Any Florida visitor or new resident is soon to discover the small lizards that populate the entire state. Most people call these critters geckos, probably because of the famous lizard in the insurance commercials. Florida is home to geckos, but only in the southern part of the state.

There are several different types of lizards that call Florida home. The one pictured here is a brown anole. The yellow skin under his chin is called a dewlap. It is displayed to mark territory and to attract a mate.

Now found statewide, these lizards are native to Cuba and the Bahamas. I have read that they were brought here as pets and either escaped or were released into the wild.

In any case, they are very widespread. They do no harm to humans. They don’t bite, don’t eat anything but insects and leave fairly small, dry, droppings. Nevertheless, most folks are not happy if the little guys get into the house.

They are pretty quick and a bit hard to catch. As I said, they do not bite, but will harmlessly clamp down on a finger. They can climb the walls and find every little nook in which to hide. It makes for a frustrating chase.

To avoid having unwanted anoles in your home, don’t leave doors open longer than necessary, keep screens in your windows and keep an eye out for them before opening a door.

Keep in mind, sooner or later, you will have one or more get into the house. It’s all part of living in the sunshine state.



FOG sez:  I thought the title of this article, “harmless but annoying” referred to me.

When we first moved to Florida, the wife refused to go out in the yard, she said it was full of baby alligators. I didn’t tell her they were anoles for six months.