Eastern Glass Lizard (Ophisaurus ventralis)


Photos by Amanda Hurst and J.D. Willson unless otherwise noted

Description: 5 – 8 in (12 – 20 cm). May be either green or brown depending on environmental conditions. When brown, may have faint markings on the back. Males have a pinkish throat fan that is displayed in territorial rivalries or when approaching a potential mate. The green anole is most easily distinguished form the similar brown anole (Anolis sagrei) by green or lightly patterned brown coloration, pinkish throat fan, and by range.

Range and Habitat: The green anole is a common lizard throughout Georgia and South Carolina, but is absent from some areas in the mountains. Anoles are generally arboreal (living in trees) but can be found almost anywhere. Anoles are commonly found in suburban or even urban areas and can often be seen perched on fences and rooftops.

Habits: Anoles are active by day in warm weather and often bask in vegetation, occasionally charging away from a basking spot to grab and inset or chase off a rival anole. During cool weather anoles are often found hiding under tree bark, shingles, or in rotten logs. Sometimes many anoles can be found taking refuge in one spot.

Prey: Anoles eat a wide variety of insects, spiders, and other invertebrates.

Reproduction: Throughout the warm months, female green anoles lay single, round, eggs, in moist soil or rotten wood. Young resemble miniature adults.

Abundance: Green anoles are generally common in almost all habitats.

Notes: The anole’s ability to change color has given it the nickname chameleon; however, this species’ color changing abilities are not nearly as sophisticated as the true chameleons which inhabit the old world. Although the green anole is the only anole species native to the U.S., several other species have been introduced in Florida and are expanding their ranges northward. It is uncertain how the green anole will fare when forced to compete with these similar species.

Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis)
Green Anole male with crest
Eastern Glass Lizard (Ophisaurus ventralis)