The first time I saw one of these I stared in disbelief. It was a strange new anole in a warmed greenhouse here in my part of town.
Now 10 years later, I've seen two of them out and about scampering along the sidewalks in my neighborhood.
At first I thought it was one of our native green anoles in one of its brown moods. But take a look:
Once you can compare, you readily see the differences. So I started a little research to see what I could find.
Here's some great information from a Texas reptile website created by one of our universities:
The first Texas sightings of this Cuban lizard were here in the green county (Harris County). It traveled here via greenhouse plants grown in southern Florida. The brown anoles don't like the cold weather, but seem to be adapting to our environment by hanging out near warm buildings, warm walls, warm sidewalks, and storm sewers that have warm water flowing through them. Milder southern winters are also contributing to their expansion efforts.
As you can see, this one has found a wonderful home in this storm grate in metro Houston.
If you are wondering how far they will make it before a colder climate stops their wonderings, here's the range map for our native green anole. I had no idea they were found so far north! This page is from the Chattanooga, Tennessee Nature Center.
The brown anole is tremendously faster than our green variety. I can easily catch a green anole in my garden. But this brown species starts to get jumpy when you're still five feet away! In fact, I'm still amazed I got this photo before it darted off.
Now for the bad news. A number of biologists have studied their interactions with our slower green anoles and found that when together the brown anoles can capture and eat the baby green anoles.
I'm sure they also pick off our despised fire ants. So the news isn't all bad.
So there you have it. If you see a flash of brown look twice and see if the rascal has tiny white spots.
You've just spotted your first Anolis sagrei!
For a complete list of Texas lizards, check out this wonderful website:
All for now.
Thanks for stopping by!