The Featured Pet for this week is: The Green Anole
I have always thought that anoles were fascinating little lizards. I had the privilege of caring for many of these little guys over the years when I was younger. One really neat feature they have is the ability to change colors (similar to chameleons) to different greens and browns. This can help them blend somewhat with their environment and serve as protection. Males often have very beautiful reddish dewlaps under their chins, which helps distinguish them from the females.
Holding anoles can be a precarious business. Because they are so small (only growing to a maximum size of 7 inches), they can be easily injured if handled incorrectly and/or squeezed too tightly. They will also lose their tails if they are pulled on too hard. However, some people do carefully and successfully handle their pet anoles regularly and with no problems – that is something you as a pet owner will need to decide if you want to hold your anole. Also, all reptiles can (but don’t always) carry salmonella, so if you do decide to hold your pet anole, make sure to use proper sanitation by washing your hands both before and after handling him.
Green anoles are often praised as great first pets due to their hardiness, ease of care, and being relatively inexpensive. This makes them a great pet for a child – they fit both a child’s budget as well as their responsibility level. Anoles are also not generally aggressive and will usually scamper away rather than attack or bite. They usually live 3-5 years, but if given optimum conditions can sometimes live up to 10 years.
I want to emphasize the proper care of anoles. Even though they are inexpensive and easy to care for, they still must be given a proper environment to thrive in, it is very important for their well-being. They are small, so generally one single anole can do very well in even a small 10 gallon terrarium or aquarium. The taller the aquarium, the better, because anoles love to climb and scale their habitats. If keeping more than one anole, you will definitely want to get an even larger habitat, and even larger if keeping several males. On the bottom of the aquarium you will want to put a substrate such as carpet or something such as crushed walnut shells, both of which can be purchased at pet stores. As I mentioned before, they love to climb because they are natural tree-dwellers, so be sure to include wood pieces like driftwood or grapevine for them to climb vertically on.
Lighting and temperature requirements must be taken into consideration as well. Anoles need UVB exposure to keep their metabolism going and to help them synthesize Vitamin D3. And so even though they are more hardy than other lizards, they still must be provided with proper lighting to thrive. Repti-Sun and Repti-Glo are both good lights because they provide both UVB and UVA rays. They also need proper temperatures to regulate their bodies. To achieve this, simply provide a 50 watt daytime bulb in the “basking” area of the terrarium and make sure it is far enough away from the other end of the terrarium so that there is also a cooler area available for them at the other end. You will also want to mist your anoles daily with water.
Feeding is relatively simple and is the main source of on-going expense for your anole. They are insectivores and therefore eat only insects, which includes crickets, mealworms and occasionally wax worms. You do want to make sure your anoles are getting enough calcium, so buy some calcium and vitamin powder to dust the insects in prior to feeding. Anoles are diurnal, so feed them their crickets/mealworms during the daytime. Also make sure to provide fresh water in a clean dish daily.
If you enjoyed these tips on anoles, you can learn much more about anoles as pets by seeing the Green Anole page!
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.