(Pictured above: Bahaman anole left, American anole right)
If you have ever stepped out side on a sunny Florida day you may have noticed some brown shadows vanish quickly from sight. However, on closer inspection you notice tiny lizards everywhere. These brown lizards are called Bahaman brown anoles and they have laid claim to all of Southern and Central Florida. As the name suggests they are native to the Bahamas and have made their way to Florida. As it turns out Florida had an anole of their own calling the sunshine state it’s home.
Florida’s natural anole is non other than the American green anole. Native Floridians know these anoles as the rarer of the two. Unfortunately this is the case because the invasive brown anole is much more aggressive and has chased the green anoles from their ground level territories to becoming tree dwelling lizards. Generally most brown anoles can be seen doing their “push ups” and flaring their bright orange dewlap to display dominance. Even though this is sad it is also an amazing feet of adaptation and evolution.
In less than 40 years the American green anole has become solely tree dwelling from it’s natural ground habitat with the exception of a few brave males who still feel the need to challenge the brown anoles.
A life in the treetops is dangerous one though, with many dangers including: birds, snakes, brown anoles, broad-headed skinks, domestic cats and other small predators. Luckily the green anoles have adapted longer toes with better grips, which allow them to move swiftly and safely through the treetops. So if you have noticed less and less green anoles just look up and you might find them in the treetops.