Sunday, 23 August 2009

Discovering Pet Lizards: The Green Anole

The Green Anole has the ability to change color according to it’s mood and because of this it is often referred
to as the ‘American Chameleon’, although the green anole is not a true chameleon. Being in tune with your green anole’s changing hues, and so it’s moods, is an essential part of it’s care. The anoles feet are ‘sticky’, allowing him to cling to leaves, climb glass walls and generally leap around like a mini acrobat.

Origins of The Green Anole
The Green Anole originates in South Eastern parts of North America, ie: Florida, North & South Carolina and Georgia and can also be found in parts of Texas and in Hawaii, where it has been relatively recently introduced.

Habitat
The Green Anole is an excellent choice for the herp beginner, as it’s habitat requirements are less demanding than other pet lizards.

A glass aquarium, of about 10 gallons, can comfortably house two to four green anoles. It should be noted here that the male of the species can be quite aggressive / territorial and will fight with other males, females will live together quite happily. Line the floor of your terrarium with bark chips, alfalfa pellets or newspaper. The latter being easier to clean out, but the former make for a more interesting habitat for your anole. A fine mesh screen should cover the top, to allow heat from an incandescent spot light (about 75 to 100 watts is usually enough to raise the temperature to around 80ยบ). Three or four hours sunlight a week should be sufficient exposure to ultraviolet light, providing the light isn’t filtered through glass.

A water bowl should be provided, though the green anole won’t drink from it, he should have the opportunity to give himself a good soaking. Plants are an absolute necessity, as this is where your lizard will lick drops of water, provided by misting and a basking branch should be provided under the heat source.

Diet
The Green Anoles’ diet is made up mostly of small insects, such as crickets. Your anole should be fed a couple of crickets every two or three days. Avoid over-feeding as uneaten insects will become dehydrated and of little nutritional value to your anole and he may be too full when fresh insects are introduced.

Behaviour
As previously mentioned, green anole males are territorial creatures and have even been known to fight with their own reflection! They are lively and entertaining individuals and when healthy, take a great deal of interest in their surroundings.

Health and happiness manifest as a vibrant green color in your anole.

When stressed, nervous or unwell the anole’s color will change from green to brown. There are many shades of brown and the deeper the brown, the more stressed your pet is becoming.

Around 1 in 20,000 green anoles, in the wild, are born with a rare condition where some of the ‘layers’ of pigmentation are missing. This results in a baby blue colored anole, which are now becoming quite sought after on the open market..