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How do I Care for an Anole Lizard?

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  • Written By: Sara Schmidt
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 03 December 2016
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An anole lizard is a popular, inexpensive reptile pet. Scientifically known as Anolis carolinensis, anoles are considered relatively easy to care for. A lizard cage, light, water, food, and a few other items are all one needs to care for a little green anole lizard.

Any anole kept as a pet requires a safe, stable home. This home is usually a small tank. A ten gallon (38 liter) tank is considered sufficient for one or two anoles. A larger tank is ideal to keep the lizards happy and healthy. Though pet shops often sell much smaller enclosures, these are too small for the lizards to thrive in.

Sex of anole lizards is important when considering their housing. Male anoles should not inhabit the same tank, as they are prone to fight. Female anoles, however, may be kept together.

A fitted, secure lid is necessary for any anole tank to ensure their safety. The lid should provide plenty of access to air; a screened lid is a popular choice. The tank itself should be regularly cleaned to provide a safe, healthy environment for the pet.

Anoles need lots of light for basking. Basking spots can be provided through an under tank heating source and a basking light. These can be obtained through most pet shops. A pet shop employee can be consulted regarding the proper temperature, light, and heating equipment needed for a specific anole and tank size.

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The tank should contain plenty of places to hide. Hiding places can be created with peat moss, bark, soil, branches, and live plants. Ideal anole plants include ivy, snake plants, vines, bromeliads, orchids, and philodendrons. Live plants will also help keep the tank humid and comfortable for the creatures.

Insects make up the majority of the anole diet. Considered good eaters, the lizards especially enjoy eating crickets. A wide variety of insect protein, however, should be provided. Wild insects may be caught and fed as long as they are pesticide-free; otherwise, they may be purchased at a pet store. Dried anole food is also available for purchase, though it should not make up the majority of the animal's diet.

When feeding an anole, a food portion half the size of the animal's head should be offered every other day. Vitamin and mineral supplements can be dusted on the animal's food to ensure proper health. Fresh water should always be available for the lizard in a small shallow dish. If well cared for, an anole lizard may live up to eight years of age. Average age, however, is half that time.

Also known as the American chameleon, the anole lizard is not a true chameleons. When agitated, the lizard may change colors, usually from green to brown. Other possible varieties of lizards as pets can include the glass lizard, beaded lizard, snake lizard, gecko, skink, legless lizard, agama lizard, bearded lizard, orange lizard, and Mexican lizard. Of the types of lizards available as pets, the anole lizard is often the one most readily available.

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