Sunday, October 10, 2010

Carolina Anole

The Carolina or Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis) is an arboreal lizard that is native to North America. They are found along the Atlantic Coast and can also be found in some Caribbean islands. They reach lengths of 6-7inches, and males are slightly larger than females.

(Image Source)
Anoles are able to change color, but are not true Chameleons because they can only shift between two colors, rather than a more complete blending. Temperature and sexual activity dictate which of the two colors they will be at a given time. Typically, if it is warm outside, they are found as bright green. In cooler weather, they change to a drabber brown. This is due to the fact that darker colors absorb more heat, which is a valuable trait when you're cold blooded. Males have a flap of skin on their throats called a Dewlap which also changes colors. It is normally white, but when stretched out due to mating interest or territorial protection it becomes red. Males are extremely territorial and will fight to defend their turf.

Carolina Anoles are carnivorous, and feed off of insects. They are solitary reptiles from birth. After the mother lays her eggs she has nothing further to do with them.

Carolina Anoles are often kept as pets, and are quite common in the wild. They do have one major threat however, and that is encroachment by invasive Anole species like the Brown Anole. Browns have forced the Carolinas to compete for food and habitats, which has damaged their numbers.

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