There’s a reason why green anole lizards are some of the most popular reptiles in the pet trade. They are easy to care for and feed, don’t need intensive maintenance, and aren’t particularly sickly. However, these lizards have a different diet than your typical omnivorous gecko species.
So, let’s discuss the diet of green anoles in more detail!
Green Anole Lizard Diet
The green anole is an insectivorous reptile. It only feeds on insects and consumes a variety of them. To put it simply, this lizard eats whatever moves or flies near it, including butterflies, flies, crickets, a variety of roaches, beetles, ants, spiders, etc. Captive-bred anoles have similar dietary requirements and need different insects to meet their nutritional needs.
They also eat a variety of worms, but they should only have them sparingly. For instance, mealworms and waxworms are very poor in nutrients and contain too much fat for your reptile’s needs. You should either feed them to the anole sparingly or not at all.
Feeding Pet Green Anole
The feeding process is as easy as it gets. You simply choose the feeder insects of choice and throw them in your lizard’s enclosure. The anole’s hunting instincts will activate immediately, forcing the reptile to give chase and kill the prey immediately. Make sure that the lizard is hungry before doing so; otherwise, it will ignore the insects.
You will learn your anole’s feeding behavior with time, but, as a general rule, adult green anoles have one meal every 2 days. You can even feed the anole by hand during its first several days to a week after bringing it home.
The reptile may be too stressed during this time to feed on its own. Hand-feeding the anole will also strengthen your bond, allowing your pet to grow more comfortable with your presence.
Feeding Baby Green Anoles
Baby anoles have similar dietary requirements. The only difference is that they eat more often than the adults and demand smaller insects. You should feed your baby anole 2 times per day and decrease the feeding frequency as they grow. Make sure you don’t overfeed them because baby lizards are notorious for their exaggerated appetites.
Every meal should consist of 2-3 insects. If your baby anole still appears hungry, throw in another insect. You can tell that your reptile is almost full when its feeding excitement goes down.
Green Anole Feeding Problems
Although this lizard is fairly easy to feed, there are some problems you should consider along the way. These include:
- Improper hydration – If green anoles don’t have sufficient water and air humidity, they become prone to constipation and compaction. That’s because of the lack of moisture, leading to the fecal matter drying out and clogging the intestine. If that’s not enough of a reason for concern, dehydration should be. Severe dehydration can lead to infections and organ failure, which often turn deadly.
- Improper meal size – Many people either feed their green anoles too little or too much. Both of these scenarios come with their own downfalls. In one case, the reptile may starve or, at best, experience nutritional deficiencies. In the other, the anole will be overfed, which leads to excessive weight gain, compaction, and regurgitation. Neither of these is an ideal scenario, as you can imagine.
- Improper food size – The size of the insects makes a critical difference, especially for baby anoles. The insect shouldn’t be larger than the distance between the anole’s eyes. If the prey is too large, the lizard can choke on it. In that case, it’s one of the 2. Either the reptile dies via asphyxiation or experiences compaction due to the insect getting stuck in the digestive tract. One situation is worse than the other, but neither is good.
- Insufficient nutritional value – Always make sure you understand your green anole’s nutritional needs. Many reptiles require prey rich in calcium and vitamin D3 for proper absorption. If not, they can become prone to calcium deficiency and Metabolic Bone Disease. MBD is deadly in advanced stages and it has no cure at that point. To circumvent this issue, gut load your feeder insects before feeding them to your green anole. Having an insect feeder tank in place will help with that tremendously.
- Lack of adequate UVB lighting – This may sound out of place, but it’s actually incredibly relevant. UVB lighting is essential not only for heating but proper D3 synthesis as well. Without a proper and constant dose of UVB, your green anole won’t be able to extract and break down calcium from its food. And we all know what that leads to.
- Feeding dead insects – This is a critical problem caused by people familiarized with other lizard species, but not this one. While crested geckos, leopard geckos, and other reptile pets consume both dead and live insects, green anoles only eat live ones. That’s not due to their preferences but rather their biological setup. In other words, green anoles hunt based on sight. They can only detect insects that move and have difficulties spotting motionless prey. So, the insects need to move for the reptile to feed on them. The alternative is to feed your green anoles by hand, moving the dead insect yourself. But not everybody has time for that.
You can learn how to prevent these issues with time. Until then, learn as much as possible about green anoles and their eating habits and nutritional requirements to help you make better decisions.
Do Green Anoles Eat Fruits?
No, they don’t. Green anoles are insectivorous arboreal reptiles and only consume insects. Don’t try to feed your green anoles fruits because they won’t be able to extract the necessary nutrients from them. That is if they eat them, which they most likely won’t.
How Long Can Green Anoles Go Without Food?
A healthy, fully-grown green anole can go 1-4 weeks without food. Reports exist of lizards withstanding a 60-day fasting period, but these are extreme cases that you shouldn’t even bother with. The general idea is that green anoles are highly adaptable and can fast for weeks if food is simply not available.
But you shouldn’t test your lizard’s limits in this sense. You run the risk of having your anole experience health problems like nutrient deficiencies because of it. If you need to leave home for a while and leave your anole at home, I’ve already written an article on how to prepare for that. Check it out, and thank me later!
Green anoles are adaptable animals with a specialized diet that even a novice reptile keeper can manage. You only need basic knowledge about your anole’s dietary needs and preferences, and you can go from there. Today’s article has provided you with the rest.