Growing lizard population post Hurricane Michael

Locals notice more lizards after Hurricane Michael. (Werwin15 / Flickr / CC BY 2.0)
Locals notice more lizards after Hurricane Michael. (Werwin15 / Flickr / CC BY 2.0)(WJHG)
Published: Sep. 15, 2019 at 9:54 AM CDT
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Many locals have noticed more lizards this summer than usual.

"My dog chases them, he chases them around the fence and stuff because they are just completely everywhere," said local Lena Kharieh.

Not only are there more lizards, but there also seems to be different types.

"It's probably double what I remember from last summer, but also last summer I remember having or around this time of year having the green ones as well," said Kharieh.

The two types of lizards that we usually see are green anoles and brown anoles, but only green anoles are native. Brown anoles are actually an invasive species.

Kira Burdeshaw, the Reptiles Curator at the Science and Discovery Center of Northwest Florida, says the two species are competing for resources, including where to live and what to eat.

"People are going to see a lot more of the brown anoles now in their back yard, around their homes, because the green anoles which would have gone up higher, now don't have anywhere to go and we are finding that the non-native brown anoles are bullies and the green anoles will back off and they'll usually just move out of the area," said Burdeshaw. "So, you're going to see less and less of them, and more of the little ones, the little brown ones that scamper around whenever you walk."

Hurricane Michael changed our landscape, causing issues for our lizards, but there is a way you can help out.

"Make sure you start planting more foliage, more trees, so that not only are we helping the green anoles, but we are also helping other species that need to reclaim habitat," said Burdeshaw.

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