckos. Able to change color, the green anole can be anywhere from bright green to browns and grays. One thought is that the green coloration is related to dominance.

Their color varies depending on their mood, temperature, humidity and health. They are often referred to as the American chameleon, although they are unrelated to chameleons. Their tails and bodies are long and slender and their heads have pointed snouts. Males are distinguishable from females because males have a pink dewlap, a flap of skin that hangs in an arc below their neck. This dewlap is used for attracting females and in territorial displays.

Green anoles have a stereotyped set of behaviors. Male anoles perform rituals of dominance and territoriality. They show their dominance by bobbing their heads, usually through pushup-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.

Distribution and Habitat
Green anoles live in the Southeastern United States from eastern Texas to southern Virginia.

These anoles require greenery, some shade and a moist environment. They can be found in trees, shrubs, and on walls or fences.

Diet in the Wild
Green anoles eat small insects and spiders. They stalk them in shrubs, vines, walls and even window screens. Prey must move to be detected.

Zoo Diet
They are fed small crickets twice a week.

Green anoles breed anywhere from late March to early October. Females can lay single eggs every two weeks. These eggs are small, leathery and measure about .25 inches (.6 cm). They need moist soil and foliage and hatch after anywhere from five to seven weeks.

Life Span
They can live up to seven years in captivity.

There is no special status for the green anole at this time. The major threats to these anoles are house cats and collecting for the food trade.

Fun Facts
Male green anoles, because of their territoriality, react to a mirror image of themselves and may act aggressively toward it.

Source of Information
All or part of this information was provided by the Animal Diversity Web and Museum of Zoology of the University of Michigan.
It appears here with their permission. The original author of this information was Robert Smith.

For more information, including references, see the Animal Diversity Web account for this species, here:
http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/ site/ accounts/ information/ Anolis_carolinensis.html.