Green anoles are known for their resilient and adaptable nature. They’re cute and quite hardy, which has allowed them to adapt to a variety of environments. They also have a diverse diet, consuming multiple types of insects; pretty much anything that moves or flies around them and can fit their mouths.
Your typical adult green anole requires one meal consisting of 3-4 different insects every other day. Some may need one meal per day, depending on the lizard’s age, size, and the food they’re having. But can green anoles go without food and water for extended periods?
In short, yes, they can. The reptiles have evolved slow digestive systems to cope with the difficulty of hunting and catching prey in the wild. So, they take time to digest their food. Some reptile species even eat once per week or are rarer than that.
This means that all reptiles, including your green anole, can survive without food, and even water, for quite some time. But how long is exactly ‘some time’? And which are the factors that can influence the reptile’s resilience?
Let’s check that out.
5 Factors: Anoles Survive Without Eating and Drinking
Green anoles can go quite a long time without eating and drinking, and there are 5 factors that contribute to that timespan. Let’s break them down one by one:
Baby and juvenile green anoles have different nutritional needs compared to adults. They have faster metabolic rates, which means they require more food more frequently. The typical baby green anole can eat 2 meals per day to support its large appetite and accelerated growth, while juveniles can go with one meal per day. Adults can eat once every 2 days.
This means that babies and juveniles cannot go too much without food. They’re still growing at a fast pace, so they need a stable eating routine to support their nutritional needs. Only adult green anoles, at least one year of age, can go without food for up to 30 days in extreme cases. Babies can, at best, last approximately 2-3 days before they experience health issues, while juveniles may go up to 3-4 days.
The situation is vastly different when it comes to water. Baby and juvenile green anoles can quickly dehydrate within only several hours without water, so don’t test their limits.
The larger and fatter the lizard is, the more it can last without food, thanks to the store reserves. An adult green anole can weigh up to 7-8 grams for males and 4-6 grams for females. Some lizards can get slimmer or fatter than that, depending on their lifestyle, dietary plan, activity level, and even genetics.
You should always measure your lizard occasionally to gauge its development and make sure it’s in good shape. Keep in mind that green anoles will lose weight at times, depending on their current activity. They will lose fat during shedding because they refrain from eating for a couple of days before the shedding begins and during it.
They also fast during the mating season and can reject food when sick or stressed. So, you should always assess your lizard’s condition and circumstances if it appears to lose weight inexplicably. Also, keep track of its eating behavior to make sure it has a healthy appetite. If your lizard doesn’t eat too well and is slightly underweight, don’t force it to fast.
This should be a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning either way. You should never fast a sick lizard because that will only accelerate its health issue. The nature of its condition doesn’t even matter. The green anole may be experiencing intestinal works, skin infections, respiratory infections, injuries, whatever it may be. So long as your reptile’s appetite is there, you should always feed it properly.
Even if the reptile refuses to eat on its own, which is often the case with sick specimens, you should feed it by hand to ensure proper nutrient intake. In short, your reptile needs personalized care and treatment, and part of that is having a good and nutritious diet on a steady schedule. If you need to leave home for several days and you have a sick green anole, consider the following:
- Leave instructions to a friend or a family member about caring for your gecko during your absence
- Hire a professional pet sitter and provide them with an equal set of instructions
- Take the lizard with you if that’s an option, and the anole can handle the stress of traveling
Also, make sure your lizard’s condition isn’t too severe before leaving. If it is, take it to the vet and make arrangements for someone to pick it up when the time is right.
The lizard’s environment also plays a major role in its overall comfort and peace of mind. A calm and happy anole can survive more without food simply because it doesn’t feel stressed or feels the need to hide or flee from aggressive tankmates. Your anole should live in a lush ecosystem with a variety of plants, hiding areas, and climbing spots to remain safe and comfy.
This way, the lizard will preserve its energy for longer without experiencing any health problems along the way. As a plus, you should always ensure that your anoles are in good relations with one another, in case you have several. You don’t want your anoles to become hostile toward each other if food is unavailable for a while.
Not all green anoles have the same degree of resilience, and you might find morphs that are hardier from a genetic perspective. Some specimens can handle nutrient deprivation easier than others. However, no matter the species we’re talking about, you should never ignore the previous points because these are universally applicable.
Also, if you’re constantly on the road, you might consider choosing your reptile more carefully. Not all reptiles have the same resilience score regarding fasting or forced fasting. For instance, green anoles can go without food between 2-4 weeks, but some specimens can even reach 8 weeks.
On the other hand, bearded dragons can only last 3 weeks, while leopard geckos can survive more than 4-5 weeks without food. Always choose the reptile species that meets your needs first and foremost.
As you see, we’ve discussed the anole’s resilience to food deprivation, but we haven’t mentioned water deprivation much, have we? That’s because it shouldn’t even be an option.
Green anoles cannot survive too long without water, probably not even past the 24-hour mark. They should have a constant water source in their enclosure, so you need to make preparations for that in case you’re leaving home
Use an automatic misting system or have someone replenish your reptile’s water source and spray its habitat regularly. But, if you have that, you might as well instruct the person to feed the reptile as well. What I’m saying is that you have options. Use them wisely!