The first time I lived in Florida was twenty years ago (wow, time flies!), and green anoles (native to Florida) were everywhere.
I returned about eight years ago to see Cuban anoles had pretty much taken over in south Florida. They were cute, but they weren’t that gorgeous green with the blue eyeshadow, and I missed them. When I lived two hours south of where I am now (which is in central Florida), I didn’t see any. They were all the brown ones.
Last year, when I visited a wildlife area near Sebring, I saw my first green anole in twenty years. I turned a corner on the path and literally almost stumbled over it. You might remember this photo. It’s still one of my favorites. (To see the picture full-size, right-click and choose to view in new tab; I wish WordPress would stop messing around with this option!)
This morning I was out with the camera, walking next to the edge of the “wild” grassy area in front of the woods, and saw an anole peeking over the edge of a leaf. I assumed it was a brown one but realized after downloading that it was the all-too-rare green. It’s a young one, too. I hope it lives long enough to breed more of its kind.
I returned home the same way and saw it again. It had moved to the side of the leaf facing the sun and was dozing, only half awake.
I love the green anoles. They were sort of my introduction to Florida two decades ago, and in my mind, the two are linked. There’s nothing like them in MN or WI, and they continue to seem exotic to me.
It’s inevitable that some species go extinct and others take their place, but I hope these beautiful anoles will be around a long time.