Tag Archives: green anole (Anolis carolinensis)

Hiding from the wind

I stood on the patio yesterday as the north wind blew and temperatures fell, and I enjoyed the taste of winter despite a boringly sunny sky.  Yet even as I gleefully sniffed at the brisk, clean scent of cold air, another life shared the moment with me but did not find it as enjoyable.  I bit of movement between the fence post and wall caught my eyes.  It is a tiny space, less than a hand-width across, yet a creature desperate for sunshine but unwilling to face the chilled breeze huddled quietly in that refuge as it tried to capture whatever warmth it could from errant rays of light.  When finally I grew close enough to see it, I recognized it immediately as a female green anole (Anolis carolinensis).  It was simply too cold for her to brave direct exposure to the elements, and eventually she turned her back on the day and returned to her cubbyhole for shelter.

Female green anole (Anolis carolinensis) hiding from the wind in a small space between the fence post and wall (160_6072)
Female green anole (Anolis carolinensis) hiding from the wind while trying to grab a few stray rays of sunshine (160_6065)

[do check out those back feet; interesting…; it also appears she lost part of her tail at one time if the abrupt, flat end is any indication]

Not as limited as some would believe

I’ve talked about green anoles (Anolis carolinensis) before.  They’re quite common here in Texas and certainly where I live.  They are a fascinating lizard in that, like chameleons, they have the ability to change colors.  This trait is described as being limited in scope.  From the texts I’ve seen on the subject, their coloration varies from green to yellow to brown to gray, or a mixture of those colors.

You may remember I even posted photographs of some of this color diversity.  For example, this post showed a male who started at the top of a bush and worked his way down to the ground.  I was able to capture to some degree the color changes as he climbed down (starting with bright green at the top and ending with dark brown at the bottom).  Another male hiding in the leaves of a bush was sporting the bright green color that matched his surroundings.  Finally, a female playing peekaboo from the patio wall was in a relaxed shade of dark brown.

Having seen them perfectly match ground cover, leaves, and bark, not to mention demonstrating a myriad of other color combinations, I’ve been impressed with this ability.  It’s quite expressive and, more importantly, they appear to have tremendous control of the gift.

Based on the photos below, I think you’ll see on a limited basis the level of control I’m talking about, especially when it comes to camouflage.  This is a female green anole who was hanging on the outside of my patio fence one day and wasn’t entirely threatened by my presence (as long as I didn’t get too close, of course).  Her feeling of security undoubtedly came from her having matched the color of the fence.  In this first picture, you can see in a small way some of that color along the top of her head and back.

Female green anole (Anolis carolinensis) hanging on the outside of the fence (152_5240)

When I got into a better position to see her (without leaning over the fence and scaring her away), I was able to capture a slightly better view of her mastery of disguise.

Female green anole (Anolis carolinensis) hanging on the outside of the fence (152_5245)

Look at the top of her head compared to the fence.  I’d say she did a pretty damn good job matching the color.  Here’s one more view.

Female green anole (Anolis carolinensis) hanging on the outside of the fence (152_5242)

Pretty cool, huh?  I think their ability to change color is a bit less limited than I at first believed based on what I read about them.