Northern Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis carolinensis)
Coloration of this thinly-built, active, arboreal species is variable, from shades of brown to green. An individual can change color quite rapidly according to background or mood. A lighter middorsal stripe is often present. Both males and females have a dewlap (flap on the throat), but in the males it is much larger and pink or red. The belly coloration is whitish. The eyes may be moved independently to look in two directions at once. The bottom of the feet and especially the toes have numerous folds uses for clinging and climbing. The tail is thin and long and will detach with some stress.
This species is unlikely to be confused with any other in Arkansas. It is also known as the American Anole, Red-throated Anole, or American Chameleon (due to its color-changing abilities alone; it is not closely related to true chameleons).
This species can be found in a variety of habitats, including around human habitations such as backyards and gardens. Areas of moist greenery with some shade seem to be preferred.
This species is quite an agile climber and may be seen in shrubbery or low in tree branches as it basks, displays (with its dewlap), or leaps about from twig to twig. The males are especially territorial and will defend their areas voraciously against competitors. Breeding occurs in early spring and females may lay numerous clutches of 1 or 2 eggs every couple of weeks throughout the warmer summer months.
Insects and spiders comprise the majority of the diet for this species. Prey is taken opportunistically either during active foraging or pursued after spotted from a lookout. It may also eat small amounts of pollen and nectar; in captivity they may take small amounts of fruit baby food.
This species has a tame demeanor, though it may attempt to bite if grasped firmly. For defense, a specimen may change color to blend with its surroundings or scamper up a tree, but attempts to escape seem less sincere than in other lizard species. To some, it may give the impression of being a dumb lizard and is relatively easy to catch.
This is a very common species in its range, even around human dwellings. It is ubiquitous within the pet trade and often sold cheaply as a beginner's lizard (though perhaps more accurately a throwaway lizard). It is relatively fragile, easy to stress, and has specific nutritional needs that are rarely met by inexperienced keepers. Typically, this scenario plays out badly and in short order. Others may purchase Anoles as an inexpensive feeder food for their finicky snake- or lizard-eating herps. It should be of concern that most of the Anoles sold in pet stores are wild-caught and often treated poorly.