Another Bad Boy Anole-Eating Lizard Gaining Ground In Florida

Red headed agama in Florida. Photo by John Rahn.

Red headed agama in Florida. Photo by John Rahn.

Anole correspondent John Rahn, of Big Kahuna fame, reports that red-headed agamas are becoming established well beyond Miami. Here’s what he has to say after re-spotting an individual in a Starbucks parking lot that he had previously seen last fall: “I don’t know what he’s eating in that parking lot, but he is HUGE now. My girl at Starbucks says these are all over the place in Jupiter now. He’s survived the fairly cold weather we’ve had, this winter. He is a beauty! Saw another one, same shape, but smaller and very little color.”

AA recently discussed these guys at the Fairchild Botanical Gardens in Miami, and James Stroud suggested that they may have a big and negative effect on anoles, similar to that of curly-tailed lizards. Curlies are also in Jupiter and areas north of Miami–I wonder how these two sun-loving species get along.

About Jonathan Losos

Professor and Curator of Herpetology at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. I've spent my entire professional career studying anoles and have discovered that the more I learn about anoles, the more I realize I don't know.

69 thoughts on “Another Bad Boy Anole-Eating Lizard Gaining Ground In Florida

  1. These are at least three large breeding populations as far north as Stuart, Florida… it is amazing to me how they have spread across 8 lane super roads such as US-1!! I estimate that one of these populations consists of about 5-10 breeding coloration males and at least 50 females, some of which appeared gravid yesterday when I visited the site. They appear to eat fire ants too… a study waiting to happen!

      1. Spotted a good-sized male yesterday (3/15/2017) at 76 Golf World (mini-golf and entertainment center) on Kanner Hwy, Stuart, FL.

      2. Just spotted one yesterday moving on a neighbors driveway on SW Statler in Port Saint Lucie, FL! 1st time I’ve seen one but we are new to the area!

    1. Just saw one of these fat red heads staking a claim on a hole in a rotting oak tree in my yard. I’m in Steinhatchee, FL, north gulf coast at the big bend.

    2. Saw one outside my house in Panama city just this morning at first I thought I was seeing things, it was really early and I was taking my Rhodesian Ridge-back mix for a walk. The fireworks last night freaked her out and she kept me up til three A.M. At first glance I thought it was just a really big anole we have hundreds around our house, but then the orangy-red head registered and I looked again. I caught one more glimpse as he scurried for cover and his tail also had a band of orange. I have always been fascinated with reptiles so after my walk I consulted a few books I had and identified it then I found this sight and had to comment. It appears the invasive little suckers have reached Panama City. If I see him again I’ll try to net him and take a picture.

      1. I see the lizards with the orange band above palm beach county but not below and definitely not in broward south.

    1. I just witnessed a clan of these with a population count of about 25 with 2-4 obvious dominant males and dozen or so females. They were very aggressive. They were congregated around a 7-11 in Stuart, Fla. near old downtown BEFORE you cross the bridge.

  2. While walking the bridge that seperates punta gorda and port charlotte we noticed about six on the rocks by the river with one large very atractive male. He let us get about ten feet away before he moved to the next rock

    1. on the north side of the 41 Bridge Crossing Charlotte Harbor we saw a colony of them most with green heads one with an orange head

  3. I saw one of these guys in Vero Beach today, crossing 4 lanes of traffic on U.S. 1. I turned around to see what the heck it was. I saw it crawling and thought it was an iguana. It had the same exact body colors as the photo above with a more grey/brown head. He just sat there almost 2 feet from the side of the road toward safety with cars whizzing by. I don’t know if he ever made it.

  4. I’ve witnessed 2 separate colonies in Stuart. In one there was only one dominant,colorful male and approximately 5 females. And the other colony consisted of 3 dominant males and nearly two dozen females.

  5. Went to a game at Martin County High school on March 12, 2015. These lizard were everywhere behind the the bleachers and portable classroom area. Saw at least 20 within minutes.

    1. Interesting I haven’t seen any curly tailed lizards above PB county, but I see a lizard that’s the same size as curly but has red markings from STEWART North.

  6. I saw one of the red headed agamas at the Fort Pierce Farmers Market first time last week. It was missing part of its tail, which I suspect will grow back. I also have a curly tail living under my driveway in Port St. Lucie.

  7. We have a male red headed one living around the outside of our house. There was a female but haven’t seen her in several weeks. Maybe the neighbor’s cat got her? We have seen a lot fewer chameleons and little lizards, could the big guy be eating them?

  8. Saw a couple in Stuart Shell Station by their dumpsters .North side of Roosevelt Bridge.
    Yesterday It was at least 14 inches long and very colorful.

  9. I’ve noticed them in Summerfield all over. This is the 1st year I’ve seen so many. As I drove out of the subdivision today I must have spotted 20 of them in the streets.

  10. I saw one today while at work in Orlando, Fl. I’ve never seen one before and had to Google it to figure out what it is. I can’t believe how big it is!

  11. Saw 2 today in Vero beach. Male approx 8 inches and smaller female approx 4 inches. Thought it might have been someone’s pet. Never saw one before!

  12. Saw one today at Foosner Art Gallery parking lot in Eau Gallie, Brevard County. Saw another about a month ago a few blocks from this area. Both had bright colors and were 12 to 15 inches.

    1. Saw a big red head today in the Eau Callie area of Melbourne, Florida. Was shocked at the vibrant colors on jet black body. This one was 8-10 inches in length. On the corner is US-1 & Aurora Road. Scampered up a tree before I could get a picture.

  13. I see one of this every day on my delivery route. It has a bright orange head, and does not get along with curly tails.

  14. I have two of these guys living in the roof of my rectory – Sacred Heart Church, Punta Gorda. One of them likes to hang out on the wall facing east on US 41. It’s a beautiful sight!

    1. They are not all Catholics, though. A group of them like to “congregate” on the First United Methodist campus on Gill Street between Marion and Olympia avenues! 😉

  15. A big breeding colony is at the Seminole Inn at Indiantown – saw two large makes and little ones everywhere.

  16. Say my first one today at a Burger King in Indiantown. Looked like a large male with a smaller female. I used to raise bearded dragons so was very interested in seeing this species. Unlike the bearded dragons these appear to be much less friendly. Anyone know if they are known to carry desease or bite.

  17. Got something that looks like one in Ocala. It’s solid light brown with a red head. About a foot long. It doesn’t seem to fear humans.

  18. Just saw my first one of these yesterday behind CVS at Tulip & psl blvd. I looked up red headed lizards in fla and came across this site. This is definitely what i saw! But only 1 by the dumpster.

  19. I have a green and brown anole. The green one came from outside and the brown one I bought at pet smart. They don’t like to be held it stresses them out. They can bite but it don’t hurt. If also learned they can carry disease so just make sure you wash your hands after messing with them or their cage.

    1. Why would you buy one when they’re free in the wild? Are you talking about the little ones or the real big ones?

  20. I’ve seen 2 here in the past week in Georgetown FL. Both orangish red head with darker body. One about 10 in, the other about 7. They are aggressive! Tried to get one out of my shed so I could close the door and it latched on to the broom. Placed it safely in the woods. The other ran around me collecting bugs as if I wasn’t there. So cool!!

  21. Ironically, I just took a pic of one on the back of another but that one had a partial reddish nose and white stripes on a black body. I think it’s obvious Male n Female. I’m trying to send the pic through but not sure how. The male looked about 10 in, Female not sure but looked as though she was missing full tail, guessing about 6 in. In Georgetown FL, South of Palatka.

  22. Another one that stowed itself in plants im sure, i see tons of them at sailfish point in stuart. With all the plants that come into the place its no wonder how they are all over stuart. They vary from All sizes, they are non social for sure and very quick. I have not seen any in sebastian, yet!

    1. I bet the red anoleannals eat what the curly tailed lizards eat. I know curly eats chicken because I saw one eating off a chicken bone at a barbecue restaurant. I just watched in amazement. I think all types of animals lizards etc will eat meat if they get a taste IMO

  23. Saw a large male with the orange head and tail band, along with one female, in the Walgreens parking lot in Homestead, Florida yesterday.

  24. Maybe the homestead one got a ride to Wells Fargo parking lot in Key Largo. Just saw him there. He was very striking and fast. We had to look him up on the internet finding this site. Noticed the curly tails in Ft Lauderdale 17 years ago and now they are at my doorstep in Key West. Hate to see this invasion taking out brown anoles but I remember when they started pushing out the lime green anoles we had in Key West when I was a child. They are very rare now.

  25. Saw two of these guys chasing anoles and curly tails , at a brewery in Punta Gorda….. I had never seen or heard of before.

  26. In have a huge population of these Redheads on my farm off SR76 in Stuart. Probably over 100 living on the 6 acre property. Several of the males are massive, like an Iguana, in size. Its hard to go 2 minutes without seeing one ( or several). On the good side, we have no roaches or palmetto bugs anymore!

    There does not seem to be a significant decrease in Curly Tails or other varieties of Lizards as we only had a small number of them, which are still there, prior to the Redhead invasion. The Redhead makes a very pretty decoration sitting on the walls sunning, or hanging on a building side. They are not friendly in any way, and they can run like mad, when scared.

  27. I just saw a large male at hospital in Vero Beach with orange head and tail. I, also, have never seen one before and had to google to see what it was.

  28. Saw one today in downtown Okeechobee. Looked remarkably like lizards I saw on the hotel grounds in the capital of Chad, in Africa. The Chad lizards may have been a bit larger, and their heads were MUCH redder. Two different species? The Chad lizards were also fearless — came to my chair looking for food.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Optionally add an image (JPEG only)