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Green Anole Care Guide: Housing, Diet, Facts

green anole care sheet

Adding a reptile to your collection is a big decision, and you need to ensure that it meets all of your requirements.

Green anoles are a great beginner-friendly pet for anyone who does not want to handle their reptile frequently. They are small, take up little room, and are relatively easy to care for with these requirements in mind. 

Green Anole Facts

Common NameGreen Anole
Scientific NameAnolis carolinensis
Natural HabitatSoutheastern United States
Adult Size5 to 7 inches
Enclosure Size10-gallon terrarium
DietGut-loaded crickets and mealworms
Lifespan5 to 8 years
Experience LevelBeginner

Where Do Green Anoles Live? 

Green anoles are native to the southeastern portion of the United States, typically found as far north as southern Virginia down to the southern Florida Keys.

To the west, you will find them in central Texas and Oklahoma. That being said, they thrive in swamps and forests as well as areas with lots of trees. 

Green Anole Appearance, Colors and Morphs

green anole male vs female
As you can see, male green anoles have a red dewlap, while female green anoles have a small dewlap but a light stripe on the back.

The green anole is relatively distinct in appearance, defined by the bright green color of its skin under most circumstances.

With changes in temperature or humidity, it can change color from a bright green to a dark brown relatively quickly. It has a strip of blue surrounding each eye along with a white belly and mouth. 

Overall, the green anole is best described as a thin reptile with a long tail with long hind legs that allow it to climb easily. 

Male green anoles also have a pink or red dewlap that helps them to scare away intruders on their territory. 

How Big Do Green Anoles Get? 

This video shows pretty well how big an adult green anole is.

Green anoles are relatively small reptiles, coming in at just five to seven inches in length. Though rarer, some have been known to reach eight inches in length. 

Green Anole Lifespan

The green anole can have a fairly generous lifespan under ideal care conditions. Most will live for about five years in the wild.

If well taken care of in captivity, you may find that your green anole will live longer, closer to eight years. 

How to Care for Green Anoles

So let’s get into the care for green anoles:

Green Anole Tank Setup

Because these reptiles are relatively small, you can avoid having a large, oversized terrarium. If you have just one green anole, it can comfortably reside in a 10-gallon aquarium.

Ideally, it would be at least 18 inches tall as well. For those who plan to house multiple green anoles in one tank, you might want to consider upgrading to a 20-gallon tank

Lighting and Temperature

Your new green anole will require a temperature gradient, though it is a little different from than most.

Ensure that the top of the tank is the warm area (85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit) while the bottom is cooler (75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit). At night, it should be even cooler (65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit all over). 

To this end, you will need lighting that allows you to instill heat into the enclosure such as the Exo Terra Solar Glo. Keep in mind that green anoles are diurnal, so you may want to put your light on a timer so that they can rest at night. 

To keep the enclosure at the proper temperature during the night without a heat bulb, you can use an under-tank heater like this one from Zoo Med

Do Green Anoles Need UVB?

Yes, green anoles do require UVB in order to produce vitamin D. The Exo Terra Solar Glo will not only help keep your tank at the proper temperature but it will also provide them with this crucial item. 

Substrate

Because green anoles need high humidity levels to thrive, you will need a substrate that can hold onto moisture.

This is why many people will use coconut fiber substrate like the Zoo Med Eco Earth Coconut Fiber or bark like the Zoo Med Reptibark. Steer clear of sand because it can lead to impaction if consumed. 

Humidity

Humidity is an essential piece of keeping your green anole hydrated and healthy. Aim to keep the reading on your hygrometer between 60 and 70 percent.

You can do this through adding a water dish to the enclosure and misting things two to three times each day. 

You may want to invest in an automatic mister to take care of your green anole when you aren’t around. 

Green Anole Tank Décor

Your new anole will need a place where they can hide and retreat when things get too stressful. To this end, you will want to provide a hide like these Zilla Bark Bends.

It should give your reptile enough space to hide out and escape for a little while, but that isn’t the only décor you will want in your enclosure. 

Green anoles are great at climbing and exploring, so you will want plenty of plants within your enclosure.

Hanging vines like the Fluker’s Repta-Vines are a great option, as are weighted plants like the Exo Terra Boston Fern Terrarium Plant. Both give your anole a great place to hide out for a little while if they do not want to use the hide. 

How to Clean a Green Anole Tank

The best thing to do in order to care for your green anole is to clean their enclosure regularly. Most people find that they can spot clean their enclosure weekly.

Regardless of what substrate you decided to use, clean it thoroughly and replace once a month (unless using the Reptibark, which can be cleaned and reused). 

When doing this, be sure to clean the terrarium itself with hot water and a little dish soap, if needed. You should also take the plants out of the enclosure and rinse them with hot water.

Green Anole Diet

what do green anoles eat?

What to Feed

For the most part, you will need to feed your green anole gut-loaded insects like crickets. You will need to feed them often, usually between two and five crickets.

Ensure that you feed the right size of cricket (smaller than half the size of the green anole’s head). They should be able to eat their entire meal in about ten minutes. 

You can reward them from time to time with special treats like mealworms or wingless fruit flies. 

How Often to Feed

While some reptiles can go days without eating, green anoles aren’t quite that low-maintenance. If you have an adult, you can stretch their feeding time out to every other day.

On the other hand, a young green anole will likely need to eat daily. 

Tip: In this article, we show how long green anoles can go without food (it’s pretty impressive). They might be the perfect pets for people who travel a lot.

Do Green Anoles Need Water?

Yes, green anoles do require water in their enclosure but it should be a relatively shallow dish to prevent them from drowning if they fall in.

You may want to dip the end of a vine into the water dish so that they have a means of climbing out on the off chance that they do fall in and become stuck. 

They will also drink water from the sides of the enclosure when misted, making this a very important part of their care and maintenance. 

Vitamins and Minerals

While they will get much of their nutrition from the gut-loaded insects, it might not be sufficient. You will need to take a few extra steps to get them the vitamins and minerals they will require.

All insects that you feed should be dusted with calcium and D3. 

Green Anole Behavior and Temperament

green anole behavior

In general, most green anole owners know that their reptiles are a little on the nervous side. They will run around in their cage to avoid being caught and handled. They will bite you if you try to handle them. 

Keep in mind that your green anole is quite territorial. You may notice them bobbing their heads, which is a sign that they are feeling threatened.

They will fight if another male encroaches on the territory that belongs to them, so make sure that there is only one male in your enclosure. 

One thing to look out for in males is the opening and closing of its dewlap (that red piece attached to the throat).

This is often done to signal that it feels uncomfortable or to ward other reptiles away from its territory.

You may notice this happen frequently if you have more than one green anole in your enclosure, particularly more than one male. 

Are Green Anoles Good Pets? 

If you don’t mind the fact that you can’t handle your green anole much and want them purely for decoration, then they make good pets.

They are relatively easy to care for and are quite content to remain in their terrarium. With minimal care requirements, they are great for beginners. 

Can You Handle Green Anoles?

It is generally not advised to handle your green anole too much as they don’t typically enjoy this. For those who are determined to tame their anole, be sure not to pick it up by the tail.

They can and will drop their tail when feeling threatened. 

When picking it up, allow it to slowly acclimate to your hand in the enclosure. Place your fingers around the rib cage and take it out of the enclosure.

Keep your thumb on top of the ribs and hold it in your hand with a small amount of pressure. Be sure not to let it get away from you as they are quite fast and difficult to catch. 

Green Anole Common Health Problems

The green anole tends to be a healthy reptile, but that doesn’t mean that it is immune to every type of health issue.

One of the most common issues that can surface is respiratory issues, so be sure to pay close attention to their breathing and note any discharge from the nose or mouth.

If you notice any wheezing or they keep their mouth open, it could be a sign of respiratory infection. 

Mouth rot is another common issue, presenting with swelling or redness around the mouth. You may also notice a thick white substance around the teeth

Last but not least, they are prone to metabolic bone disease which can be avoided with proper amounts of UVB.

Keep tabs on your anole to make sure that they are not losing weight, do not have a puffy face, and are not weak or tired. 

Where to Buy Green Anoles

where to buy green anoles?

Green Anole Breeders

Chances are that you can easily find a green anole in your local pet store, but you might be better off purchasing from a reptile breeder that specializes in anoles.

Here are some of the top breeders that you might want to consider for you new pet purchase: 

Green Anole Price

The good news is that these reptiles are extremely affordable. You are almost guaranteed to find them for under $20 with the average being between $10 and $15. 

Green Anole Breeding

Breeding males will try to attract females via their head bobbing and the expansion of the dewlap. They tend to be quite forward, grabbing the female by the neck and inseminating her.

Females will then lay one to two eggs a couple of weeks after mating. They may lay eggs every couple of weeks, increasing her total to about fifteen eggs per mating season. 

Eggs are frequently laid on or under the substrate with digging and burying them being rare. These eggs will typically hatch in about five to seven weeks without any maintenance or care required from the female. 

Final Thoughts

Green anoles are excellent pets for someone who just wants to get started with a new reptile. If you have limited experience taking care of a reptile, this is an easy way to get your feet wet before moving on to more advanced reptiles.

With these tips and facts in mind, you will have a great starting point for your new reptile. 

Pierre And The ReptileCraze Team
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