Do Anoles Drop Their Tails? {How Fast Can They Regrow a New Tail?}

Have you heard of autotomy before when it comes to anoles? Do anoles drop their tails? How fast will a new one regrow? Will the new tail be just the same?

I was very curious about how anoles use their tails to communicate or defend themselves. This article explains everything I found out and I think you might be interested to see for yourself.

Do Anoles Drop Their Tails?

Yes. Anoles are recognized for dropping their tails as a kind of defense when they feel threatened. The anole is able to flee from predators thanks to a behavior known as autotomy.

The Anole can make a rapid getaway because the predator is distracted by the tail’s continued wriggling. It’s crucial to remember that anole tail dropping is a last choice because it can be a demanding and exhausting process that leaves the anole exposed.

Anoles will try to avoid having to lower their tails by using alternative defense measures like hiding or changing color. Even while anoles may grow their tails again, the new tail may be shorter or have a different shape than the original.

Why Do Anoles Drop Their Tails?

The major purpose that anoles serve in shedding their tails is to divert or perplex any potential predators. In the event that it is attacked by a predator, an anole has the ability to:

  • detach its tail at a specific break point.
  • leaving the tail to wriggle and twitch on the ground below it.

This movement has the potential to divert the attention of the predator away from the anole’s body, providing the anole with an opportunity to flee. The tail itself will continue to twitch for a considerable amount of time, giving the possible predator a distraction.

It is possible that the severed tail will continue to move and twitch, which can further confuse or distract the predator. This is in addition to the tail’s ability to serve as a diversion. Since the tail also consists of muscle tissue and bone, it is possible that it offers the predator a source of sustenance instead of chasing after the anole.

Can an Anole Lose Its Tail?

Yes. An estimated ten percent of anoles are born without a tail, which they normally choose to shed themselves. The anole’s tail draws the attention of potential enemies, but it manages to get away with minimal damage.

  • The tail will regrow in a few weeks, but because it is made of cartilage rather of bones, it will never be as robust as the original.

Researchers looked at the regrown tails of the green anole lizard, also known as Anolis carolinensis. This species can shed its tail if it is captured by a larger animal, but it will eventually grow back. Instead of vertebrae, the new tail featured a single, long tube made of cartilage. The original tail contained vertebrae.

What Happens When an Anole Loses Its Tail?

The fracture plane causes the anole’ tail to become disconnected from the rest of the body when the tail is dropped by the lizard because it disconnects from:

  • skin
  • muscles
  • nerves
  • blood supply
  • bone

Following the separation of the tail from the body of the lizard, it will continue to twitch and wriggle on its own for several minutes.

YouTube video

Can I Hold My Brown Anole?

No. Don’t hold, but let them climb aboard. Brown anoles have a low tolerance for being confined. When grasped, they will try to get away by:

  • wriggling
  • attempting to bite

A sign of stress in an anole that has been restricted is a darkening of the anole’s overall body color. It is essential to exercise caution when holding an anole and to refrain from crushing or otherwise overly strangulating the lizard in any way.

Because of their brittle skeletal structure, anoles are quickly broken if they are handled aggressively. Instead, gently rest your hand on the anole’s back and wait for it to climb onto your hand from there.

How Long Does It Take for an Anoles Tail to Grow Back?

It can take the anole an average of 60 days to regrow a tail that can move properly. The lizard develops what the researchers describe to be a complicated regeneration structure over the course of those two months, with cells growing into tissue at particular spots along the tail.

The factors that can all affect how long it takes for an anole to grow its tail back are:

  • the length of the lost tail
  • age
  • health

An anole’s tail typically takes two to three months to fully regenerate. The regeneration blastema, a specialized group of cells, will help the lizard develop a new tail during this period. The new tail will start out short and weak, but as it grows, it will get bigger and stronger.

Why Do Anoles Curl Their Tail?

Anoles can curl their tail for a variety of reasons, depending on the situation and the species. Here are three that I discovered:

  1. Balance
  2. Defense
  3. Communication

1. Balance

Anoles twist their tail among other things for balance. Anoles frequently curl their tails when moving swiftly to aid in making sharp turns or scaling vertical surfaces. They can keep their balance by utilizing their tail as a counterweight.

2. Defense

Anoles curl their tails for defense as well. When threatened, several anole species will curl their tails in an effort to fool their attacker or divert them from attacking their more important body parts.

In certain circumstances, the curled tail may also mimic the anole’s head, deceiving predators into attacking the incorrect end.

3. Communication

Anoles can communicate by curling their tail. Males, for instance, could employ their curled tail as a visual cue to entice females or assert their authority over other males.

The curled tail of some anole species may also exhibit a bright or striking coloring to indicate hostility or territoriality to other anoles.


Anoles are a special species of lizard that have developed the capacity to lower their tails in order to protect themselves from predators. This procedure, called autotomy, frees the lizard from the predator’s hold and provides it time to run away and find safety.

The anole may pay a price for having this talent, such as a loss of energy or resources or a diminished capacity for communication with other anoles, even though it is necessary for their survival.

Understanding autotomy and its effects is crucial for fully appreciating on of these extraordinary adaptations that anoles have made in response to environmental obstacles.


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My name is Anna and I work full time in my local pet shop where we sell many animals that I write about on this site. I love all animals and love writing about them.