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Green Anole

Anolis carolinensis

  • Family: Iguanidae
  • Adult Size: 6 to 11 inches total length
  • Range: Southeastern U.S.
  • Habitat: Prefer lush foliage, especially near water
  • Captive Lifespan: 2 to 5 Years
  • Dangerous:
  • Care Level: Beginner

Overview

This is the common “American chameleon” that’s not related to true chameleons at all. It can change color, but not with nearly the speed and range of the true chameleons from the Old World. In biology, green anoles are much more like miniature green iguanas except that they prey primarily on insects.

Virtually all green anoles in the pet trade are collected in the wild. This means that many come into captivity with already-established life routines. Green anoles may or may not adapt readily to cage life. Care must be used to make them happy to the best of one’s ability to compensate and aid them in adapting. Green anoles nervous nature makes it advisable not to attempt to handle them very often.

Give green anoles a cage such as a 20-gallon aquarium, or larger, with numerous brushy plants lining the back and sides of the cage. Leave an open area in the front center as a place that feeder insects can be dropped in clear view of hungry green anoles. Green anoles like to leap down on potential food and engulf it like a starving velociraptor attacking from concealment in foliage.

Provide a heat light over some of the highest plants so green anoles can bask directly below it. Water is best administered with a mist bottle. Wet the leaves so the drops of water can be lapped off. A small corner-set water bowl is also good to have present.

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