Caring for an Anole
Origin: Tropical Environments (including southern US)
Lifespan: Approximately 4-8 years
Maximum Length: 6"
Anoles have become extremely popular pets due to their ease of care and vibrant colors. People often keep Anoles with small tropical frogs in a terrarium-style enclosure with live plants, creating a small ecosystem that you can watching thrive. Since Anoles are very quick and quite jumpy, it's best not to handle your Anole. If you must pick up your Anole, grasp them confidently and gently - never grab them by the tail, as it could cause them to panic and detach their tail.
Your Anole will need at least a 10 gallon glass aquarium, though plastic ones are also acceptable if you do not need to use a heat lamp. It is best to use reptile carpet or a natural bedding such as coconut fiber or bark as a substrate in their enclosure. Items like driftwood, cork bark, or other reptile safe branches are great additions to allow your new pet to climb and jump as they normally would. Avoid using items found outside, as they could contain pesticides or insects that are harmful to your Anole. A shallow bowl with 1-2 inches of clean water is essential for your Anoles to have at all times. Since Anoles need a temperature between 75-85 degrees, often no heating in the tank is needed during the summer. However, a low wattage heat lamp should supplement the drop in temperature during the winter months. You can also use an under-tank heating pad to keep the temperature near the floor of the tank warm. Place your tank out of direct sunlight to avoid any overheating.
Anoles are insectivores and will eat small insects such as crickets, moths, waxworms, mealworms, and flies. Never feed your Anole an insect larger than the space between its eyes. It is best to dust your Anole's insects with calcium powder 1-2 times per week to ensure they are receiving the proper nutrition. Your Anole should be fed every other day. Make sure to remove any uneaten insects at the end of the day, as many of them bite!
Rinse out the water bowl daily and wipe it with a paper towel before refilling it with fresh, clean water. Both the tank and the floor covering should be cleaned weekly.
It is crucial to spray your Anoles morning and night with clean, room temperature water to maintain humidity and boost the animals' instinct to drink to avoid dehydration. Anoles do very well in small family groups, but be sure to monitor that each lizard is eating and drinking, and that there are no injuries as a result of aggression.
Anoles are very hardy pets and have relatively few problems. To prevent health problems, make sure your Anole's water is always clean and waste is always removed from the enclosure. Signs of illness include (but are not limited to): lethargy, areas of inflammation or parasites on the skin, cloudy or dull eyes, weight loss, excessive yawning, bloated abdomen, and sunken features especially on the head and tail.
ALWAYS wash your hands after handling a reptile!