jerry jackson
Photographed by Bette Jackson

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Source: Anole 2

Length of Segment: 00:01:17

Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. My introduction to the green anole came through the circus that visited our town when I was a child. Outside the big top, vendors sold chameleons tethered with a bit of thread to a safety pin. For less than a dollar, I could have a pet riding on my shoulder. Of course I had to have one. My pet soon escaped, probably one of the lucky ones. Chameleons are lizards that are found in Africa and Asia that move slowly, have eyes that move independently of one another, and can change colors. My pet, the American lizard so often called a chameleon, was a green anole, a close relative of the iguanas, and not at all closely related to the Old World chameleons. The green alone earned the name chameleon because it too can change colors. Like the true chameleons, the green anole does not change its color to match its surroundings. Both lizards change color from green to brown or gray or nearly black in response to light, temperature, and emotion. When cold, an anole will turn dark, a color that more readily absorbs heat. When hot, it will turn lighter, thus better able to reflect excess heat. When excited, the green anole is bright lime-green.

'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.

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