The Anoles Are Coming!

You’ve all seen them. The tiny lizards that run all over the side of your house, the fence and the ground on warm and sunny days. They are called Carolina Anoles(Anolis carolinensis) and they come in two main colors green and brown. Though they are also often called American Chameleons because they will change colors depending on the background object they are sitting on. Lots of people keep them as pets and they are very resilient.

Especially considering they have spread from the Caribbean where they are native all the way up to southern Virginia. They like to hang out in the trees and shrubs but the cracks and crevasses in your Green Anole maphomes siding will do just fine. They eat small insects especially grasshoppers and crickets, but they also will nibble on your grass. You may notice that the same Anoles will be in the same spots over and over again. This is because they are very territorial and will fight off other anoles that try to take there territory. Some have even been known to try and fight there own reflection in a window.

The reason they are so active today and on other days in the spring is because of the warm sun. They are cold blooded and thus after a cold night they like to sun themselves to warm-up their body temperature. Just today I saw about 6 outside my back door.

Today’s pictures 2/2/12:



Other pictures of Anoles from my backyard:


  • I love them.. as long as they dont get into my house!! 🙂

  • we usually see more of the blue tail skanks than these….

    • Anonymous

      Regina, i have seen a few of the skanks but not so far this year. i think the Anoles have taken over my yard. 🙂

    • Watch your pets around the blue-tailed skinks (which are actually not TRUE blue-tailed skinks – those are native to Australia – but are of the Plestiodon family and only the juvies have the blue tail). I was told by two different vets that they are poisonous if a dog ingests them (would assume the same for a cat). We get a lot of Plestiodons around here; the only anole we have seen since moving here was in the summer of 2008, when my oldest caught one at the community playground. LOL

      • Anonymous

        Good to know Lisa thanks!

      • Anonymous

        We’ve got those. Glad to know about the fact that they are poisonous to animals! What a funny name for such a beautiful creature. We’ve had a few living in our garage … eating the spiders and such (at least that’s what the bug guy tells us).

  • I learn so much from you, dude. Dang.

  • Anonymous

    I live in North Charlotte and we have the little cuties around our house too. They can leap like crazy!!!

  • Nice pictures! I live up at Lake Norman and love Anoles. I have seen tons of them in Coastal SC and a few in Southern Charlotte, but have never seen them up on the north side of town. I wish I had some in my yard!

    • Anonymous

      Chris there does seem to be a sharp cut off in there range as you go north. Wonder if this mild winter might bring them closer to Lake Norma this Spring.

  • Great writeup! I snapped a photo of an anole when I was at Sunset Beach last summer but didn’t quite know what it was. Thanks for the heads up. Here’s the photo I got of one hanging out on a blue hydrangea:

  • Bob

    My lab ate a green anole and vomited three times. He was OK this morning.

  • Boggy

    Oddly; although its stated within their territory I have lived in both Birmingham, Al and Fayetteville, NC but never come across an anole in either city, however in the panhandle of Florida, Pensacola to Panama city beach I constantly come across them. they rush inside your house if you leave your door open for a minute etc.. is it just the population is so much greater in Florida?