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Beneficial Anole Lizard Shows It’s True Colors… But Which?

The Green anole lizard (Anolis carolinensis) is very common in the Gulf Coast area and it’s continued presence in the garden is a sign you are NOT using harmful pesticides. What a wonderful balanced world your garden becomes once you free it from poisons.  Anoles are also referred to as chameleons because they can change color from green to brown and vice versa. A hormone called intermedin secreted by their pituitary gland causes this change and it can be triggered by temperature, background color or even their mood. Green anoles tend to remain green when temperatures are above 70 degrees F., and brown when temperatures are cooler.

I came across this one while taking some photos in the garden. When I first saw him it was a brownish green color. He was moving across some one gallon pots behind the garage. He climbed this olive tree along the bamboo stake. I noticed that once he was surrounded by the green leaves, he began to change color.

A small plant with green leaves on it.

There were subtle changes at first.

A small lizard is perched on a branch of a plant.

A small lizard is sitting on top of a plant.

Over the next two minutes this little guy slowly turned green.

A green lizard on a branch of a plant.

A plant with green leaves and a wooden fence.

A green gecko on a branch of a plant.

A green lizard sitting on top of a bamboo stalk.

And then, he started turning brown again. I guess the longer he clung to the brown bamboo stake the more he tried to mimic its coloring. It was very interesting to watch.

A small lizard is perched on a branch of a plant.

But most important is their presence in the garden. I often find these Anole lizards climbing on the cucumber trellis and it is nice to know they are on the job eating as many insects as they can. Did you know they swallow their prey whole? No chewing. They are good climbers and are active during the day. Many times you’ll find them basking in the sun to warm their bodies. They are reptiles which means they’re cold blooded. Here is a smaller one I spotted nearby climbing the fence. This one was brown and most likely that way because of the background color it was resting on.

A small lizard peeking out of a wooden fence.

A small lizard on a wooden fence.

You can read more about these fascinating Green Anole lizards here.

10 thoughts on “Beneficial Anole Lizard Shows It’s True Colors… But Which?”

  1. Great article on my favorite little lizard here in Houston. Your website is on my blog’s favorites list…and for good reason. I love your garden website and am an avid reader.
    Please stop by my new garden blog….Tropical Texana. I’m just starting out in the garden blog realm, but have been a Texas gardener since 1968.
    I’m posting an anole picture in your honor.
    Happy Gardening and take an umbrella. Seems like the rains are here for the summer.
    David 🙂

    1. Jacqueline D'Elia

      Thank you for visiting. I’ll add your blog to my blogroll. Nice to meet another Houston blogger.

  2. Anoles are such wonderful garden critters and their presence is certainly a prime argument for not using pesticides. This season’s hatch has begun in my yard because I’m now seeing lots of very tiny anoles. Each time I see one it makes me smile.

  3. Thanks for the info. I’ve always wondered if they laid eggs or gave birth and the web site you posted states that they do lay eggs. Do they lay only one egg or several?

      1. ive raised anoles when i was a kid 🙂 they usually lay just one egg at a time. the babies come out looking exactly like an adult anole except adorably tiny. i used to feed the adults meal worms. for the baby anoles id break the meal worms in half and the anoles would eat the worm goo from the inside.

  4. Never really thought about these little creatures. Often I’m been too busy to rush to water my garden and take care of other chores. And sometimes spots a lizard or two staring at me while I water the garden.
    Though the ones in my garden do not change colours.

  5. Meredith/Great Stems

    Wow, what an excellent documentation of all those color changes! I’ve never witnessed the camouflage transition in effect — now I really want to! So cool, Jacqueline!

  6. I just wrote a story and posted a video about the Green Anole. They are amazing creatures. Thanks for your article.

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