Species Identification - Reptiles

Carolina Anole - Anolis carolinensis

Family: Hylidae


The Carolina Anole, an arboreal lizard, is sometimes called a chameleon because it changes colors. But it can only change between a bright green (on warm days when it’s basking in the sun or when sexually aroused) and a brownish color (on cooler days, even if sunny.) The male anole has a bright red dewlap—an area of skin under its chin that can be stretched and bloated to suggest that he is a menacing foe as well as an ardent lover. He may be seen doing push-ups to show off his dewlap when other males are in his territory. Anoles hide under bark, stones, brush, and boards. They eat small insects and grasses. Their major predators are skunks, snakes, and birds. Anoles have “automatic tails” which if broken off continue to move as a means to distract an enemy.

Range: Found primarily in the southeastern U.S. and some Caribbean Islands, the Carolina or Green Anole is native to North America and abundant on the coastal plains of the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. It can be seen in shrubs and on roadsides in the low country, as well as urban areas such as steps and railings of a house near foliage.

Photos by Carl Berube

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