Mommy, Where Do Baby Lizards Come From?

“Iguanidae interruptus” sounds like a euphemism. It’s not. I interrupted a couple of brown anoles engaged in…adult activities…yesterday afternoon. They were entangled around each other pretty intricately, but when I walked up she dashed off very quickly and he looked quite pissed off. He immediately puffed out his dewlap a few times—the bright orange throat pouch that male anoles have—and did some very rapid, vigorous push-ups, while giving me the lizard side-eye. Sorry about that, little dude. That’s what happens when you don’t put a tie on the door knob to let your roommate know you’re busy.

I’ve started to recognize individual brown anoles that live at my house. The little dude I interrupted (twice!) hangs out at the front corner of the house. He’s my outdoor roommate and I’ve named him Big Daddy. I’m pretty sure he’s the daddy to a lot of the really tiny lizards that live in the front yard. I see him nearly every day. If he’s not engaged in dining or sunning activities, he’s sitting on the brick planter displaying his dewlap and looking for love. He’s pretty reliable. I think that’s why the ladies like him. Also, measuring in at about six-inches, he’s the biggest lizard on the block.

There’s another little dude who lives in the back of the house. He likes the reflection off the air conditioning unit and I always see him sunning himself back there. This little guy, who I’ve christened Stubs, clearly survived some kind of trauma in recent weeks (months?) because his tail is in a state of regeneration. Perhaps he had an encounter with a hungry bird or a curious cat. Either way, he got lucky and escaped with his life (but not his tail.) Stubs is much darker in color—a chocolate brown—than Big Daddy who’s a light sandy tan color. Stubs doesn’t puff out his dewlap quite as vigorously as Big Daddy. Perhaps he’s worried about attracting unwanted attention from his unnamed assailant.

Brown anole eggs look like Mentos mints. I found some in the shed and thought they were candies at first. I tossed them in the grass by the palm tree next to the driveway. I don’t know if they ever hatched but there are plenty of tiny lizards everywhere so I didn’t feel too guilty when I figured out they were eggs and not rotten candy. Big Daddy didn’t seem too worried about his progeny. I suspect he’s in it for the act of mating and not the diapers that result. Also, lizards don’t wear diapers. They tend to sh!t where they eat.

It’s good to have these little dudes and their lady-friends and rug rats around. They eat bugs. I’ve watched Big Daddy run under the porch with a cockroach the size of his head in his mouth. Go, little dude, go! I’ve also seen the tiniest little babies nab gnats out of the air. They’re born hungry it seems. As far as I can tell, they don’t seem to mind the bug spray. Also, they’re kind of dumb. One ran right into my foot the other day when I disturbed it. If I tried, I could easily grab one right off the ground.

What is the point of today’s blog? Well, first off, to introduce you to my new roommates. And second, it’s summertime and I’ve got nothing else going on but lizard-watching. I’m too pale to sunbathe. Plus, I find lizards a fascinating subject and the only reptiles I ever saw in Iowa were garter snakes. I never interrupted snake sexy times. Thank god.

In summation, lizards are cool and I am now sharing my house with them. So far the cats have not had any encounters. It’s only a matter of time.