Where do Anoles live?

Where do Anoles live? (and other interesting facts)

Where do anoles live? You might be surprised to learn that these lizards are incredibly widespread, living in a huge variety of habitats and regions…

Anoles live in the south-eastern United States, throughout the Caribbean and into South America as far south as Paraguay. In the US, the most common species is the Green Anole, whose typical abode includes swamps, forests, wooded beaches, parks, and even residential yards. Other well-known species include the Knight Anole and the Brown Anole.

They are often seen enjoying the sunshine while perched on trees, shrubs, or vines, playing or hunting on palm fronds, fence posts, and walls.

What Does A Green Anole Eat?

A green anole is a type of insectivorous lizard that mostly feeds on spiders, flies, crickets, small beetles, moths, butterflies, small slugs, worms, ants, and termites. 

It has extraordinary, dynamic eyesight and can spot prey from distances. Interestingly, even though water is a vital resource for its well-being it doesn’t tend to drink from puddles or ponds.

It obtains most of it through the dew from plants instead of drinking from a separate source. Consequently, it remains largely elusive despite being quite abundant in various environments.

Do Anoles eat fruit?
A Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis), also known as the Carolina Anole

Where Do Anole Lizards Go At Night?

At night, Anole lizards become especially picky in choosing the right place to sleep. While they have plenty of options during the day, laying on rocks or in the sunshine as they enjoy basking, they tend to venture inside vegetation at night. 

Green anoles, in particular, can be found sleeping on branch ends or dense foliage. For this reason, you should provide plenty of plants and decorations such as driftwood when keeping them in captivity. 

This behavior leads researchers to believe that Anole lizards rest more soundly when securely tucked away and out of sight from potential predators.

Brown anole range

Brown Anoles are one of the world’s most widely distributed species of anole lizards. Their range extends from Cuba and surrounding Caribbean Islands as far north as southern Georgia.

Historical records have shown that Brown Anoles have been present around the Caribbean since at least the late 1800s. And they have always natively inhabited Cuba, the Bahamas, and its surrounding islands.

This unique little lizard has since become a highly successful invader, spreading throughout much of North America and East Asia.

Are Brown Anoles invasive?
A Brown Anole keeps and eye on its territory

Where Do Green Anoles Live?

Green anoles are remarkable reptiles with highly varied habitats. In the southeastern United States where they are native, they are commonly found amongst moist forests and brushy clearings. 

In addition to its traditional home, this species has adapted to urban environments and can often be spotted sunning itself on foliage in cities throughout its range.

Anoles have also been observed in California, Hawaii, Japan, Cuba, the Bahamas, and Guam, indicating their adaptability to diverse ecosystems worldwide. In these locations they have been introduced, rather than occurring naturally.

Do Green Anoles need UVB?
A Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis) out sunbathing

Green lizards

The green anole is common in many warm backyards, spotted easily with its vibrant green markings. It has a slender body and pointed head adorned with ridges between the eyes and nostrils. 

The toe pads enable it to climb on surfaces such as trees and other foliage easily. In addition to being physically distinct, the sexes can be distinguished based on size, males 15% larger than females – and color of the throat fan (or dewlap). 

Whereas males have an orange or pink dewlap, females lack this feature and are sometimes lighter in coloration. 

Green Anoles (Anolis carolinensis) aren’t the only Green lizard in this group, however. There are around 400 species of Anole many of which are green, such as the Cuban Green Anole (Anolis porcatus).

To give you an idea of just how diverse Anoles are, here’s a list of some of the more well-known species:

  • Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis)
  • Cuban Brown Anole (Anolis sagrei)
  • Knight Anole (Anolis equestris)
  • Hispaniolan Green Anole (Anolis chlorocyanus)
  • Pedernalis Green Anole (Anolis chlorodius)
  • Two-lined Fathead Anole (Enyalius bilineatus)
  • Jamaican Giant Anole (Anolis garmani)
  • Graham’s Anole (Anolis grahami)
  • Slender Anole (Anolis limifrons)
  • Isla Beata Anole (Anolis longitibialis)
  • Jamaican Opal-bellied Anole (Anolis opalinus)
Where do Anoles live?
The Cuban Blue Anole (Anolis allisoni), also known as Allison’s Anole

Where Do Brown Anole Lizards Live?

Brown Anoles (Anolis sagrei), occur naturally in Cuba, Jamaica, and various other islands in the Carribean. Years ago, they were accidentally introduced to southern Florida where they became invasive.

In Florida, they became so successful that they have recently been reported in southern Georgia. How far north they will continue to spread remains to be seen.

The brown anole has been found in urban and suburban areas, avoiding the tall trees often associated with lizards and making it home among the smaller plants and shrubs beneath them.

 When temperatures are warm, the brown anole can be seen basking in the sun’s rays but quickly takes cover when it grows too cold to bear. 

Unlike its more arboreal green anole counterparts that love to climb, the brown anole prefers spending most of its time closer to the ground.

do anoles eat fruit?
Brown Anole Lizard (Anolis sagrei)

Are Anole Lizards Friendly?

Anole lizards generally do not seek human interaction; they are known to be quite shy and skittish. Although they are unlikely to engage in sociable behavior willingly, it is possible to slowly acclimate them to more frequent handling with gentle persistence. 

As fast-moving reptiles, anole lizards can be difficult to capture, but they may become somewhat tame once they have been properly handled and trained. 

Unfortunately, given their reclusive nature, prolonged and consistent contact with an anole lizard should be avoided unless necessary.

When it comes to interaction between anoles, most species will fight if you put two males together. Males can be kept with females though, just be aware that eggs will be on the way sooner or later!

Where do Anoles live?
The Knight Anole (Anolis equestris) is one of the biggest anoles of all. It is notoriously aggressive towards other anoles

Small Green Lizard

If you live in the Carolinas, northern Florida, Texas, or any of the Gulf Coast states, then any small green lizard you see is likely to be the Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis).

The green anole is a small to medium-sized lizard that is active during daylight hours. It has a slender, agile body, with toe pads enabling it to climb surfaces proficiently. 

Remarkably, they possess a lengthy, pointed head with ridges between the eyes and nostrils and smaller ridges atop their heads. 

Furthermore, males feature a prominent dewlap (throat fan), three times more pronounced than their female counterparts, ranging from white to pale pink; this trait is less common in females. 

As if that were not enough, the male’s dorsal ridge can be extended behind the head during stress or displaying dominance. Also, scars on the head and face may happen due to territorial disputes with other male green anoles or mating season fighting

This does not occur in females who present a white stripe along their spine rather than scarring.

Where do Anoles live?
A Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis), the most common species in the US, asides from in southern Florida where it is in great part replaced by the invasive Brown Anole

What is the Lifespan of an Anole Lizard?

Anole lizards are interesting creatures with a lifespan that can vary depending on the species. Green anoles, in particular can be expected to grow from hatchling size of about 5-6 cm to small adult sizes in 6-8 months if cared for correctly. 

Usually, green anoles have a typical lifespan of 3-6 years, so proper care routine and environmental conditions will go a long way.

Brown Anole Male Vs Female


Males typically have larger dimensions, with bigger heads than their female counterparts. Male brown anoles have been observed to create territorial grounds beneath the perches they occupy, a behavior known as territoriality. 

In this space, a male will likely display physical signs of aggression to intimidate potential competitors. 

If another male does encroache on the same height level or shares the same perch as the territorial male, the competing anole may face a physical attack. 


Male and female anoles differ greatly in physical appearance, with males typically having a larger body size and a larger head. 

The most distinguishing feature between the sexes is the presence of a dewlap, or throat fan in males that can be expanded to reveal a bright orange-red color. 

In contrast, while both males and females may vary in patterns and colors, ranging from light gray to black. Females always have a white dorsal stripe alongside a dark triangular pattern that differentiates them from their male counterparts. 

do anoles eat fruit?
Close up of a female Brown Anole

Faq Relating To Where Do Anole Lizards Live

Can I Keep A Wild Anole?

Keeping a wild anole as a pet is not recommended. While they are rather hardy reptiles, Green Anoles are in decline in parts of their range. It is much more responsible to buy a captive-bred anole if you want one as a pet.

To provide the proper habitat for them, you should research the conditions and needs of these unique creatures before welcoming them into your home. But with the right setup and dedication, getting to experience anoles in their natural environment can be a delightful bond between humans and reptiles.

How Do You Befriend An Anole?

To develop a bond with your green anole, it is important to interact with the lizard daily. This will create an baseline of familiarity and make them feel more comfortable around humans. 

Over time, they may become accustomed to your presence and even allow you to pet them. These daily interactions must remain consistent to ensure a secure relationship between the two parties. 

Once that trust is established, handling the lizard should only be done in a safe and secure environment. Building a trusting relationship between green anoles and humans takes time, effort, and patience.

Are Anoles Intelligent?

Anoles, though small, are incredibly intelligent creatures capable of learning from their environment and adjusting to their surroundings. This was proven in a study conducted in 2011, where Puerto Rican Anoles were tested for intelligence alongside birds. 

The anoles completed tasks given to them throughout the experiment with accuracy and dexterity, and also managed to adjust their behavior.

Does An Anole Bite Hurt?

Although an anole’s bite does not carry venom and would not be considered dangerous, in larger species it can be painful and even cause some bleeding. 

Taking proper care to clean the wound with soap and water when you are bitten is recommended to help avoid infection. Keeping anole lizards requires knowledge, caution, and diligence to prevent bites in the first place.

Key Takeaways

  • The anole lizard is found in a variety of habitats, including swamps, forests, wooded beaches, parks and even residential yards. 
  • They are often seen perched on trees, shrubs or vines enjoying the sunshine.
  • Anole lizards are native to the United States but can also be found in other parts of the world.
  • They require a warm and humid environment to thrive, so it is important to provide these conditions if you plan on keeping anoles as pets.

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