In the wake of the distressing news that even monkeys eat anoles with abandon, it’s a relief to see that there are at least some creatures that try to eat anoles, but fail. A 1979 report in The Wilson Bulletin by van Riper et al. describing the the habits of the Red-Whiskered Bulbul in Hawaii, says this about these birds’ attempts at saurophagy:
On August 3rd 1977, a bulbul was observed chasing a large (ca. 20 cm in length) chamelion (Anolis sp.) in a circular pattern down an octopus tree; it was unsuccessful in capturing the reptile.
Such a vivid image, one that’s noteworthy for two reasons. First, while data on successful predation events are rare, descriptions of failed predation attempts are even rarer. As bulbuls are mostly frugivorous, it isn’t too surprising that this lizard got away.
Second, like the battle between anoles and day geckos that we’re all eagerly anticipating, this interaction between two invasives, a New World lizard and an Old World bird, epitomizes the Anthropocene.