Many of our Everglades explorers are on the lookout for the world-famous lizard like alligators that roam throughout the Everglades, but did you know that our area is also known for the common lizards that can be found in every nook and cranny of South Florida? Though not nearly as daunting or powerful as a Florida Alligator, the lizards that inhabit the Everglades, Fort Myers Beach and beyond are just as fascinating. Because of the warm climate conditions in South Florida, our area provides an environment that supports life that cannot survive elsewhere, making Florida a hotbed of lizard activity!
One of the most commonly seen lizards is the Brown Anole. You will see these small lizards everywhere from your vacation rental, to hotel property, to outside of the grocery store, all the way into the heart of the Everglades. Native to the Bahamas and the Caribbean islands, the
Brown Anole is extremely common but not native to the area. Look for Brown Anoles hanging out low in in trees and shrubs, or even running across the ground. Male Brown Anoles can reach a length 8 inches and are characterized by a brown body with yellowish spots.
Another type of anole frequently found in South Florida and The Everglades is the Knight Anole. These vibrant green creatures are quite striking and beautiful but are also non-native anoles that originally arrived from Cuba. Though they do look like iguanas, they are in fact a completely different (and much smaller species). Males can grow to be approximately 18 inches long and will change colors, from green to dark brown, during mating periods, temperature changes, and times of stress.
Switching from anoles to geckos, the Tropical House Gecko. The best time to spot these small creatures is at night, next to a bright light. When looking at these animals, you will notice chevron-like markings on their back and large, four toed feet. The Tropical House gecko is also a non-native species and originally hails from sub-Saharan tropical Africa, Madagascar and the Mozambique Channel Islands.
From anoles to geckos, lizards are one of the most commonly seen animals in South Florida. If you encounter any lizards, chances are they will run away on their own as they are quite shy.