The Jamaican Green Lizard And Why Some Jamaicans Are Afraid Of It

Today’s photos show a Jamaican green lizard on a tree trunk; it is also called the green anole, Jamaican giant anole (Anolis garmani), and the Jamaican crested anole.

I read that the Jamaican green lizard will eat insects and other small lizards, as well as some vegetal matter [source:]. It is found mostly in the West Indies.

Some Jamaicans are afraid of lizards (and even a picture of a lizard); but I was not afraid of this one, and he was not afraid of me either.

The main reasons why some Jamaicans are afraid of lizards are:

  1. They were socialized that way. Most Jamaicans grow up seeing adults (both men and women) running away from lizards, and they eventually do the same thing, and develop a fear of lizards.
  2. Some Jamaicans had had negative experiences with a lizard falling in their hair or clothing, and therefore have a fear of being near lizards.
  3. There is a common belief among Jamaican men, that if a lizard jumps on a man or bites him, it will cause his nature (sexual prowess) to decline. These men will therefore avoid lizards at all costs.
  4. The fourth reason is based on a Jamaican superstition which states that if a lizard falls on you, or lands on your chest,  then either you (a female) or someone close to you, is pregnant or will become pregnant in the near future.
  5. Finally, some Jamaicans believe that green lizards are duppies (ghosts or spirits of dead persons). They also believe that you should not harm these lizards or throw stones at them since doing so may result in illness or death.

I’ve never had a lizard fall on me, but one did run up my leg, causing me to shriek and to stomp him off me. I was wearing a green skirt that day, and I reasoned then that the lizard must have thought me to be one of the plants nearby, as I was sitting near some shrubbery at the time.

It is my observation however, that while other lizards will run away from you, the adult Jamaican green lizard is bolder and will give the impression of trying to dare you to come closer.

Final Photo:


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