Consumer Qs: name that lizard

Published 5:00 pm Sunday, August 28, 2016

Question: What is the name of the green and brown lizards that I see in my garden on ferns and on my porch? Some of them stick out a flap of throat skin that is that is rosy pink.
Answer: It sounds like you are describing the Carolina anole (Anolis carolinensis). These native, slender lizards are sometimes referred to as “American chameleons” because they can change color from brown to green. They are not chameleons, however. Their color changes are due to body temperature, stress and activity rather than a desire to blend into the background. You may see Carolina anoles in their green phase side by side with ones in their brown phase.
The rosy throat flap you have seen is the male lizard’s dewlap. He will pause, extend his dewlap, bob his head and do some push-up movements as a display tactic to woo females and to warn other males.
Carolina anoles eat insects and are harmless, interesting creatures. If you wish to protect them, avoid pesticides, especially insecticides, in your garden and provide vegetation for cover and loose soil in which they can lay their eggs. You may also want to provide shallow dishes of water that they can take a sip from.
In parts of Florida and south Georgia, the brown anole (Anolis sagrei), an introduced and aggressive species, is outcompeting our native anole or forcing it to a more arboreal habitat. We should never introduce non-native animals into the environment as they can wreak havoc and threaten our native species.
Q: Do you have any advice on decorating wedding cakes with flowers?
A: Exercise caution in eating flowers or using them as decorations on food as some may be toxic or poisonous. Also, if you don’t grow them yourself or know how they were grown, they may have been treated with an insecticide, fungicide or some other chemical.
It is generally a bad idea to decorate food with inedible flowers because someone will eat them or try to eat them. Don’t assume that someone will consider the flower only as a decoration, pick it off and lay it aside.
Carefully research your options and make sure you have accurately identified what you plan to use and that you know how it was grown. If you are going to do this, it may be best to grow the flowers yourself. There are numerous edible flowers that you may want to try.
Also, make sure there are no ants hiding in the flowers; you do not want these uninvited guests crawling over the cake. We know of a case of this happening with a birthday cake decorated with nasturtium blooms. Those involved can laugh about it — now.

If you have questions about services or products regulated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, write Arty Schronce ( or visit the department’s website at