Hey, I was here first!

Carolina anole Anolis carolinensis on tip of fence post
The other day while checking the progress of the various plants in the backyard (and whether they’d escaped further attentions of the local deer,) I spotted this Carolina anole (Anolis carolinensis) failing to be inconspicuous. They’ve been a lot scarcer lately, so I was pleased to see it – but it became apparent the feeling was not mutual. Realizing that its location wasn’t secure, it hopped down to the crossbar and scampered along a short distance, then paused and extended its dewlap.

Carolina anole Anolis carolinensis with extended dewlap
I’d said before that I was a little suspicious that a previous display was aimed at me rather than another anole, and thus started a visual search for any others; I saw none. This isn’t conclusive by any stretch, because they can be pretty subtle at times, not to mention simply on the other side of the fence out of my immediate sight. Trying to determine where they’re looking is almost as inconclusive, since they have eyes on both sides of the head and will move their eyes rather than their head if they can. Yet, at all times it could clearly have an eye on me as well.

Carolina anole Anolis carolinensis bobbing upright on fence post
I moved to a different position on the other side, trying for a head-on shot along the fence, but the anole took another upright perch on a post again, and began bobbing its head almost immediately.

Carolina anole Anolis carolinensis displaying dewlap again
…annnddd there’s the dewlap again, still without seeing another anole around. I’m 90% certain of it now: the anole is displaying to tell me to get lost, which I never thought they’d do – I figured they’d just go for cover if they felt my presence was unwanted/dangerous. It’s amusing that they’re territorial enough to try and chase me off. After I planted several ginger lilies within a couple meters of this spot, too. I was accommodating and moved on, letting this one continue in peace. Not out of fear, mind you – I just had better things to do. That’s all.

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