The world of reptiles is a vast one. In the lizard Order of Squamata alone, there are 7,000 species. While birding in the jungles of Costa Rica, I came across a lizard species that was new to me: the anole.
It is a common lizard, with 390 species in the genus Anolis, found primarily in North, Central and South America. It’s pronounced a-NO-lee.
Our guided birding group was intimate, only seven of us, including a family from our small inn. The parents photographed and birded, while their two teenage sons searched for reptiles. We birders had plenty of exotic and colorful new birds to keep us busy and happy, but after a time I took an interest in the quiet activities of the two boys.
I come from rattlesnake country. We leave rocks and logs alone. So when I saw these two boys confidently rolling over rocks and digging in leaf debris, I was aghast. But as the morning unfolded, the treasures the brothers shared were wonderfully enlightening.
They kept finding anoles everywhere. A very small lizard that fit in the palm of one’s hand, of various colors and sizes. More about the anole here. These boys were experts at finding the reptiles, handling them, and treating them with love and respect. (They found great frogs too, more about that from a previous post: Poison Dart Frogs )
And now, when it’s cold enough that the rattlesnakes are still dormant, I find myself peeking under logs looking for newts and frogs. It’s a big world under there!
Photo credit: Athena Alexander