The Carolina Anole: Crickets and Spiders and Flies, Oh My!

One of my favorite sightings while conducting a walking tour in Charleston, SC, is the bright appearance of what many think to be the chameleon due to its vibrant green or brown hue or even another reptile similar in size, the gekko, but it’s really just a harmless lizard known as the Carolina Anole. (“Anole” rhymes with the Italian dessert “cannoli.” ( Say: a-NO-lee). It’s one of those iconic creatures that seems to just fit the landscape somehow – like a slithering woodland fairy who lives deep inside a forest filled with rocky caverns bursting with drooping ferns and Lily of the Valley holding court atop a leafy lily pad in a storybook.
Charleston’s gardens and humid climate are the perfect home for these beautiful creatures. 
Here are a few facts about them:
Scientific NameAnolis carolinensis

Distribution/Habitat: Found in Tennessee, Louisiana, Georgia, the Carolinas and Florida. 

Average Size: Adults: 4-8 inches long

Average Life Span: 2-5 years

Diet: Small insects such as crickets, flies and spiders

Description: 5 – 8 in (12 – 20 cm). May be either green or brown depending on environmental conditions. When brown, may have faint markings on the back. Males have a pinkish throat fan that is displayed in territorial rivalries or when approaching a potential mate. The green anole is most easily distinguished from the similar brown anole (Anolis sagrei) by green or lightly patterned brown coloration, pinkish throat fan, and by range.

Range and Habitat: The green anole is a common lizard throughout Georgia and South Carolina, but is absent from some areas in the mountains. Anoles are generally arboreal (living in trees) but can be found almost anywhere. Anoles are commonly found in suburban or even urban areas and can often be seen perched on fences and rooftops.

Habits: Anoles are active by day in warm weather and often bask in vegetation, occasionally charging away from a basking spot to grab and inset or chase off a rival anole. During cool weather anoles are often found hiding under tree bark, shingles, or in rotten logs. Sometimes many anoles can be found taking refuge in one spot.

Prey: Anoles eat a wide variety of insects, spiders, and other invertebrates.

Reproduction: Throughout the warm months, female green anoles lay single, round, eggs, in moist soil or rotten wood. Young resemble miniature adults.

Abundance: Green anoles are generally common in almost all habitats.

Over the years, I’ve captured many anoles in action.

On a walking tour, I took this on Church Street. See how he beautifully matches the greenery inside a window box…

Visiting the Nathaniel Russell House, I spied this guy inside the upstairs bedroom…

Perched on the entrance gate at Two Meeting Street Inn

Gracing the entrance to the Williams Mansion

Working out…

And, even sleeping on my front porch…

Hopefully, when you visit Charleston, you’ll see a few for yourself. If you’d like to book one of my unique walking tours or private tours by car, please give me a call at 843.806.9915 or simply visit my Tours information page on my website: Eclectic Tours of Charleston

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Dakare Chatman

    I love these little guys Jilly! Between Dr Carr and these lovely little guys my garden is good to go! They eat aphids, the sap sucking freaks of the garden world. LOL. Great post!

    1. Jill Paris

      Thanks so much! I’m so glad you have such diligent garden protectors! You work so hard to keep it bountiful.

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