Green Anole

COMMON NAME

SCIENTIFIC NAME

IUCN STATUS

CITES

EU ANNEX

Green Anole Anolis carolinensis Least concern (LC) - -

 

INTRODUCTION

The Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis) is the only anole native to the United States. Other species of anole, among the over 250 species worldwide, kept in captivity include: Cuban Anole (A. equestris), Crested Anole (A. garmani), Brown anole (A. sagrei).

They are found in Southeast of the United States, Cuba, Jamaica, and other Caribbean islands. Just under another 40 species of anole are found in Florida alone as invasive species. They are found in bushes, trees, on walls, in woods, and around houses, so therefore considered a highly adaptative species.

They are diurnal species often found basking on exposed areas like the branches and walls. They are able to climb vertical surfaces thanks to the anatomy of the deet formed by lamellae.

Young animals of both sexes and adult females may have a white stripe running across the back. They are often called false chameleons due to the ability to change color from green to brown and vice versa.

They are dimorphic with males larger than females; approximately 18cm from the tip of the nose to the end of the trunk or snout-vent-length (SVL) and males are generally 15% larger than females. Those kept in captivity are generally slightly smaller than their wild counterparts often due to poor diet and husbandry. Males have a double dewlap that is presented to females and rivals. Some males also have a dorsal ridge that starts just behind the head. Males have more pronounced femoral pores located the tail below the vent. Their mating system is called female-defense polygyny where they will patrol females territories to keep other males away.

A wild diet consists of insects, worms, spiders, crickets, cockroaches, butterflies, etc, ie, any arthropod that fits into their mouths. In captivity must we offer them food that does not exceed 2/3 the width of the head as a general rule.

CAPTIVE HUSBANDRY

TERRARIUM

They may be kept individually or in groups, with males kept individually or with two or more females. We may keep one male with three females in a terrarium of approximately 100x30x50 remembering that these small lizards are very inquisitive and active. An arboreal setup is certainly a good idea which means a taller rather than longer vivarium. Retailers now provide decent setups with a mesh top and the possibility to connect a hood up which provides heat and light from outside the vivarium preventing burns.

A substrate of peat or bark or a combination of both may be used to imitate a forest ground and ideally, just like with chameleons, we should avoid sand. Plants are a must for these small climbers and examples may include ivy, vines, orchids or coverts.

Autotomy may ocurr when stressed or handled.

LIGHTING

Full spectrum (including the UVB range) is a necessity with a photoperiod of 12-14h. See more in our lighting article.

TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY

The thermal gradient should be between 24-27°C during the day and drop to 18-23°C at night. A basking spot , which may be above branches, should be provided with highs around 29.5-32.5°C. Before the breeding season (spring-summer) they typically experience a few weeks of cooler temperatures where these are reduced to 19-21ºC during the day and 15.5°C at night.

Relative humidity (RH) should be between 60-70%, damp but not wet rainforest conditions.

In the wild these animals drink droplets from leaves and although we cannot assume that these lizards will learn to drink from a bowl, they generally do with no struggle at all. Ideally a drip system may be connected which may be an automated rain system.

FOOD SUPPLEMENTS AND WATER

Diet in captivity usually is based on crickets and mealworms but other insects may be offered on a daily basis. Frequency of feeding should be daily and leaving ad-libitum due to their high metabolism. Care should be taken by leaving live prey in the vivarium as some insects may inflict wounds to these lizards.

It is our duty to "gut- load" insects before offering them as this will increase nutritional value. This may take place 24-48h prior to offering the prey items and these may be fed tropical fish flakes, vegetables, fruit, calcium and vitamins. Dehydration is the leading cause of cannibalism among insects .

REPRODUCTION

This period occurs mainly during the spring-summer and after a cooling period and will last 4-5 months. For several weeks they are kept below habitual temperatures between 18.5-21 º C to 15.5 º C day and night. Photoperiod may also be increased during this time from 8h to 12-14h daily.

They must be provided with plenty of food, be healthy and receiving UV light, vitamins and calcium. The weak or thin anoles body condition should not be cooled down.

Males will display their dewlaps and show interest in females which may run away, indicating they are not ready for mating. Mating usually occurs in the afternoon.

Within a couple of weeks the female will show a bulging of the coelom. A warm humid area is sourced and 1-2 eggs are laid. This may be repeated every 2 weeks and will be made up to a total of aproximately 10 eggs per breeding season. Eggs may be left in place of may be transferred in to an incubator.

Eggs may be incubated with a 1:1 water:vermiculite ratio and incubated at 27.5-29.5°C have an incubation period of 35-40 days. A thermometer and hygrometer should be used for monitoring. We will have to check the substrate weekly to ensure that moisture is maintained.

Newborns are approximately 3cm SVL, are very voracious and may be offered micro-crickets or drosophila that have been previously gut-loaded.