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Range Map

Green Anole

Green Anole
Anolis carolinensis

Occurs in the southern half of the state. Only one subspecies occurs in TN; Northern Green Anole (A. c. carolinensis).

Description: A small lizard (5.0 to 8.0 inches in length) which can be green, brown, or a mixture of both colors; may have some darkjpatterns on the back. Males are larger and have a pink or reddish throat fan. Females have a white throat and a whitish stripe down the center of their back.

Similar Species: None.

Habitat: Mainly a tree dwelling species, often on shaded tree branches, but may be found anywhere. Frequently found in suburban areas, including roof tops and fence posts.

Diet: Primarily insects, spiders, and other arthropods.

Breeding information: Adults breed in spring and summer. Females lay 1 oval egg every 2 weeks in moist soil, leaf litter, or rotten wood. Eggs hatch in 5-7 weeks. Juveniles resemble miniature adults and do not receive any parental care.

Status in Tennessee: Green Anoles are generally common throughout the southeast with the exception of the mountains. No threats to their populations; however may be vulnerable to the pet trade.

Fun Facts:

  • The Green Anole can change colors, but it is not a true chameleon.
  • “Throat fans,” also known as dewlaps, are colorful skin flaps which the males can extend or display to attract mates or defend territories. Head-bobbing and push-ups may accompany the throat fan display.

Best places to see in Tennessee: Shaded trees of suburban lawns in the southern section of TN.

For more information:

Atlas of the Reptiles of Tennessee

The Lizards of Tennessee web site


Conant, R. and Collins, J. 1998. Peterson Field Guides: Reptiles and Amphibians (Eastern/Central North America). Houghton Mifflin Company, New York. 616pp.

Jensen, J. B., Camp C. D., Gibbons, W., and Elliot, M. J. 2008. Amphibians and Reptiles of Georgia, University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA. 575pp.