NEW ORLEANS — Chances are you’ve seen brown lizards that run just about everywhere in the city this summer.
Their scientific name is the Brown Anole and they’re fairly new residents of Louisiana.
“It wasn’t like they were here and we didn’t see them, they were not here in huge numbers and when they exploded, they exploded,” said Dr. Bob Thomas, with Loyola University.
Dr. Thomas says it’s believed the brown lizards moved into Louisiana stowed away on potted plants from Florida. Now the brown lizards are multiplying and are being spotted in more neighborhoods.
“There's more of them, there’s' a lot more of them,” said Dr. Thomas.
There isn't any formal tracking to confirm the population number has grown this summer, but Dr. Thomas says they’ve shown resilience through a cold winter which means they are likely here to stay.
“They seem to reproduce really fast, compared to other lizards,” said Dr. Thomas. “If just a handful survive, they'll come back.”
Over at Audubon Zoo, herpetology curator Robert Mendyk isn't convinced the brown lizard population has boomed, but he does think the weather is a reason people might be seeing them more often.
“It might be its summertime, more babies are being born,” said Mendyk.
The females lay eggs once a month as long as it's warm enough, and the mating season will likely continue to late October.
The good news is the new residents do like to earn their keep.
“They're good to have around the house they eat mosquitos, spiders, and cockroaches,” said Mendyk.
But once it cools down, you might have to return the favor, they’ll be looking for warmth inside homes.
The Brown Anoles are different species than the green lizards you might have seen in the past.
Experts are studying how this new population might affect the green one to see if they can coexist, or if one will be driven out.
If you want to see other lizards of Louisiana not as commonly seen in urban areas, Audubon Zoo features several on display. More information is available here: https://audubonnatureinstitute.org/zoo.