So, you need to get rid of green anoles from your yard (or home).
Are you afraid of lizards? Or are you just sick of seeing them scurrying around?
In this article, we’ll cover:
- Why you have green anoles on your property
- How to identify a green vs. brown anole
- How to naturally repel and keep them away from your home
- Ways to get rid of them
- And more
Sound good? Let’s send those anoles back to the land of the lizards!
What’s a green anole?
A green anole is a common reptilian lizard native to the southern US.
These small lizards change between green and brown colorations very quickly depending on environmental conditions.
You’ve probably seen a small lizard in your yard with a narrow head and long tail. Maybe even a brown one of the same size. That’s a green anole that’s changed colors.
They’re not considered to be a threat to plants or humans, and many gardeners think of them as a beneficial specimen to have.
They help regulate bug populations since that’s what they eat. And who doesn’t want fewer bugs in their yard? That definitely helps out. They’re nature’s creepy-crawling janitors!
And of course, they’re very popular in the pet trade. You’ll see them locked in their small terrariums at chain pet stores.
If your property is in any of the southern coastal regions, you’ve probably seen these critters in your garden.
They’re extremely common in areas with a source of water and high humidity. You’ll see them crawling around on your fences, walls, patio furniture, or even in your house!
If you’re afraid of green anoles, you may be looking to control and get rid of them from your property.
And that’s exactly what we’ll cover in this guide!
The green anole has a few different aliases:
- Green lizard
- Small green lizard
- Brown anole (which is wrong)
- American chameleon
- Small brown lizard
- Tree anole
- Garden lizard
- American green anole
- Red-throated anole
- Anolis carolinensis
These small lizards are lime green and get their name from their appealing green coloration.
But that’s not completely true, as they will change to brown depending on the environment.
Green anoles are about 5-8” at adult size. The baby anoles look like miniature versions of the adults and simply get bigger over time as they eat various insects around the yard year-round.
Males have a dewlap, which is a pink extension that fans out from their neck. They may use this to attract a female or scare off other lizards.
They have tapered heads with a long snout and tiny limbs with visible “fingers” on both their arms and legs.
Their ribcage is visible when they’re extended and basking. They have a light green color on the top of their body and a white underside.
Their eyes are easily seen with horizontal openings and a black pupil.
Anoles may have bumps on their nose and scaly patterns going down their back.
Their tail is often darker in color as it approaches the tip, which is tapered down similar to their head. The tail is detachable and they’ll drop it if they’re caught by a predator.
This is why you shouldn’t grab them by their tail because they can drop it and run away. And the tail will still be moving to distract the predator!
When they turn brown, they may have a pattern or markings on the back. Male dewlaps will vary depending on color, species, range, and of course, the environment.
Don’t get the green anole confused over the brown anole, as they’re two separate species.
The brown anole, Anolis sagrei, is its own species. The green anole (Anolis carolinensis) can change to brown, which makes things complicated. But it’s still considered a green anole.
Southern states along the coast are usually good habitats for these lizards.
They range from Virginia to Texas to Oklahoma. They’ve even been spotted in Hawaii, but not considered to be a “bad” lizard.
The brown anole has been said to be driving out the green ones in FL.
Green anole life cycle
Green anoles have a simple life cycle similar to most other lizards. Because the males are very protective of their territory, this makes it hard for lots of anoles to take over one area. This is good for gardeners.
They mate from March to September after the male attracts a female using his dewlap and “pushups” to show dominance.
The female is selective and if chosen to mate, they’ll do this during the summer months. The male defends his territory after mating and will fight off other males.
The female stores the male sperm and her eggs become fertilized. A single egg is deposited in some moist soil, bark, or leaf litter.
They may also use logs or other soft organic material.
Female anoles can lay up to 18 eggs during the mating season because after the egg is laid, she doesn’t stay behind to care for the baby anole. The egg becomes abandoned and will hatch 5-7 weeks after deposition.
Young anoles are born from the “nest” and will run off to eat various flies, worms, and fruit.
Why do I have green anoles in my yard?
The answer to this is quite simple- your yard provides a plentiful supply of live bugs for them to munch on.
And there’s likely a lot of hiding places for them to mate, sleep, and stay safe from predators.
If your garden is unkempt, poorly maintained, or just has a lot of plants, this can all contribute to a high green anole population.
They don’t come inside your yard for no reason. And they seek out environments that have a steady food source not too far from their nest.
They need the following requirements to establish shelter:
- A hiding place (cracks and crevices around your home, furniture, outdoor storage, decor, etc.)
- A water supply (sprinklers, birdbaths, ponds, backed up runways)
- And a source of food (other insects found all over your yard)
If you provide all of these, then these small green lizards will make themselves at home.
It can also be due to the time of year.
They breed and are most active during the summer where temperatures are at their peak. They need sunlight to produce heat and “store” it for after sunset.
The winter doesn’t kill them as they’ve adapted to it and will hide until springtime arrives.
Can they get into your home?
Green anoles can definitely enter your home, but this is rarely intentional.
These lizards are born to be in the sunlight during the day to bask.
And being indoors deprives them of that necessary UVB light they need to regulate their body temperatures and digest their food.
So even if a green anole gets into your house, it’s very unlikely that it’ll stay inside and infest it. It’ll probably try to find its way back out (which you can do by shooting it out or brushing it outdoors).
However, some anoles may end up building a nest inside your house. This means they’ll go outside to bask during the sunlight hours.
And after the sun sets, they’ll find their way back into your home to sleep for the night. This is common in areas like garages, basements, and even attics and roofs for single-story homes. Those places provide plenty of shelter for these lizards to hide and mate.
Green anoles prefer to sleep in tight spaces that cover them on all sides.
Thus, they’ve evolved to hide under objects or slip between them. They may also hide in tubes and rolls.
Where are they found in the home?
If you think you have a green anole infestation in your house, there are some places you should check to confirm their presence.
Remember that these lizards like small, tight spaces that make them feel safe.
So you should check areas like:
- Crates, equipment, and other junk
- Behind water heaters
- Under appliances (laundry, refrigerators, etc.)
- Around cars
- Under furniture
- Foundation cracks
- Wall voids and crawl spaces
- Behind wallpaper
Pretty much anywhere that they can wedge themselves between, they’ll go.
The easiest way is to do a thorough inspection of your property and check for anole feces, which should be close to their nest. If you can’t find their hiding place, hire a licensed exterminator.
They could also be coming in because of the change in weather. If it’s too hot or too cold outside, they can sense that your home provides a more comfortable ambient temperature. So they’re naturally attracted to come inside.
You may find green anoles coming in from your patio doors, windows, and under doorways. You should seal these up when possible just to eliminate the possibility.
Use eggshells, pepper, spices, herbs, or essential oils to keep them out of your house.
If you’re terrified of anoles, you’ll definitely want to do this.
Nothing worse than seeing a brown lizard scurrying across your kitchen floor at night.
Continue reading for more tips and tricks.
Where are they found outdoors?
You’ll likely come across anoles during the peak hours of the day when the sun is strong.
They’ll be outside basking in the sunlight and thermoregulating their temperature.
You may see them going back and forth between full sun and shade (or partial sun) over and over.
During this time, they’ll also forage for bugs to eat.
Anoles stalk their prey until they get close enough and then they pounce. If you see baby anoles (they can be as small as 1”), that means you have a lizard population established in your yard as they’re breeding successfully
Anoles don’t like to be fully exposed if they perceive a threat is nearby.
They’ll adjust their body color between green and brown to camouflage with the environment. They may also change colors depending on their activity and stress levels.
If you inspect your yard, you may see them hiding vertically on a wall or fence under leaves, brush, or plant matter.
They may also be found on small bushes and flowers. Green anoles will run away and scurry off when approached by humans. They may also jump from one branch to another, or from the surface to a plant to hide.
The easiest way to detect them is to visibly see them, obviously. But if they’re too well hidden or you just happen to never catch them, then look for their feces.
Green anole droppings are easy to spot because they’re basically liquid brown with a white “tip” or “flag.”
This is both solid and liquid waste from the lizard at the same time. If you see this around your yard, then it’s a sure sign you have some kind of lizard outside.
What do they eat?
Green anoles feed on insects.
They’re not interested in plant matter for the most part and naturally stalk, hunt, and prey on small bugs. They can also take on insects that are many times larger than their own head by slowly munching them down like a snake.
After all, they ARE a reptile and they can do some impressive things.
If you have green anoles in your yard, you likely have an assortment of bugs they like to eat.
Since these small reptiles rarely pose a threat to humans, pets, and plants, consider keeping them there. They can help manage the other bug populations in your garden and keep their numbers down.
Think of them like a janitor that works for you. 24/7. For free.
Slow-moving bugs that are easy to catch are the prime target for green anoles to feast on.
Some of the most popular insects they eat are:
- Small flies
- Small spiders
Green anoles only eat moving prey, as their vision detects moving objects. They drink dew from trees, plants, and leaves.
They also will eat fruits found in your garden if you’re growing fruit plants. Green anoles have also been seen eating flower blossoms, vegetables, and other plant matter.
However, they’re primarily focused on just small bugs that are still alive, as they rarely show any interest in dead bugs.
The green anole diet is varied depending on the species and environment.
Your garden’s natural pests available for consumption will determine the type of species that establishes a nest there.
Are they endangered?
Green anoles are not considered an endangered species at the time of this writing.
The confusion stems from OTHER species of “anole” lizards like the Culebra anole.
Some anole species compete amongst each other and have been speculated to be driving out other lizards in the area. One prominent example of this is the brown anoles in Florida driving out the green ones.
Although they’re not considered to be endangered at this time, that’s something that’s been watched for many years now.
Regardless, anoles aren’t a concern for becoming endangered at this point. So deterring them from your yard shouldn’t be a problem.
As long as you don’t resort to killing them, there’s no problem.
Where do they live?
These small lizards natively are found in areas with high humidity. In nature, they can be naturally found in swamps, forests, and other heavily forested areas with a water source. This is their habitat.
Even beaches can house green anoles, as the water provides an unlimited humidity source for them. They’re commonly found in California, Georgia, North and South Carolina, and Florida as these states match their natural habitat.
Anoles are very common throughout the US and can be found in suburban, urban, and rural areas. They can live on bushes, trees, and even fences and roofs.
Because they’re so adaptable, they have a huge diversity all over the world.
They usually avoid tall environments with high elevation like mountains, but some green anoles have been spotted in mountainous regions.
When are they active?
Green anoles are most active during the daytime as they’re diurnal species.
They come out during the sunny hours to bask in the sun.
They may be fully exposed, but usually will be covered partially by foliage and vegetation.
During the warmer periods, they’ll be out and about.
The summer is their definite active season.
When winter rolls around, they’ll seek out shelter in tree bark, patio furniture, wooden logs, rocks, or anywhere they can be protected from the elements. Anoles may hide using a single spot or may migrate.
Green anoles have different evolutionary traits depending on their environment. Lizards that stay on the soil and surface will have longer legs for quick spriting and movement.
Anoles that prefer arboreal habitats will evolve shorter legs and narrower bodies for climbing.
During the daytime when they’re most active, they’ll be found basking on rocks, trees, walls, and other objects.
Regulating their temperature proves to be critical for their livelihood. They can soak up sun rays and “store” the temperature for the night when it gets cold outside.
Anywhere that has plenty of foliage to hide, a stable food supply, and high humidity will attract these lizards.
Coastal states are a suitable environment for them, so this is why you may have an anole infestation in your yard!
Should you kill them?
You should avoid killing them unless necessary.
Green anoles are harmless to plants and rarely will do enough damage to actually kill it.
They’ll eat up bugs in your yard constantly so there’s no drawback to keeping them.
However, if you hate lizards or can’t stand getting spooked by a loose anole, then you should take steps to get rid of them or repel them.
If you really want to keep them away, always deter first.
Avoid killing them when possible. They’re quite easy to repel, control, and manage anyway because they need precise environments to sustain themselves.
Are they bad to have?
These lizards are not a threat to your garden and some species are even considered endangered.
If you’re just afraid of lizards or just hate them, then just take steps to REPEL them, not kill them.
They’re a beneficial reptile to have because they can help keep other pest populations in check without doing any damage to your plants, fruits, and veggies. They’ll also leave people and pets alone also as they’re not aggressive to being many times their size.
But if you, your family, or your pets threaten it, it may bite to defend itself.
Are green anoles dangerous?
They’re not dangerous to plants, people, or pets if left alone.
Green anoles may take a few bites from flowers, fruits, or vegetables, but they rarely do enough damage to kill the plant.
They may bite you if you provoke or threaten them, so you should always be careful about accidentally touching one when doing yard work (or sitting on one).
Dogs and cats should also be trained to leave them alone or simply don’t let them get close. Dogs may chase the lizards and end up getting bitten.
Green anoles also do pose a risk for disease. They can carry salmonella and transmit this through contact.
So anything food prep items you have outdoors that lizards may have walked across should be disinfected. You also need to clean anything they may have touched or if you touched them directly.
Do they bite?
Green anoles will run away rather than bite.
But if you threaten them, corner them, or provoke them, they may bite.
They bite hard and don’t let go. They actually bite hard enough to grab onto your finger just by their clamping jaws.
How to get rid of green anoles naturally
There are a few different techniques you can do at home to repel and deter these lizards from your home and garden.
Depending on your degree of anole infestation, you’ll have to experiment with these remedies and see what works for you.
As I always say- there’s no single solution. Use a combination of these various techniques so they can work together to keep the lizards out of your yard.
Try an ultrasonic pest repeller
You know those sonic repellers that you plug into the wall and emits a sound that magically makes bugs go away? Yeah, that.
There are some electronic repellers that are marketed just for lizards. They work by emitting a high-frequency sound that humans can’t hear, but lizards, rodents, and bugs can.
The sounds are disturbing and keep them out without harming them (supposedly).
You should definitely read reviews and do your research before buying, as many of these are a scam and don’t work. I don’t trust them completely either as I’ve only had success on very few models. So due your due diligence first. And use it as directed.
You’ll probably just plug it in a socket outdoors (away from the elements) and it’ll keep lizards out of your yard, garage, basement, or wherever else you have them scurrying about.
Some ultrasonic units can cover a range of up to 2,000 square feet. Of course, get the size that fits your yard. It’s safer to get a larger range than a smaller range because this will drive the anoles farther from your property.
Attract predators that eat green anoles
There are quite a few predators that naturally eat these small lizards.
The problem is you’ll need to consider is it worse having anoles or these other predators in your yard to eat them?
These will eat green anole lizards:
- Larger lizards
- Large predatory fish
If you live in an area that has these various species native to it, then you do some research online and see how you can attract more of them to help control the lizard population.
Clear your yard of bugs
The lizards are there for two things: bugs and hiding places. If you clear up your garden and get rid of the bugs, then the anoles will have nothing to eat.
This will make your yard a less attractive nesting area overall.
You should keep your backyard in tip-top condition and free of plant debris, junk, storage items, and clutter as much as possible.
Consider doing the following to remove anole food sources:
- Pick up leaf litter
- Keep your plants regularly prune and clean up the foliage
- Remove dead plants
- Secure your trash bin
- Dispose of clutter and useless junk
- Use plastic storage containers for storing your equipment
- Avoid using totes, cardboard, or other easily penetrable containers
- Clean up water runways, downspouts, gutters, and other areas
- Don’t overwater your plants
- Don’t over-fertilize your plants
- Keep birdbaths, ponds, and bird feeders clean and maintained
- Remove any hiding places or seal them securely
- Dispose of wood
- Get rid of unused patio furniture, grills, tables, etc.
Your yard is the home to many bugs and acts as the lizard’s food source. The fewer bugs you have roaming around, the fewer lizards your garden can support overall.
So bring down the bugs and keep them in check and you’ll slowly reduce the lizards also.
Seal up cracks
If you have green anoles entering your home, you have open entryways somewhere that’s letting them in.
You should do a thorough inspection of your home for common entry points. Since these are crawling reptiles, they’re really limited to just low areas.
But sometimes they’ll get in vertically by climbing on your walls, though this is rare for homes.
Regardless, you’ll want to check your home for common entry points that green anoles are using:
- Seal up door gaps or wedge them
- Repair damaged screens on your doors and windows
- Caulk any cracks on your home’s foundation
- Block off crawl spaces
- Seal up wall voids
- Cut any branches of trees that “bridge” to your home
- Trim tall bushes or plants
- Keep vent grates repaired
This should make your home more impregnable to them (and keep other bugs out also).
Remove freestanding water
Green anoles and most reptiles need a source of water to keep them hydrated and humid.
The water’s humidity during the daylight hours gives off plenty of moisture in the air, which is why they’re natively found near swamps, streams, lakes, and ponds.
Water pools after you water your plants, run your sprinklers, or rain.
Be sure to remove all stagnant water ASAP. The smallest puddles can be enough for lizards to drink or mosquitoes to deposit eggs. The point is to remove the water so lizards don’t have access to it AND to stop future generations of bugs.
For example, mosquitoes will lay eggs in still water and this will breed larvae.
The lizards are attracted to mosquitoes and will eat them. This will then lead to continued anole generations in the future.
If you have water fountains, ponds, or even a birdbath, make sure you control them and make sure they’re pest-free. You can add predatory fish that eat larvae to help out.
You can also make them inaccessible green anoles by using various detergents like ultrasonic electronic repellers, eggshells, or essential oils to keep them away.
Clean up your home
If you have green anoles coming into your house, keeping it clean and free of clutter will help.
Lizards in the garage, basement, shed (which are prone to spiders), outhouse, or other areas can be eliminated by getting rid of hiding places and food sources. Make sure no bugs are present for the green anoles to eat. And eliminate any useless clutter, junk, etc.
Store anything you need to keep in a secure container that doesn’t allow any bugs to enter.
Since anoles eat spiders, ants, termites, and other common household pests, you’ll want to keep your home clean. Getting rid of the bugs will reduce the number of lizards entering your home.
Combine that with using natural deterrents, repellents, and sealing up any cracks and entry points. Then you’ll have a solid foundation to keep those anoles out of your house.
Lay out broken eggshells
Birds are one of the most dangerous predators for lizards, and they know this.
Green anoles can sniff out the unique scent given off from eggs.
So you can use eggshells as a natural deterrent to keep them away. The scent of eggs means that birds are around due to the calcium carbonate shells
This means that birds, snakes, or other reptiles may be around and can help repel green anoles from your yard naturally.
You can also palace them under door gaps to your basement or garage. This can help build a natural barricade without the use of poisonous and toxic chemicals.
Use peacock feathers
Peacock feathers are just like eggshells- they both scare the anoles away because of the presence of birds.
Note that this may not work on all types of lizards, but if you’re able to get your hands on some features, place them in strategic locations around your property.
Pour hot sauce
Tabasco, Cholula, or any kind of pepper hot sauce will keep lizards far, far away.
They generally don’t like the odor that stems from the hot sauce as it stings their olfactory receptors.
The taste also isn’t too pleasant for them either. If you have a hole, crack, or some small entry point, you can drip some hot sauce into it to keep the anoles out.
Grow onion and garlic
Both onion and garlic plants have natural aromas that repel lizards. If you already have veggies in your garden, consider adding these two plants to your yard to help keep the green anoles away.
And by keeping bugs out, it means no lizards will come to your yard because there’s nothing to eat!
You can also use other powerful aromatic veggies, herbs, and spices to repel bugs.
Think basil, lavender, jalapeno, chili, marigold, chrysanthemum, or peppers. This is one way to repel lizards naturally.
No time to take care of plants? Then buy the pepper from the store.
Pepper and spices can be an excellent deterrent to green anoles.
You can sprinkle around door gaps, window frames, basements, garages, and even your attic. If you have anoles in the house, sprinkle it at suspected entry points to keep them out.
Pepper is a natural approach, but you should still make sure your pets and kids don’t eat it up by mistake.
Reduce outdoor lighting
At night, turn off all unnecessary patio lights.
They attract flying bugs to your yard and this just means more food for lizards.
Consider reducing the hours you keep the lights on, switching to a yellow lamp, or just leaving them off entirely.
Other lights like pathway markers, porch or deck lights, or solar lights can also attract bugs.
As for lights coming from inside your home, get blinds or curtains to filter out the light. You’ll find that the fewer pests you have overall, the fewer anoles you’ll have to deal with.
This is a slow, but easy way to get rid of green anoles naturally. You’re literally just “flipping a switch!”
Use a reptile repellent spray
There are a few dozen products that you can buy made to repel lizards.
Should you choose to get a commercial repellent, opt for one that’s made with all-natural or organic chemicals.
This is important because you don’t want residues, drift, and the possibility of lizards carrying the poisons to your home or edible plants.
Read reviews. Do some research. Use as directed by the product label.
Consult a professional exterminator
Out of ideas? Don’t know what to do next?
Consider hiring a professional, licensed pest control company to help you determine the root cause of the anole infestation and how to get rid of them.
Many companies will do a free inspection to assess the situation and then give you a quote. If you’re ever unsure or you just can’t stand the thought of getting close to a green anole, hire a professional to do it for you.
How do you catch a green anole lizard?
There are two ways to catch them and relocate them.
Use a lizard trap
A lizard trap is an easy and effortless way to catch lizards and relocate them from your property.
There are dozens of different types of traps available on the market, but since green anoles are relatively small lizards, you can get away with a cheap trap. Generally, the smaller the trap, the cheaper the price. So don’t feel pressured to buy an expensive one.
Lizard traps work by providing bait and luring the anole in.
Once it’s in, it can’t get back out.
Cage traps have a trap door that shuts behind them after they enter. It may be difficult to find one small enough for an anole because most are made for catching giant lizards or iguanas (which are up to 5 feet in length).
You can research various traps online and purchase one.
Here’s a video on a lizard trap in action:
After you’ve trapped an anole, you’ll need to relocate it.
Some ordinances may have regulations on this, so you need to check with your local laws to see if there are any restrictions. If possible, relocate the anoles at least 10 miles away from your home.
This will make it difficult for it to take over your yard again. Release it in an area that’s suitable and away from other properties.
To save time, you can catch a bunch of them and place them into an aquarium or terrarium.
After you’ve trapped and caught a few, relocate them all at the same time. Be sure to wear protective equipment as dealing with so many anoles simultaneously can lead to bites.
Use a snare
You can manually remove and catch green anoles using a snare.
These are small hooks on an extended metal rod. You loop the snare around the lizard’s neck and pull the rope to tighten the wire. As it tries to run, the snare will trap the lizard.
You can then release it into a container and repeat the process. Catch as many as you can and dump them in. Then relocate them all at the same time.
Snares are cheap and you can readily find them online.
Snares are harmless to anoles when used correctly.
They do require some skill to get comfortable with.
But with practice, you’ll be trapping and getting rid of green anoles in your yard on a daily basis. The population numbers will drop and soon enough you’ll have a lizard-free backyard!
Stop green anoles permanently
It’s hard to completely control green anoles because they’re persistent creatures. But then again, just a few of them here and there isn’t too bad.
The males are territorial and won’t share their “land” with other males, so you can only have a few males area. This prevents your property from being overrun with them naturally. Get rid of the few males you have and then they can’t breed. Then you can really control their population.
They can also adapt to a variety of different environments and don’t need a ton of food to live off of. Thus, they’re so successful and prevalent all over the US.
The best you can do to prevent green anoles from coming into your home and garden is to:
- Eliminate food sources
- Eliminate water sources
- Keep your yard clean and pest free
- Make sure your home’s sealed up from entry points
Do all these and you’ll see a great reduction in the number of anoles basking in your yard.
Although you probably won’t get rid of them completely, you’ll still be making your garden unfavorable to them so maybe they’ll leave (or go to your neighbor’s).
Here are some references you may find useful on your quest to rid these lizards:
- Anolis carolinensis: INFORMATION – ADW
- Anolis carolinensis – Wikipedia
- Green Anole – Anolis carolinensis – NatureWorks – NH PBS
Did you get rid of the green anoles from your garden?
You should now have a deep understanding of the various ways to control, manage, and eliminate green anoles from your property.
The severity of the lizard infestation determines how much work will be involved. You can use a combination of the various natural DIY remedies listed here and see what works best for your situation.
Don’t rely on a single technique. Use multiple sources like cleaning up your yard, sealing up your home, laying down eggshells, and growing some herbs for efficiency.
And if the anoles just keep coming into your property, get a professional exterminator to help.
If you have any questions, drop a comment below. Or if you found this page useful (or not), let me know so I can improve the article.
Thanks for reading!
Currently an active researcher in the pest control industry for the past 8 years- with a focus on using natural and organic methods to eliminate pest problems.
I share handy DIY pest techniques I come across here to help out others (and possibly save them from a mental breakdown).
Fight nature with nature.