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What Is the Origin of Green Anole?

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Green anoles (Anolis carolinensis) are family Iguanidae reptiles that are often seen living out in the wild -- and in peoples' homes as exotic pets, too. These diurnal and slim lizards are also commonly referred to as "Carolina anole" and "American anole."

Green Anole Basics

Mature green anoles usually are anywhere from 6 to 11 inches long. The males typically are bigger than the females. Weight-wise, these lithe lizards usually weigh no more than 0.2 ounces. They have brown, brownish-gray, greenish-brown or green physiques, with lengthy tails and pointed snouts. The males' throats are equipped with pink dewlaps -- or segments of skin -- that they show off during courtship activities or while in the midst of turf conflicts. Green anoles are memorable in that they're capable of practically instantly transforming the color of their bodies. This color transformation is related to a lot of factors, notably climate, physical condition and even mood.

These insectivorous reptiles frequently dine on spiders, seeds, grains, worms and slugs, but they don't eat only bugs. They munch on whatever is bountiful and easy to get in their surroundings.


The geographic origins of green anoles are in the United States, specifically its southeastern regions, including states like Florida, Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. These wee lizards aren't at all restricted to the area, however. The general geographic scope of green anoles ranges from the southern portion of Virginia and goes as far out west as Texas' eastern regions. In the past, Florida was a hub for green anoles, and kind of like the "middle point" of their range. They aren't as prevalent in Florida anymore, however, with other types of anoles having moved in on their stomping grounds.

Other Areas of Residence

Although green anoles' originated in the United States' southeast, they have been brought to numerous other diverse settings in the world. Green anoles also reside in Hawaii, Japan, Cuba, Spain and on islands in the Caribbean. Many specimens also inhabit Guam, the American island territory in the Pacific.


Green anoles out in nature are drawn to dampness, plentiful plants and a little shelter from direct light. They spend a lot of time hanging out under strips of bark, on vines, in grass, on gates, on roofs and on tree limbs. These lizards like to take in the sun's rays amidst plants. Some of the diverse habitat types that are common homes for the species include marshes, woodlands, parks, shrubby locales, forests and gardens. Green anoles are prevalent in all sorts of environments. Their total population is sizable and steady in growth, with no pressing danger of endangerment. (See References 5, 6 & 8)