Green anoles are awesome and adaptable reptiles that are a bit different than your regular geckos. By comparison, green anoles rank as more feral, which means they aren’t as fond of handling and petting.
However, they can make for great pets even for beginners, given that they don’t need too much care and maintenance.
Today, we will discuss how big these lizards can get and how you can increase their size and growth rate over time.
So, let’s get to it.
Physical Characteristics of Green Anoles
Green anoles don’t show much physical variation in size, color, or pattern. The standard green anole is green with a white belly. Males have a dewlap (a skin fold located under the chin) which they can expand to showcase the vibrant red.
This dewlap has 2 roles: attract the attention of females during the mating season and warn other males of trespassing.
Females lack the dewlap, but not all. Some have it, except it’s usually a lot smaller.
The reptile has a slim and athletic body with long legs and a sharp snout at the end of a narrow head. The eyes are mobile and large but not oversized, as is the case in most gecko species.
In short, green anoles are simple but pleasant to look at, especially when you pair that with their more energetic temperament. They love to climb and explore their environment whenever possible.
Average Size of Green Anoles
Green anoles vary in size depending on their age, diet, and even the specimen itself.
In this sense, you have:
- Baby anoles – The typical hatchling can reach 2 inches, although most remain smaller.
- Juveniles – Juveniles will grow between 3 and 4 inches, but their accelerated growth rate allows them to reach more impressive proportions fast.
- Adults – An average adult anole can grow up to 5-6 inches. The maximum size is 8, depending on the environmental conditions, available food, and several other factors.
Genetics also plays a critical role in the lizard’s growth rate and size. So, if your green anole doesn’t grow past a certain point, despite the top quality of care, this may be why.
Growth Rate of Green Anoles
Green anoles have a very fast growth rate compared to other reptile species. This species can go from hatchling to full adult size within the first 6-8 months of life.
Which is fairly impressive, given that green anoles can live up to 8 or more years in captivity.
By comparison, crested geckos will achieve their full growth within 1.5 years, and the same goes for many other species. Some even take longer than that. This is one of the reasons why green anoles are so beloved in the reptile trade.
Factors that Affect the Size of Green Anoles
We have several relevant factors to consider here, such as:
We’ve already mentioned this one, but it’s worth noting again. All animals have inherited characteristics, so they’re not all identical.
Some grow larger than others, others grow faster and showcase different colors and varying physical characteristics, and some have different temperaments. This means that your green anole will only grow to a point.
What that point is, depends on its genetic makeup. So, if your green anole won’t grow past 5 inches, although, theoretically, it should be able to reach 8, it may not be your fault.
However, as we will soon see, you can influence your anole’s growth rate and size to a point.
Diet and Feeding
Green anoles are exclusively insectivorous reptiles, although they also occasionally consume some wild seeds. They don’t need them, though, so long as they have a varied and nutritious diet consisting of several types of insects.
Crickets are the main course, but anoles eat plenty of other species, like flies, beetles, many types of worms, etc.
The anole’s dietary plan will considerably influence its growth rate and maximum size. If you plan on providing your green anole with an optimized meal plan and feeding routine, consider the following:
- Always aim for food diversity – Relying on 2-3 insect species is not enough. Your green anoles require a dietary variation to remain healthy and grow properly. Make sure you vary the lizard’s diet weekly to ensure optimal nutrient intake and mimic the lizard’s natural feeding pattern.
- Keep worms to a minimum – While green anoles will happily consume a variety of worms, they shouldn’t eat them regularly. These contain too much fat and not enough nutrients, and anoles need the right amount of nutrients.
- Supplementation – Green anoles require proper vitamin and mineral supplementation to reach their full potential in terms of lifespan and size. Sure, they can live without, as they do in the wild, but green anoles live longer and better lives in captivity for a reason. You should consider vitamin D3 and calcium supplementation to prevent deficiencies and boost the lizard’s growth rate.
- Avoid overfeeding – Green anoles eat more often than your typical geckos. They require one meal per day, consisting of 2-5 insects, depending on the insects’ size and nutritional value. Make sure you don’t overfeed your anoles, which is considerably easy to do, given the reptile’s appetite. Overfeeding is responsible for digestive and overweight problems, which can trigger an array of additional health issues over time.
- Ensure proper UVB lighting – UVB lighting is essential for the lizard’s optimal nutrient intake. Without that, your anole cannot synthesize vitamin D3, which is vital for adequate calcium absorption. Green anoles require 8-10 hours of light per day for proper growth and good quality of life.
- Prioritize live food – You can feed your anole dead insects too, but it requires more effort on your part. That’s because green anoles are visual hunters. They only attack moving prey, which means they won’t notice dead or immobile insects. Feeding them live food also keeps them in shape physically and mentally.
I rank the lizard’s diet as one of the primary growth boosts. Your goal should be to keep your anole well-fed and safe from nutritional deficiencies, which green anoles are particularly sensitive to.
Speak to more experienced anole professionals to make sure you’re on the right track.
Housing and Environment
Green anoles demand specific living conditions in terms of environmental parameters and overall setup.
So, let’s break these down:
Aim for a temperature gradient of 75-90 °F during the day. The temperature should vary across the tank so that 75 F is the coldest area while 90 F is the hottest. The latter is the basking spot where anoles go to refill their batteries. The higher temperature aids in digestion and helps the lizard regulates its physiology.
Nighttime temperatures should drop as low as 65-70 °F, which is just as important for proper metabolic functioning.
Humidity should remain between 60 and 70% at all times. The exception is when shedding and during egg incubation. Humidity levels should be higher in both of these cases, preferably closer to 80%.
Humidity is critical not only for general comfort but for hydration purposes as well. That’s because green anoles cannot and will not drink water from a water bowl, unlike many gecko species.
Instead, they get their water from the plants around them. So, you should always spray their habitat several times daily to ensure they have sufficient drinking water.
Green anoles demand at least 10 gallons per specimen and plenty of climbing and hiding areas. These are ambush predators, so they require a proper setting to set up their ambush locations.
Such a setting is necessary even if the lizard has nothing to ambush; it’s just to satisfy the reptile’s natural tendencies, which will lead to improved comfort and higher quality of life.
Also, live plants. These are necessary for a more natural-looking environment and to provide the lizard with adequate hydration.
Green anoles are rather sensitive to infections, parasites, and bacteria. Most of their health problems stem from improper husbandry, lacking diets, injuries relating to aggressive tankmates, and even genetic predispositions.
The goal is to prevent these issues as much as possible and detect them in time.
The earlier the treatment, the higher the chances of a full and swift recovery with minimal damages along the way. A healthy green anole will always grow faster and bigger than a sickly one.
As general rules:
- Always monitor your anole’s parameters to prevent dangerous fluctuations
- Have a good cleaning system in place (daily, weekly, monthly)
- Adjust and monitor your reptile’s diet to prevent calcium deficiency and optimize nutrient intake
These approaches alone can increase your lizard’s quality of life considerably.
This is a more sensitive topic because green anoles are more easily stressed than other captive-bred reptiles.
That’s because they are generally more feral, so they haven’t adapted to life in captivity to the extent that other species have.
Green anoles can experience stress for a variety of reasons, such as:
- Being moved to a new home in an ecosystem that they’re not familiar with
- Being handled or petted too much or too often
- Experiencing too few meals causes them to starve and become stressed and aggressive
- Aggressive tankmates lead to tensions and constant bullying and fighting
- Fluctuating parameters, causing frequent swings in temperature or humidity
- Not enough drinking water, leading to dehydration or simply general discomfort
- Parasitic and bacterial infections going on for too long
- Improper layout with insufficient space, hiding areas, or climbing spots
- Changing the layout frequently, causing the reptile to feel unsafe and uncomfortable, etc.
Even loud noises or lights near their tank can rattle and scare the green anole. I advise writing down all of the potential stress triggers and preventing or handling them swiftly at the first sign of trouble.
The calmer and happier your green anole is, the longer it will live and the larger it will grow.
Comparison of Green Anoles to Other Lizard Species
Green anoles fare decently when compared to other popular reptile species. For instance, crested geckos can reach 10 inches in optimal conditions, although most specimens will remain around 7-9 inches.
Leopard geckos can even get to 11 inches for males, while females only get up to 8 inches for the most part.
Bearded dragons really up the stakes by being able to grow up to 24 inches, tail included.
Many specimens can only grow half that, although that’s generally due to a restrictive genetic makeup.
Green anoles are very adaptable reptiles that can live up to 8-10 years and reach 8 inches in optimal conditions.
As today’s article has shown, it’s your duty to optimize your pet’s potential and help it live its best life over the years.