Everything You Need to Know About Anoles

Posted by Samantha Bubar

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With their sticky feet and busy personalities, anoles make better pets to watch than to handle.

Anoles, or anolis, are arboreal lizards, and like to climb walls, glass, branches- anything they can get those little feet on!

The green anole, or Carolina anole, is the only breed native to the United States and can be found in Tennessee, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, the Carolinas, and Texas; other types of anoles are native to Cuba, Jamaica, and other Caribbean Islands. The green anole is roughly nine inches in size. Other types of anoles range in size from 5 to 20 inches, and hatchlings are as tiny as 1.25 to 2 inches! In captivity, anoles have been known to live for three to six years with proper care.

Anoles have extensive habitat requirements as far as heating, lights, and humidity. They need a basking & UVB light, a heat gradient and a humidity level of 60- 70%. If you're looking to try your hand at bio active vivariums, anoles do well with live plants. While they have a smaller price tag than other reptiles, the equipment needed for a proper setup does not.

Anoles use their little tongue to lap water off of leaves, rather than drinking from a water dish. Misting their tank with a bottle or setting up a misting system is the best way to ensure they're getting the necessary hydration.

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These lizards are diurnal, meaning they are active during daytime hours. They are insectivores and eat only insects such as crickets, mealworms, waxworks, and roaches on a daily basis. Handling these lizards can be stressful for them, so it is best to keep the handling to a minimum and observe these reptilian companions from outside the confines of their enclosure.

Anoles change color with stress and surroundings, which is why they are known as the American chameleon. Male anoles use their throat fan, or dewlap, in mating displays during breeding season and when they feel threatened.

Other common names for the anole species include the American green anole, American anole, and red-throated anole. The anole is also sometimes referred to as the American chameleon. It has the ability to change color from several brown hues to bright green. It is not a true chameleon though and the nickname is misleading although it can camouflage.

These little lizards are also known as Anolis carolinensis.

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Anoles usually range from green to brown. However, the green anole turns brown in color when stressed.


When stressed or threatened, they can drop their tails, which is called caudal autotomy. The tail grows back, but looks different than their original tail. This is a defense mechanism that allows them to distract their predator with their tail, while they dart to safety.


They are able to scale walls because of their lamellae, the sticky folds on their feet.


Males have a pink flap of skin under their chin that is used in mating and territorial displays.

Do you have lizards? Tell us in the comments below!

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Everything You Need to Know About Anoles