Green anoles may not be as popular as other lizard species, but they can still be unique and exciting once you find out more about them.
So, that’s exactly what we will be doing today: assess the 10 most interesting facts about green anoles that you may not be aware of.
Let’s get it going!
1. Green Anoles are Native to the Southern United States
Not many people realize that green anoles are spread throughout the Northern US and that they have adapted to the humans’ presence better than expected.
It’s not uncommon for green and brown anoles to show in people’s backyards as they have adapted to a more urban lifestyle over the years.
This species has also been introduced to Hawaii and has spread to other surrounding areas with time, despite them dealing with natural predators and human-guided environmental destruction.
So, if you live anywhere in the Southwestern US states like Virginia, Florida Keys, Oklahoma, or Central Texas, you can actually encounter wild green anoles.
I don’t recommend catching them, though, because they’re unlikely to make for good pets.
Wild anoles are most often infected with parasites and bacteria and are not accustomed to a captive lifestyle. This can lead them to become stressed when caught and placed in a closed ecosystem.
You should always get your green anoles from specialized shops and expert breeders instead.
2. Green Anoles are Capable of Changing Color
This might come as a surprise from a species known as the green anole. The lizard is predominantly green with little-to-no color and pattern variation.
However, this species can change color under certain circumstances. The green anole can take on an intense brown coloring, although the reasons are not entirely clear.
The most plausible explanation is that green anoles change color when stressed or frightened, but this isn’t always the case.
They also can’t change color at will, similar to how chameleons do it. Rather, color change is a mere instinctive biological response to specific environmental triggers.
So, don’t expect your anole to change color too often.
Also, don’t confuse your green anole for the brown species. Brown anoles are related but not the same as green anoles.
3. Green Anoles are Mostly Carnivorous
You may know green anoles as insectivorous/carnivorous reptiles, but did you know that they also consume some grains and seeds in the wild?
These aren’t part of the lizard’s regular diet, so you shouldn’t feed your anoles any grains. Your lizard will do just fine with the standard insect meal plan.
More importantly, green anoles cannot thrive on plain insects alone. They can survive, that’s plainly obvious, but they cannot thrive in the true sense of the word.
That’s because these reptiles are prone to calcium deficiency, so they require supplementation to avoid nutritional deficiencies.
Most anole keepers gut load the insects and supplement their lizards’ diets with calcium and D3 to prevent such issues.
A good UVB light source is also necessary to promote healthy D3 synthesis for proper calcium absorption.
4. Green Anoles are Good Climbers
Green anoles reside in a varied ecosystem with plenty of threats and escape routes. So, they have adapted to their lush habitat, using a variety of tools to avoid danger.
One of them is their climbing prowess, allowing the lizard to use different vantage points to avoid predators and identify potential prey.
Their tank layout should replicate these natural conditions to cater to the lizard’s natural movement and exploration behavior.
5. Green Anoles are Social Creatures
This may surprise people who are only familiar with solitary species like crested and leopard geckos. Green anoles diverge from the standard in this sense because they show quite a well-developed social sense.
They can still live as solitary animals with no issue whatsoever, but they can also adapt to a group-based lifestyle.
Many anole lovers have duos, trios, or groups consisting of one male and several females or females-only. Keeping more than one anole male per group is not advisable due to the high risk of violence and territorial aggression.
And if you think that’s bad, you should wait for the breeding season when the males’ aggression can turn deadly fast.
Even so, green anoles are more difficult to manage in groups which is to be expected. They can become competitive in situations of insufficient space or food and can exhibit hierarchical tensions.
Also, bacterial or parasitic health issues can transmit between the different members of the group, making the treatment more difficult and demanding.
That being said, having a group of green anoles is considerably more rewarding than caring for a solo reptile. Just make sure that your lizards have sufficient space and food to avoid tension.
6. Green Anoles are Poikilothermic
Type poikilothermic in Google, and you’ll go down a rabbit hole that I’ll doubt you can get out of any time soon.
The notion of poikilothermic sounds simple enough until you realize that there are several other concepts like endothermic, ectothermic, and homeothermic.
So, allow me to explain.
There are 2 types of animals on Earth:
- Endotherms – They can regulate their own body temperature via specific internal processes like sweating and breathing. They may depend on their environment in a small measure, but they can self-regulate their internal temperature for the most part. Birds and mammals fall into this category, including humans.
- Ectotherms – They cannot regulate their internal temperature via biological processes only. Instead, they heavily rely on their environment to regulate their temperature for them. Here we have amphibians, some fish, reptiles, and various invertebrates like the sloth.
Ectothermic animals also fall into one of the following 2 categories:
- Homeothermic – They have the ability to regulate their core temperature, but only mildly. So, they still rely on their environment to do the rest.
- Poikilothermic – The animal has no way of regulating its internal temperature, so it relies solely on the environment for that. We call these animals cold-blooded, and this is where green anoles fall.
This is a generalized view of these constructs because you have a lot of variation to consider. For instance, some homeotherms are endotherms. Then you have the notion of gigantothermy, which applied to massive creatures like dinosaurs and giant turtles, which I won’t even get into.
In short, green anoles depend on their environment to maintain a healthy internal temperature, more so than other reptiles.
So, you should set up a vast temperature gradient with temperatures ranging between 65 and 90 F throughout the enclosure.
7. Green Anoles are Oviparous
Green anoles are oviparous, which means that they reproduce via egg-laying. The female will lay the eggs in the substrate, from which point the eggs will take up to 6 weeks to hatch.
The incubation period varies based on environmental temperature and humidity. The ideal temperature is close to 80 F, which will shorten the incubation period considerably.
8. Green Anoles are Prone to Stress and Illness
While most reptiles are prone to stress and illness, this is especially true with green anoles.
This is because they are generally more feral in nature and haven’t adapted to life in captivity as well. This renders green anoles shier and more vulnerable to stress in particular.
These lizards can get stressed due to a new home, layout changes, improper diet, frequent handling, loud noises, mild digestive problems, more aggressive tankmates, etc.
Everything can stress your green anole under the right circumstances, which can become a problem if you don’t identify and remove the triggers.
Prolonged stress can impact your lizard’s immune system, rendering it vulnerable to parasites, diseases, and potentially deadly infections.
Frequent interactions with your green anole are especially to blame, given that this species isn’t fond of petting. Only handle and pet your lizard if it appears comfortable and acceptant.
If you notice signs of aggression or the anole begins to squirm to escape your grip, place it back into its habitat to prevent further stress.
9. Green Anoles Live Longer in Captivity
This is due to the improved security, stable and nutritious diet, and lack of predation and parasites.
Naturally, a lot of things can go wrong since not all people provide their lizards with equal care. But, overall, captive-bred anoles live longer and happier lives than they do in the wild.
A wild green anole may live between 2 and 5 years, while a captive one lives between 4 and 8 years.
If you want to prolong your anole’s life, consider embracing a good care and maintenance routine with regular enclosure cleaning, an optimized diet, and stable environmental parameters.
10. Green Anoles are Threatened in the Wild
This should come as no surprise. Green anoles’ habitat is diminishing by the day, which is what forced the reptiles to cohabitate with humans in the first place. The lizard’s adaptability is impressive, but it’s not meant to last.
Green anoles face a variety of risks in the wild, including natural predation, habitat destruction, novel predators (various house pets), and environmental contaminants like pesticides and insecticides.
Efforts are underway to preserve the green anole population and allow the species to restore its ranks.
So, be grateful for your green anole and provide it with the best care and the sweetest life it can have.
In essence, green anoles are still semi-feral animals, more so than your typical geckos.
But there’s no denying that this is a cute, adaptable, and marketable species that make for a great pet, even for beginners.