Knight Anole Anolis equestris

The Knight Anole (Anolis equestris) is the largest anole in the world. Adult males may slightly exceed 18 inches (45 cm) in length. Although this anole is usually a brilliant green color, it can take a deep brown hue when it is cold. In all colors, two light-yellow marks are visible: the one the shoulder and the other from eye to ear opening. The skin between the scales is colored differently than the scales. The rear of the Knight anole is heavily casqued. This species is native to Cuba, but it was successfully introduced to Florida and is now a common sight in the southeastern United States and Hawaiian Islands. The long-established populations in Florida appear to be sensitive to cold weather, thus restricting their spread northward.

Knight Anole Anolis equestris

Photo by Larysa Johnston

Knight anoles live high up in the tops of the trees but sometimes they can be spotted on tree trunks, especially during midsummer, their head facing the ground while basking in the sun. This species is a carnivore. Its diet mainly consists of large insects and fruit, but it will also prey on small lizards, frogs, small birds, bird eggs, and hatchlings. When frightened, this lizard will bite their attackers. Before biting it will extend the dewlap and erect a prominent nape and anterior crest. As pets Knight anoles do best when kept in small groups (1 male to 2-3 females) in spacious, well ventilated cages. They like high humidity.

References:

  1. Anoles, Basilisks, and Water Dragons. Richard D. Bartlett, Patricia Pope Bartlett
  2. Iguana Invasion!: Exotic Pets Gone Wild in Florida. Virginia Aronson, Allyn Szejko
  3. Lizard Care from A to Z. Richard D. Bartlett, Patricia Bartlett
  4. Current Therapy in Reptile Medicine and Surgery. Douglas R. Mader, Stephen J. Divers (editors)



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