Lizard Wars!

Fighting male Green Anoles (Anolis carolinensis)

Fighting Male Green Anoles

It is not uncommon to see a male green anole asserting his territorial rights. You’ve probably seen a male displaying his brightest coloration, “puffing up” to look larger, and doing “push ups.” Until recently, I had never seen two male anoles progress beyond these warning signs to actual combat. In spring, my wife and I were walking through some woods when the trees were just beginning to bud out. As I was walking along, I saw a flash of bright green on a tree branch. Two male green anoles were circling the tree, each trying to get the best strategic position to fight. Then their jaws were locked on each other. The one lizard was actually biting down on the other lizard’s head and neck and it surely must have hurt the victim. The wrestling match continued for quite some time. When it appeared to me that actual harm might be occurring, I did try to separate the two, but after a few moments, they resumed their wrestling match. The fight was still ongoing when I left.