Do Green Anoles Make Good Pets?


Are you thinking of getting a Green Anole as a pet? Well, that’s a good idea. Do they make great pets? Yes, they do.

These cute little lizards are a perfect choice for beginners and young kids. They are small in size, easy to care for, and are readily available and affordable in pet shops.

As great as they are, these green lizards need frequent attention. But don’t all pets demand attention?

Green Anoles are great as show pets since they can change from brown color to green. And no, they are not related to chameleons. In fact, they change color based on their health, mood, and temperature.

Besides, during the breeding season, adult males display their gorgeous pink or red dewlaps to attract mates.

Here is a brief overview of Green Anoles for first-time reptile keepers.

divider- reptile pawSpecies Overview

Common Names: Green Anole, American Anole, American Chameleon, Carolina Anole, Red-Throated Anole
Scientific Name: Anolis carolinensis
Adult Size: 6-9 inches
Life Expectancy: 4-8 years

Everything You Need to Know about Green Anoles

Temperament and Behavior

These pet reptiles are skittish and shy. But when handled gently consistently, they become tame and enjoy being hand-fed.

These creatures are quick and agile. Their padded feet allow them to climb and cling to various surfaces. They are very active during the day and enjoy basking in the sun.

Since these animals are shy, hold them from the belly when picking them up, but not by the tail. They can detach and drop their tail when they feel threatened. Although the lizard will regenerate a new tail, it does not have the same color and texture as the original one.

Green anoles can live alone or in groups. The groups, however, should not include more than one male. Adult males are territorial and possess an instinct to defend their territory.

They do this by extending their dewlaps, head bobbing, turning their bodies sideways, and fighting their opponents. Therefore, if you want to own several green anoles, have a few females but just one adult male. Or have separate tanks for the males.

Housing a Green Anole

You can house these pets in a small tank, an appropriately-sized aquarium, or a terrarium. For a single pair of green anoles, a 10-gallon tank will do. Multiple Green Anoles will need more space, which means getting a larger tank.

These lizards are active during the day and love to bask among plants. Therefore, include substrates such as bark, peat moss, and untreated soil in their housing.

They also love ivy, orchids, bromeliads, philodendrons, and vines. You can also include orchid bark and branches for the lizards to climb.

Anoles prefer elevated housing. They get stressed when they are placed on the floor on a busy walkway. For this reason, place the terrarium on a shelf or in an elevated position.

These lizards live on trees while in nature, and elevating their tank simulates their natural lifestyle.

When housing Green Anoles, remember to include only one male in the tank. Also, have plenty of room for the females to roam about freely.

green anole on leaf
Image Credit: Brett Hondow, Pixabay

Favorable Humidity

For a Green Anole to thrive, it requires 60-70% humidity. To achieve this, you need to mist the tank daily using bottled or dechlorinated water. You can purchase a misting system for this.

If a misting system is too expensive for you, cover the tank top and increase live plants. Also, add a shallow water dish to the habitat.

Heat & Lighting

These pet lizards need a semi-tropical environment with an ambient temperature of 75-82 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit at night. The basking temperature should be 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit and should not fall less than 65-degrees Fahrenheit during the night.

As much as you’d want to keep your pet warm, avoid using hot rocks. They can burn and overheat the animal.

In terms of light, Green Anoles require 12-14 hours of exposure. These sun-worshipping critters need at least 8 hours of UV lighting every day.

It is for this reason that anole owners are advised to take them outside to bask. But when doing so, they should check that the cage is well-closed as these lizards can escape by fitting through small spaces. The cage should also have shade and hiding space.

What if there is no bright sunlight outside? The best alternative is the use of a UVB light source.

Apart from light, Green Anoles need 10 to 12 hours of darkness. Therefore, switch off all light sources at night.

Green Anoles side view_Pixabay
Image Credit: PCExotics, Pixabay

Healthy Diet for Green Anoles

These reptiles thrive on gut-loaded insects to stay healthy. Their meal plan includes crickets, waxworms, mealworms, farm-raised larvae, spiders, ants, moths, butterflies, termites, beetles, slugs, and cockroaches. They can detect motion from insects and enjoy chasing to stay active.

4 Tips to Remember When Feeding a Green Anole

4 Tips to Remember

  • Ensure that the insect size matches the width of your pet’s head. If not, feed 2-3 insects that are half the size of the anole’s head.
  • Include a vitamin and calcium supplement in their diet.
  • Avoid king worms and super worms. Their sharp mandibles can injure your pet.
  • Ensure that the insects are free of herbicides and pesticides.

Do green anoles drink water? Yes, but not from the water dish you place in the housing system.

Their water intake comes from collecting dew droplets off leaves. For this reason, ensure you mist the terrarium plants daily.

Proper Grooming and Hygiene

Green Anoles shed their skin regularly. To facilitate this, maintain the correct levels of humidity. Additionally, provide sphagnum moss in a hide box and a shed box to aid the process.

Common Health Problems

These lizards are hardy and rarely fall ill. Nevertheless, they are susceptible to respiratory issues, metabolic bone disease, and mouth rot.

Symptoms Include

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swollen joints
  • Discharge from the eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Runny stool
  • Discolored skin

If you notice any of the above signs, consult a veterinarian.

Related Questions

What Do Green Anoles Eat in the Wild?

They are insectivorous, and they hunt arthropods and bugs. They do not eat vegetation. Find out more here!

Where Can I Buy Food for My Anole?

You can find Green Anole food from a reputable, local pet store that will not sell you disease-infested insects.

Do Green Anoles Like to be Held?

No, they are skittish and shy. However, if the pet lizards are handled gently from a young age, they can feel comfortable around their owners.

divider- reptile pawSummary

Green Anoles make great pets. These shy yet active lizards are beautiful to look at, need low maintenance, and live for up to 8 years.

All they need is a sizeable tank, good humidity, temperature, and lighting conditions, as well as a balanced diet.


Featured Image Credit: Brett_Hondow, Pixabay





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