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Green Anole Lizards

Updated on December 12, 2016

Green Anole Lizards

Green Anole
Green Anole

Green Anole Lizards: An Overview

Green anole lizards are small reptiles that are commonly found in the wild in the southeastern United States. They also make great pets! A small and somewhat shy creature, green anoles are one of literally dozens of species of anole lizards ...

While they're sometimes referred to as chameleons, they're really not related to true chameleons at all, which originate in Africa. About the only thing green anoles have in common with chameleons is their ability to change color, from a deep dark brown to a beautiful bright green, with many shades in between.

Green Anole Specifics

These small insect eating reptiles are often seen in the wild in southestern states like Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Alabama. They generally live in small shrubs and bushes and often forage the ground for meals ...

On average, green anoles grow to about 5-7 inches in length, most of which is their long sleek tail. In their natural habitat, they live about 2 or 3 years. As pets, they often live longer, even to five years or more!

Green anole numbers are decreasing in the wild, especially in southern Florida. More aggressive species like the brown anole, which are native to Cuba, have taken over much of their natural habitat.

They are commonly sold in large pet centers as they make ideal entry level pets. Typically, you can buy one for less than $10.

Buying A Green Anole As A Pet

What To Look For

Any large pet center like PetSmart or PetCo will offer anole lizards for sale. Remember, there are several different types of anoles, and while their care requirements are generally the same, green anoles are the most common offered as pets.

Anole care in pet centers has dramatically improved over the past decade or two. Now, you'll normally see a maximum of 3-4 anoles housed in one terrarium. Anoles can in fact be housed together, with a few stipulations. But they're actually solitary creatures and don't need the companionship of another anole. In the wild, they establish their own territory, so a single anole will be quite content in a terrarium set up exclusively as their home.

Look for a lively, vibrant green anole. They should scamper about freely and have deep black sharp, clear eyes. Avoid buying one who appears slow or sedate, as they may be sick ...

You can buy either a full grown adult anole or a juvenile. You'll be able to tell the difference by their size. You can also choose between males and females, and the pet center representative can differentiate the two by placing the anole in a clear plastic bag or container and looking underneath their body.

The main stipulation or caution about housing anoles together is to never, ever house two males together! They will be enemies and fight. It is perfectly ok to house one male and one female together, or two females, or even one male and two females. Just be careful not to overcrowd their terrarium ...

Housing Pet Green Anoles

Housing requirements for green anole lizards is pretty simple and straightforward ...

We recommend a minimum 20 gallon capacity terrarium per anole. If you plan on adopting two at one time and want to house them together, buy a larger terrarium, such as a 30 or 40 gallon capacity.

Anole love to explore, lounge, bask, and even hide in their habitat. Be sure to provide all sorts of basking branches, rocks, and places for them to hide. You can find all of these materials, as well as specially designed lizard cage bedding, at our site dedicated exclusively to green anole lizards ...

Decorating The Terrarium

As mentioned, green anoles like a variety of materials in their terrarium which mimic their natural habitat. They especially like branches to climb upon and lounge on, as well as larger rocks where they can bask and soak in heat and light. They are quite curious and can climb extremely well, so make sure the terrarium has a secure, tight fitting lid with vented air holes. Glass or heavy duty plastic terrariums are equally acceptable.

You should also plan to buy a reptile heat lamp which will help keep the heat at an acceptable level on one side of the terrarium. Since they are cold blooded, anoles will alternatively want to heat up and cool down. That's why it's important to have one side of the terrarium warmer and the other side somewhat cooler. A temperature differentiation of 10 degrees or so between the two is ideal ...

Heat and Humidity

Green anoles thrive in warm and humid conditions. During the day their terrarium should have a warm zone of about 85 degrees with humidity levels of 70+ percent. At night, when anoles are inactive, the warm zone can be about 75 degrees ...

You can monitor the heat and humidity levels by purchasing a combination heat and humidity gauge which can easily be inserted within the terrarium. This allows you to tell at a glance whether conditions need to be altered.

Another excellent way to increase humidity levels is to gently mist the terrarium with tepid water (not warm and not cool). This will simulate a rain shower and increase humidity within the terrarium. Further, this is how anoles consume water ... they lap up droplets from branches and twigs. Rarely will an anole drink water from a dish, although tame specimens have been known to do so.

Decorate First

Tip: Decorate the terrarium BEFORE bringing your anole home. Anoles are easily stressed, so be aware the trip home from the pet center will be one of the most stressful experiences of their life. Have the terrarium completely "ready to go" so when you bring your pet home, they can immediately begin to acclimate. This will ease their stress considerably and get things off to a good start ...

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Feeding Your Green Anole Lizard

The Green Anole Diet

In their natural environment, anoles will eat many types of small insects. These include flies, mosquitoes, fruit flies, and small moths.

In captivity, they will eat all of these too, but the problem is obtaining or capturing these insects on a consistent bases. Fortunately, anoles love small soft shelled mealworms and wingless fruit flies. Both are easily obtained and just as easy to contain and feed to your pet.

Feeding Habits

Adult anoles will eat about five times per week, sometimes a bit more and sometimes a bit less. Don't be overly concerned if they don't eat for a couple of days, as this is normal behavior. Anoles can go a week to ten days between meals, but they normally eat about five times per week.

They will only consume live prey, so be sure to remove any expired insects or mealworms from their terrarium. Not only will your pet ignore them, but they can also lead to disease if they are left sitting around for too long ...

On occasion, green anoles will take small bits of ripe or overripe fruit, like peach or banana. They seem to like to consume small bits of fruit if presented to them as "alive" or moving. To accomplish this, pluck a straw from a broom and wiggle it near your pet. Do it close enough so they notice, but not too close to startle them. Don't be concerned if they won't accept fruit ... some anoles like it, some don't.

Watching your anole stalk and consume prey is a fascinating experience! They are lightning fast creatures and sometimes snatch prey out of mid air. Other times, they slowly stalk their meal-to-be and pounce upon it before devouring it in their tiny but powerful jaws ...

Thanks For Stopping By!

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      They are great pet to keep lol :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This is a great hub full of good info! I just want to add that since anoles like to lounge on various things in their enclosure, people may see heat rocks in the pet store and think it's a good idea. Heat rocks burn lizards, so please people don't buy one! They're marketed as a cool accessory to put in your tank, and unfortunately a beginner to the reptile world may make the mistake of purchasing one. I just wanted to add this comment to this hub because anoles ARE a great choice for beginners. :)

      Once again, a great hub, and good solid lizard care info.

      -Ashley @

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 

      7 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      What a beautiful little animal this is! I can understand why people would want to have one as a pet - they are so cute! I haven't heard of this little lizard before so this was a really fascinating hub. The photographs are also stunning! Voted up + awesome!


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