Anole Apartment Invasion: What Can Be Done?

Anole in the house. Photo from Daffodil’s Photo Blog

AA reader Katharine from southern Florida writes:

“I live on the 4th floor of a 4-story concrete constructed condominium building (6 units to a floor) with catwalks in S.E. Fl.  In front of the ground floor walkway of our building there is landscaping & ligustrum trees that reach up to the 2nd floor with catwalks with overhead lights on in front of each doorway at night.

For some reason anole lizards seem to find their way more to my unit (when I open my entrance door they come in) than the others on the same floor all with the same ground floor foliage, trees & overhead lights. One also sees the feces they’ve left overnight in front of my unit and not the others.

It makes me wonder if these lizards travel as ants do, following a leader either by a scent or fluid left by the leader or previous lizard?  I’ve learned that these lizards are attracted both to light (obviously, the catwalk lights) & the greenery.  However,  the other units on the same floor under the same conditions don’t seem to have the same invasion.

I’ve done as much Google researching as I can but can’t seem to find an answer.  Do you have an answer or can you direct me where I can look.?  Obviously, I’m trying to find some way to deter or reroute their path.”

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.

5 thoughts on “Anole Apartment Invasion: What Can Be Done?

  1. In my (South Florida) experience, Anoles are more likely transported inside when a potted plant is brought in as decoration. But the Mediterranean House Geckos do migrate in through bathroom fan systems with outside vents. The vents have a dust buildup that attracts insects like silverfish (Lepisma saccharina) and in turn Geckoes. Clothes dryer vents are too hot an environment, but offer an inviting entrance if unused for prolong periods.

  2. The anoles are most likely attracted by the insects that are attracted by the lights. They are not very olfactory and are unlikely to use chemical cues to gather outside your unit. However, it is possible that the brightness or color of the light outside your unit is a bit different and attracts insects more reliably. If you can access the light fixtures, replace the lamp with a yellow bulb that won’t attract insects. This may make your unit less desirable for the hungry lizards…

  3. The anole in the photo is actually outdoors, on the outside of the window screen. The window is over my computer and he’s been up there on the screen a lot lately, watching what’s going on in the bushes below. We have lots of anoles (mostly brown anoles, anolis sagrei) everywhere in our yard here in northeast FL, but it’s very rare that any get into the house.

  4. Although anoles will be drawn to the insects around lights, the droppings are more than likely from geckos. They will stake out a spot near a light and visit it every night for hours. They derive both warmth and food from it. Bulb color or brightness may give one light preference over another, or maybe a combination of a light and a quick hiding spot.

    P.S. That computer probably produces some nice warmth, particularly as winter approaches. :)

    1. Thanks for your reply. Our condominium buildings were built by the use of a mold where a concrete slab was poured, then a precast mold was placed on top of the concrete & fresh concrete poured into what would become all the vertical walls. When dry the mold was removed, another slab poured over the top, the mold placed on the 2nd floor of concrete, and the process repeated. Thus throughout all 4 floors everything is identical. All light fixtures in the same place, all with the same yellow bug lights and nothing is allowed to be placed on the concrete floors (catwalks). Yet I get more lizards in front of my unit than any of the other 5 on my floor. Am wondering why? The same plantings are on the ground in front of the whole building with ligustrum trees placed equally apart and reaching only to the 2nd floor.

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