A Note To Parents: We make every effort for Roxanne's blog to be a SAFE site for children. Whenever possible, activities are in pdf format or link to safe sites for children. Please feel free to use the information in these posts for homeschool studies! All rights reserved by author and nature photographer, Virginia Parker Staat.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

How Do They Do That? This lizard is green... brown... green

Leaping Lizards!!!  We have a funny new friend in our flower pot.  He is a lizard.  He changes colors!  Some times he is bright green.  Some times he is brown.  Wow!  How does he do that?

Our Anole lizard is brown.
Mom and I decided to do some research.  We thought at first that he was a chameleon.  Chameleon's are lizards that change colors.  But this little guy isn't a true chameleon.  He is called an anole.  He is actually a member of the iguana family!

Our Anole lizard is green!
Anoles are about 5 to 8 inches long.  They like warm weather and moist, shady areas.  In captivity, they can live about 7 or 8 years.  In the wild, they live in South Texas and the southeastern states.

Anoles like to change color.  They change color because of the temperature.  They change color when they feel good or bad.  They change color when they are happy or afraid.

How do anoles change colors?  These lizards have a transparent outer skin.  The skin layers underneath have special cells that contain sacks of color pigment.  The secret to these lizards turning green or brown happens in these special layers of skin.

The anole's tail is another interesting part of this little critter.  When they feel threatened or caught, their tail falls off.  The neat part is that their tails grow back!

Male anoles are easy to tell from female anoles.  Males have a special pink half circle under their chin.  This pink half circle is called a dewlap.  The males flare the dewlap when they see a female anole.  The males also flare the dewlap when they feel their territory is threatened.  They bob their head up and down to scare away other males.

Female anoles lay eggs.  They bury the eggs in leafy compost.  The eggs hatch in 30 to 45 days.  When they hatch, the little lizards are able to take care of themselves.

If you have anoles in your yard, it is a very good sign.  It means that your yard is healthy!

For more information on green anoles, click here:

Here is a coloring page for anoles:

You can also check out this great book from your library:  Anoles, Those Florida Yard Lizards by Steven Isham

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