are bright eyed and ready to take on my plague of insects that I was so concerned about.
Actually, on my last visit I couldn't find any bugs, leading me to believe that they've already made short work of the juvenile katydids and lubbers. Now, while all anoles help to eat bugs, there are good anoles and bad anoles.
The bad ones are the invasive exotic Cuban brown anoles, which now plague cities like Jacksonville and dart out in front of you on your way to your door. While green anoles keep insect populations down, its likely that brown anoles have wiped out insect populations from florida completely. They have little fear of people, are skittish and multiply rapidly, supposedly out competing the populations of native green anoles and replacing them.
My humble opinion is that the brown anoles are just better suited to the blaring sun, dry conditions and lack of cover in urban centers, while the arboreal green anoles still do just fine where there's a suitable shady habitat with lots of branches to clamber around on. Brown anoles seem to be dependent on human development, much like the Norway rat and german cockroach. They reach into preserved areas, but only where the landscape is fragmented by roads and neighborhoods.
Green anoles are still abundant in ecologically diverse forests where there is a combination of sunlight, greenery and protective cover from predators, and my backyard is always full of them. They delicately and cautiously slink around the branches of my tabebuia, hollies and bottlebrush, climb the vines and leap to the shrubs, changing color to blend in. The green anoles appreciate the water resevoirs in my bromeliads, gingers, alocasias and heliconias, and the birdbath is frequented as well.
The native weeping yaupon hollies are a favorite haunt for the green anoles.
Looking closer, there's a green anole! Its only changed to brown because its stressed.
Green anoles really like diagonal branches that they can get their feet around.
This one blends in nicely with a tabebuia leaf!
If you want green anoles to thrive, follow these steps:
Plant more trees. They are arboreal and prefer them to the ground. Trees also provide more greenery and shade, where they can blend in and cool off in summer. Anoles in captivity shouldn't be exposed to teperatures over 90F, and they need it places to cool off in nature too.
Provide shrubs and perennials. Green anoles like to take twiggy paths up to the trees, and stand-alone tree trunks leave them exposed to predators. This also ensures that you'll actually get to see the anoles at eye level!
Provide water in shady spots. Water holding bromeliads are ideal, and the leaf bases of bananas and alocasias collect rainwater too. Otherwise, sink plastic margarine tubs (cleaned out of course!) in the ground so they can easily access their drink. When I had one as a pet, she would even bathe from time to time.
Refrain from killing pests. Make exceptions for huge lubber grasshoppers of really bad infestations, but be sure to let nature do its work. I have been waiting patiently this year for the lizards and treefrogs to come and eat the bugs, and now that the lizards are here everything has bounced back. I also helped provide food to the anoles, so more will make it to adulthood.
Do not disturb! By this, I mean not to constantly trample your garden beds, planting and replanting with short lived annuals and perennials. Keep those to a select area and cordon off your bushes, drifts of ginger and clumps of crinum to the back of the beds and divide only every few years as necessary. If you're going to do any gardening there, rustle the foliage first to evacuate the premises.
Plant against tree trunks. Just last year the base of our oak tree was overrun with brown anoles who found the cypress mulch and bare trunk to be perfect camouflage. I never saw any green anoles. Since I planted spiky bromeliads and lush ferns at the base, the cubans no longer found it satisfactory and the green anoles have taken over, having better access to the large oak tree and a place to hide beneath the foliage.
Providing spiky bromeliads has helped to thwart the brown anoles, and attract the careful and methodically moving green ones.