You can put this lizard on the lunch menu

August 7, 2015, 11:16 a.m.

The brown anole is a beautiful lizard native to Cuba and the Bahamas. Its brown body helps it to stay camouflaged, while a vibrant orange dewlap helps it draw attention to itself when other anoles are around.

But the brown anole has become a complicated creature. Captured from its island homes and mailed to the United States for the pet trade, escapees have taken over certain areas. In the southeast United States, particularly Florida, the brown anole has become a problematic and aggressive invasive species, out-competing the native green anole and other lizard species while rapidly spreading its range. In just 15 years, its presence has caused an evolutionary change in native lizards, which in response to the competitors have moved higher up into treetops and developed larger toe pads with stickier scales to adapt. Even with these adaptations, they may not be able to outrun the brown anole in Florida.

That's where eating them comes in. It is not a new response to invasive species -- everything from lionfish to wild boar have been put on the menu as a way to battle back against their advance. And according to Eat The Weeds, brown anoles taste like bacon. The website says that you can deep fry them, and apparently eat them whole, from head to tail. We haven't found any recipes for brown anole, but Eat The Weeds recommends a dash of pepper. The author also notes that the lizards can carry salmonella, so if you're going to try them out as a snack, be sure to wash up as if you're cooking raw chicken.

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Jaymi Heimbuch is a writer and photographer at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

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