Nesting Knight Anoles

Female Knight anole digging nest at the base of an oak.  April 2013

Female Knight anole digging nest at the base of an oak. April 2013

On my way to teach biology lab the other day, I ran into this female knight anole (actually, my buddy Zack is the one who spotted it).  She was obviously spooked by us and after snapping a few photos I backed off to see if she would continue nesting.  After a few seconds she returned to her task.  I don’t know why I imagined anoles would dig with their hind legs, but for some reason I did. However, she continued to excavate with alternating strokes of her front feet.  Unfortunately I had to run to a meeting, but when I returned a few hours later her hole was still there.  Zack had stayed behind to watch her progress and reported that she had aborted the endeavor when a bicyclist whizzed past a bit too close. The hole was about 4 centimeters deep and 5 wide into the mineral soil when she left.

Female Knight anole observed digging nest at the base of a large fig tree.  Note the soil under her front claws and on her snout.  Observed July 2012.

Female Knight anole observed digging nest at the base of a large fig tree. Note the soil under her front claws and on her snout. Observed July 2012.

This is the second time I’ve seen nesting knight anoles in Miami.  The first was last summer when I found a very healthy looking female at the base of a fig tree.  There was dirt on her snout and a small hole where she had been.  In both cases, the nesting females were within 1 meter of a tree, and both were excavating with their front feet and possibly their snout.  Also, the dates of each observation show that there is a protracted nesting season in South Florida that includes April 10th to July 20th.  Such a long season explains the variable size of first year knight anoles that I find during the spring.

About Sean Giery

Postdoc in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut. My research focuses on food web ecology, sexual selection, and the evolution of communication.

3 thoughts on “Nesting Knight Anoles

    1. Well, this comment is about 4 years late, but here goes! My nest boxes for my equestris, smallwoodi, and baracoae are 2″ deep. In almost all cases recovered eggs are found at the bottom of the boxes. Last year, I used pothos in round pots for my equestris (a little more difficult to determine when eggs are laid and to recover the eggs without damaging the plant) and most eggs were recovered in the 2-3″ deep range. Substrate for both the nest boxes and plants is a commercial “jungle blend” soil sold for the reptile hobby. I place sphagnum moss on top and use that as an indicator (when it is disturbed or moved) to look for an egg.

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