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Iguanas Anoles and Relatives: Iguanidae

Green Anole (anolis Carolinensis): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: Green anoles are slim lizards with narrow, pointed heads and long, thin tails that can be twice as long as the rest of the animal. Body sizes range in length from 5 to 8 inches (12.7–20.3 centimeters). The body color can vary from shades of brown to shades of green. Males are larger than females. Both males and females have dewlaps, or throat fans, but the male dewlap is much larger. Dewlaps can inflate, or enlarge. An inflated dewlap is reddish-pink. Green anoles are sometimes called "chameleons" (kuh-MEEL-yuns), owing to their ability to change color, but they are not true chameleons.

Geographic range: The green anole is the only anole that inhabits the United States. These anoles are also found in Cuba and on Caribbean islands.

Green anoles are sometimes called "chameleons" owing to their ability to change color, but they are not true chameleons. (©David M. Schleser/Nature's Images/Photo Researchers, Inc.)

Habitat: The green anole lives on the ground but suns itself in small trees and shrubs, on vines and tall grasses, and within palm fronds. It likes vertical surfaces, or ones that stand upright, such as fence posts and walls.

Diet: The green anole hunts and eats small insects and spiders and laps water from leaves.

Behavior and reproduction: Green anoles are active in the daytime. If they are grabbed or threatened, their tails can fall off. A new tail will grow, but the new tail usually does not match the previous one in color or size.

During the breeding, or mating, season, males court females by facing them. They bob their heads up and down, and expand, or make larger, the bright pink dewlap under the throat. Next, the male may approach the female with a stiff-legged walk. If the female accepts the male, she stays still and arches her neck. If she does not accept him, she runs away. After mating, female lays single eggs every two weeks, for a total of about ten eggs per breeding season. She places the eggs in warm, moist spots, such as leaf litter. Young appear in five to seven weeks.

Green anoles and people: Green anoles are popular pets.

Conservation status: Green anoles are common in the southeastern United States. ∎



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Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceDinosaurs, Snakes, and Other ReptilesIguanas Anoles and Relatives: Iguanidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Cape Spinytail Iguana (ctenosaura Hemilopha): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, IGUANIDS AND PEOPLE