The Green Anole may seem to be “just another” lizard from the vast reptilian world, but if you ask me, these lizards are wizards!
They can change body color at will and do the classic disappearing act by blending into their surroundings as if like magic! If you are a nature enthusiast living on the San Antonio River Watershed, you would surely have noticed these eye-catching green lizards in sunny areas, amongst greenery and moisture. They are sometimes called “American Chameleons” because of their ability to change color from shades of brown to bright green depending on their mood, temperature, humidity and health.
Anoles are between 5-8 inches long, with a slender body and pointed snout. They make no sound at all, and the males possess an astonishing pink dewlap, a flap of skin that hangs below their pale white neck. They protrude this pink dewlap to attract females and for fierce territorial displays. They have the most amazing rituals of dominance and territoriality that start with a sharp head bobbing with accompanying push-ups. Then they flare their dewlap and sometimes stick up a dorsal crest to look bigger, hoping to intimidate their opponents.
Like all the other reptiles, lizards are an integral part of the riparian habitat surrounding the San Antonio River. These carnivores form a critical link between insects they prey on and the birds, snakes and cats that predate on lizards. The Green Anole likes to snack on insects and spiders by stalking them on fences, walls and shrubs.
Females mostly lay one small papery egg on the ground when they are ready to reproduce. They do not bother with parenting their offspring, who are left to fend for themselves in the big bad world.
These elegant creatures are also found around East Texas, spreading all the way to southern Virginia. All I can say is, that pretty flash of pink on a bright green body calls for some serious lizard-watching along the San Antonio river banks…which they, like us, call home.
- Minna Paul, Education Coordinator San Antonio River Authority