Northern Green Anole

Northern Green Anole.  Photo by Rachel Bradley

Category
Reptiles

Description

Within the towering forests of southeastern Oklahoma basks a unique lizard. It can change colors, move its eyes independently of one another and males can extend a pink dewlap, or fold of skin under the jaw, to attract females. This mystery lizard is a northern green anole, the only native species of anole found in the continental United States. Oftentimes, the green anole is, as the name suggests, green. But depending on temperature or “emotional state,” this lizard can be green, mottled green and brown, or all brown. (This flair for camouflage has led to the misnomer of “chameleon.” Chameleons are not native to the United States and are much more adept at color change than this native anole.) In addition to the ability to change colors, the green anole can be identified by its long, tapered face and wide, ridged toes. These specialized toes allow the anole to climb many surfaces – including glass – with ease.

Size

5-8 inches long.

Habitat

Northern green anoles are found across the southeastern United States, but are only found in the southeastern corner of Oklahoma. They are often seen around houses and backyards, and are frequently found in trees and shrubs.

Life History

To attract a mate, the male green anole has several rituals. One of the most obvious displays is the extension of a pink dewlap. The pink coloration is only noticeable when the dewlap is unfolded. More subtle, but no less impressive, are the pushups and head-bobbing of male green anoles when other males enter their territory. Unlike most Oklahoma lizards that lay one or two clutches of eggs per year, the northern green anole lays multiple, very small clutches of eggs through the summer. Anoles feed primarily on spiders and insects.

Explore more Oklahoma Reptiles

Five-lined Sking.  Photo by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren/Flickr.com
Photo by: Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren/Flickr
Prairie Kingsnake.  Photo by Kelly Adams
ODWC Photo

Want the 58 amphibian and 94 reptile species and subspecies that can be found within the state's boundaries in book format?  Head to the Outdoor Store to purchase "A Field Guide to Oklahoma's Amphibians and Reptiles".  Each account shares detailed photos of the animal along with a physical description, information about the food and habitat preferences, and notes on the life cycle and habits of the species. Revenue supports the Wildlife Department's Wildlife Diversity Fund.
For information on taking or attempting to take reptiles and amphibians or possessing reptiles or amphibians consult the current regulations.