Housing Your Green Anole
They may be small, but green anoles are active lizards, and love climbing and jumping. Choose a roomy enclosure with a lot of vertical space. Only have more than one creature in the same enclosure if both are female, and don’t house with other species such as brown anoles. There should be a quarter inch of secure wire mesh at the top of the tank, and a layer of moist substrate on the bottom. This could be potting soil, peat moss, top soil, bark mulch or recycled paper. Soil is a good choice, perhaps with a layer of bark on top, since you can grow plants in it. Plants provide cover, and help maintain humidity. Provide branches and bark for basking and climbing, along with hiding spots.
As with other reptiles, heating and lighting need to be just right. Have a full-spectrum fluorescent light right above the top of the cage. This promotes good calcium metabolism in your lizard, and should be kept on for between 10 and 12 hours a day. You can provide heat with an incandescent light at one end of the cage, so your green anole can regulate its own temperature. The temperature of the basking area should be around 90° F, while the rest of the tank can hover between 72° F and 80° F. Use under tank heating, and measure the temperature in different spots in the enclosure. Night-time temperatures should be 15° to 20° F lower.
It’s important to keep humidity levels at between 60 and 70%, so mist the inside of the tank for 10 seconds twice a day. This also gives green anoles a water supply, since they usually won’t drink from bowls, but lick drops from misted plants. You can try covering part of the top of the tank or adding more plants if you are finding it hard to keep humidity levels high enough.
Feeding Your Green Anole
Green anoles are predominantly insectivorous and good eaters. Feed your anoles up to three insects every two or three days, and vary the type you give to provide a better diet, and allow your pet to develop different hunting techniques. Do not feed your lizard anything larger than the size of its head or over-feed, since this causes dehydration. Offer a mix of crickets, small locusts, mealworms, wax worms, small earthworms, small cockroaches, flies and even moths, butterflies and spiders which you can find yourself.
About once a week, dust the crickets with a vitamin supplement powder. If you keep crickets around in bulk, ‘gut-load’ them by feeding them vitamin-rich cricket food before feeding to your lizards. Green anoles have also been known to eat pollen, nectar and other liquid-type fruits. They may not eat a banana for example, but lick the juices instead.
Health of Green Anoles
Although generally very hardy, you should know some common health issues to watch out for in green anoles. Green anoles change color from dark brown to bright green. But they can only turn bright green with the right balance of nutrients. Malnourished creatures will stay dark brown. Skin color that is a mix of bright green and dark brown spots is healthy enough, as long as this is only temporary.
Intestinal worms are a common problem. In affected animals, appetite will be diminished, and feces will appear only partially digested. The drug which kills the worms is expensive, and the purging process so stressful that there is a chance the anole will not survive.
Mites are external parasites and can be hard to spot. They can quickly drain a significant amount of blood, causing a lack of appetite and a weakening of the immune system, so if you think your pet is infected, act fast. Try thoroughly bathing your pet, and housing him in a separate terrarium while you clean its home. Get rid of the substrate, any live plants, and other anything else that’s disposable. Next, soak the terrarium in a bleach solution for 18 to 24 hours. You could also dip you anole quickly but thoroughly in cooking oil, but you will still need to clean out the tank. One final option is to take your pet to the veterinarian for a mite killer which is generally sprayed on both the lizard and its home.
Finally, metabolic bone disease (MBD) is caused by inadequate exposure to ultraviolet light. Symptoms include soft jaws, difficulty walking, crooked limbs, swollen, hardened thighs and trembling or convulsions. Allow your green anole to soak up enough ultraviolet rays to metabolize calcium and synthesize vitamin D3, keeping bones and teeth strong and healthy.