Anoles are streamlined with long tails, long legs and toes, and a narrow head. A. carolinensis is is 5 to 8 inches in length and has a pointed nose and round tail. It is primarily bright green with a pale belly. Males are slightly larger than the females, with a larger head, a pink throat flap or dewlap that expands when displaying and two enlarged post-anal glands. It has a small dorsal crest immediately behind the head that is only visible during threat display.
GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
Trees and shrubs of southeastern United States from Virginia to the Florida Keys and west to central Texas and Oklahoma. Also found on Cuba and islands in the Caribbean.
Insects and spiders.
LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
Diurnal. Mostly arboreal, but frequently dwell near human habitation. Males are extremely territorial and exert their dominance by flaring dewlaps, bobbing heads, erecting a dorsal crest and posturing to enlarge their image. During the breeding season which extends from spring to fall they use their dewlaps to entice females. Single eggs are laid every two weeks in leaf litter, loose soil, etc. Young hatch in 5 to 7 weeks.
Large adhesive toe pads enable them to walk on vertical surfaces. This lizard is capable of rapid but limited color changes from green to gray or brown, depending on mood and background. A basking anole is typically brown; fighting males turn green with a black patch behind the eyes.
Anoles make up the largest genus of the iguanids with more than 110 species found in the West Indies alone, plus more in Central and South America. However A. carolinensis is is the only anole found in North America. It is also known as the Common Anole or the American Chameleon (although it is not a chameleon). This lizard is an agile, darting creature and can fall from great heights without hurting itself.
STATUS IN WILD: