Leaping Lizards: These Little Guys Are Hurricane-Proof

NAPLES, FL–We’ve all heard the expression “get a grip,” but there’s a critter common to South Florida and the Caribbean that literally knows how to hang in there.

It’s a tiny lizard called the brown anole, sometimes also referred to as the Bahamian anole, and you can hardly walk down the sidewalk anywhere around here without the little guys skittering underfoot.

They’re fast. They eat bugs. And scientists have discovered they also have amazing strength—strength enough to not get blown away in 100 m.p.h. winds. At the least the ones tested in the lab proved that.

They’re survivors of Hurricane Irma (Ground Zero right here), and Harvard scientists, clearly with too much time on their hands, wanted to answer the question: Why did some anoles survive the storm, and why did others get sent to Lizard Heaven?

First let’s settle the pronunciation issue.

As author Jeff Bruce points out in his new book, The Mermaids, Floridians call them “Ann-oh-Lees.” In the Caribbean, you can also hear them called “Ann-ols” or “Uh-nolls.”

Or just call them lizards.

The Harvard researchers traveled to the Caribbean after hurricanes Irma and Maria to study the survival rates of the tiny reptiles. They discovered that the lizards who survived have evolved stronger gripping capabilities.

They demonstrated this by setting a handful of unsuspecting lizards on a dowel rod and blasting them with leaf blowers, testing how long they could hang on as the wind speed increased.

They promised no lizards were hurt during this experiment.

The Associated Press has released a story summarizing the research with an entertaining video that shows the little liozards getting blasted. They really do have amazing grip. You can see for yourself HERE.

STRANGE FACT: Male anoles have a pink throat fan called a dewlap which they use to entice females.


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