Rustling leaves in the hardwood hammock sound more like a lion than a lizard. But the tiny green anole (Anolis carolinensis) is responsible. A brown blur, he darts up a strangler fig tree and out onto a big leaf. Within seconds, the lizard transforms into a sliver of green, barely recognizable against the foliage. He lifts and bobs his head, then repeatedly protrudes his bright red throat pouch. The reasons for this display are twofold: to attract a mate, and to advertise territorial ownership to other males.
The lizard's crimson beacon is easily visible from many trees away. As inconspicuous female anoles scurry for a closer view, another hammock resident approaches ...... moments later, the green anole, once a star performer in this tiny verdant arena, is caught and consumed by a corn snake.