Inside the patio anole popper

It's been a frenetic leaping lizard weekend on the patio. Sometimes there was so much leaping and shaking that the garden seemed like a corn popper. The anoles still love to hide behind the clay masks hanging on the fence. Now they even walk across the cork bridge I made for them last year. At one point I looked out the window and counted ten lizards.

There are only two anoles in the bunch that I can identify as individuals. The Big Frijole who leaps from the solar lamp has a distinctive black tail tip. My hero is not really a big lizard, as some on the fence are at least twice as large.

Then there is Stubby. He's a bit bigger than the Big Frijole, but his tail broke off. I wonder how it was lost, and hope it grows back quick. Usually an anole's tail is longer than the rest of its body, but Stubby's is only a half inch long now. He's having an awful time trying to climb up the sedum and brussels sprout plants to get to the scrumptious cabbage caterpillars. He keeps sliding down and falling off. Guess I always thought of tails as fashion accessories, but Stubby's lost tail clearly had a survival role in his balance and agility.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine's May issue has information about anoles.

One anole went leaping about on the daisies until it finally landed on the black wrought-iron garden hook for my birdfeeder. Anoles and chameleons don't really change color to match their surroundings. I keep reading that these lizards change color because they are angry, tired, sick, too hot, or too cold. It was a hot muggy day, and the lizard on the wrought iron was upset about another anole on a plant nearby. Still, this was the first time I've seen one turn dark reddish black.

© 2009 Nancy L. Ruder

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