Anole Lizard Care Sheet
If you own or are considering buying an anole lizard, here are several facts and tips you’ll need to know about these fascinating little reptiles …
Green Anole Fact #1: About These Small Reptiles
First, even though they are often called chameleons, they are only distantly related to true chameleons, which are natives of Africa and in particular Madagascar. The actual spcies name for what most people call a chameleon is anolis carolinensis, which indicates it is a species native to the Carolina regions of the United States.
American chameleons, or anole lizards if you prefer, are found all over the southeastern United States. You will see them scooting about in the wild most commonly in Florida, as well as Georgia, North and South Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi. Their population has also spread westward to parts of both Texas and Arizona. They are also quite common in many Caribbean locations, particularly in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Green Anole Fact #2: Buying Anoles
Anole lizards can be purchased at most pet superstores. They make an ideal entry level pet, both due to their reasonable cost and low maintenance lifestyle. They are adaptable to just about any living space, as long as they have a sizeable enough terrrarium (at least 20 gallon size) to call home. They are perfect for those who can’t own traditional pets like dogs or cats or are unable to exist with pets causing allergic reactions.
Although these small lizards are somewhat shy, particularly at first, you will find they become used to (and even crave) resting in your hand once they become used to you. They are absolutely delightful to observe, not only during feeding time but also at play or rest.
Green Anole Fact #3: Keeping Their Habitat Warm
You will want to make sure their habitat is warm. We recommend using a small grow light used for indoor plants on a timer to keep at least a portion of their terrarium at a temperature they prefer – typically about 80 degrees.
Like most humans, they sleep at night, so their internal temperature can dip a bit because they are not active. Keep the terrarium at least 65 degrees because remember, anole lizards are reptiles and hence cold blooded creatures. You can find all sorts of handy terrarium gadgets at reptile and chameleon supplies outlets online.
Green Anole Fact #4: Handling Your Pet
Expect your lizard to grow to a length of five to seven inches long. Much of its length will be in its tail, which is long and slender. Anoles can shed their tail if necessary, most commonly in the wild to avoid predators. If you handle your pet, be sure to never pick it up by the tail … it will break off. And while the tail will grow back, it will never be as nice looking as the original.
In the wild, anole lizards live anywhere from three to five years. Over the past few decades most anole lizards available in pet stores have been bred in captivity. As such, their normal lifespan often extends beyond five years, although that’s the norm. One of our anoles lived to the ripe old age of eight!
Green Anole Fact #5: Keeping Anoles Together
Anole lizards can coexist together, as long as they are females. One male can safely be introduced, but it is not advisable to have two males in one terrarium … they will fight! It is not necessary to have more than one anole lizard in the terrarium because in general, they are solitary creatures. However, they will happily live together in small groups although we recommend keeping the number at four or less to eliminate stress between the lizards, particularly at feeding time.