Do Anoles eat fruit?

Do Anoles eat fruit?

Do Anoles eat fruit? Green and Brown Anoles definitely do occasionally eat fruit and vegetable matter, but they are mainly insectivorous…

Last updated on February 1st, 2023 at 09:24 am

Green and Brown Anoles are common lizards in the pet trade, especially in the US. They are almost entirely insectivorous, preferring live prey that moves a lot and catches their attention. Nonetheless, they will occasionally eat sweet fruit and nectar, and sometimes even vegetable matter. This is probably to supplement their diets with extra nutrients.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the Anole diet, and what fruits you can try to feed them. But before getting into it, lets remind ourselves that they are primarily insectivorous – if they never eat fruit for you that is totally fine!

*Note: This article is for information on Green Anoles (Anolis carolinensis) and Brown Anoles (Anolis sagrei). Other species may have different dietary requirements.

Do anoles eat fruit and vegetables?

It is true that some Cuban Anole species eat fruit on a regular basis. Green and Brown Anoles also eat fruit and vegetables, but not as a major part of their diet. I wouldn’t say that they are truly omnivorous.

What they do is occasionally lap up nectar, or mashed up fruit as kind of a treat. Green Anoles especially are partial to sweet stuff. Both Green and Brown Anoles also occasionally eat plant matter like spinach, lettuce, or celery.

There are probably two main reasons that they do this, despite not being true omnivores.

First is that sweet or salty stuff tastes nice. Intelligent, inquisitive animals like these little lizards like to try various foods and probably get a kick out of different flavors. Celery, for example, actually has a lot of iodine so tastes quite salty to some animals.

Second, adding the occasionally fruit or veg into a mainly insectivorous diet is a great way of adding in some additional nutrients and vitamins.

do anoles eat fruit?
Male Brown Anole displaying its dewlap to ward off rivals

Can Brown Anoles eat lettuce?

Brown Anoles certainly can eat lettuce, but not on a regular basis. In fact, your Brown Anole may not eat it at all.

There are lots of people who tell me that their Brown Anoles eat lettuce on a regular basis, but when I kept them, they never ate any! In fact, I’ve had Green and Brown Anoles that completely refused all vegetable matter throughout their lives.

The reason why some eat it and others don’t is unclear. It could be a question of taste, or it could be simply that I always gave mine vitamin and mineral supplements.

If they have all the nutrients they need, these lizards might just stick to what they really enjoy eating, which is live bugs. By all means – offer you Anoles

do anoles eat fruit?
Close up of a very brightly colored Brown Anole

Can anoles eat bananas?

Green Anoles in particular are fond of bananas, and both species can eat them. There’s two conditions to this though:

  1. Banana should be mashed. If you don’t mash it for them, most Anoles will just lick it rather than actually eat any of it.
  2. It should only be given occasionally. Banana has some incredibly useful vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, magnesium and B6. It also has a shedload of sugar, though – not something an insectivorous lizard should be getting too much of.
Do Anoles eat fruit?
Green Anole eating a bug on top of a Mexican Sunflower

Can anoles eat apples?

Just like bananas, apples also contain a lot of sugar. They’re also really hard for a little lizard to eat if given in chunks.

If you want to offer apple as an occasionally treat, it should be in the form of a puree, like baby food. Green Anoles especially are likely to have a taste of apple as a treat every once in a while.

When pureeing apple for your lizard, make sure every bit of the peel has been removed first. Not only is the skin a bit tough to puree, it may also have harmful chemicals such as insecticides on it.

do anoles eat fruit?
Brown Anole Lizard (Anolis sagrei) out sunbathing. UV light is important to both species

How long can anoles go without eating?

In the wild, Anoles may go weeks or months without eating during the cooler months. Their metabolism slows down, and they conserve fat and energy by becoming very lethargic and hiding until the weather improves.

There’s a big difference between how long Anoles can go without eating and how long they should go without eating in captivity, though.

I say this because in captivity many of us don’t give our Anoles a cool period. We keep them warm all year round, and they stay very active. In this situation, they need to be fed on a regular basis so long as they aren’t refusing food. Otherwise, they will literally starve.

In theory, adult Anoles could go a couple of months before dying from starvation. In captivity this obviously shouldn’t be an issue.

To keep your Anole healthy, offer it a few food items (say, two to three roaches) every day or every other day. The prey should be just a little smaller than your lizards head.

Because they are active and fairly short-lived, Anoles aren’t particularly high risk for obesity. This means you can feed them more often than Gila Monsters or even Leopard Geckos, for example, without worrying about them getting overweight.

do anoles eat fruit?
A beautiful Brown Anole perched on a rock. Brown Anoles are more terrestrial than their green cousins

What do anoles eat?

Anoles are insectivorous lizards. They enjoy a wide variety of arthropod prey, and their main criteria seems to be that they it wiggles a lot and they can fit it in their mouth. There are also reliable records of them eating the young of other lizards.

In the wild, Anoles typically eat:

In captivity, they a slightly reduced diet, but will take a variety of commonly available feeder insects, including:

  • Crickets
  • Mealworms
  • Waxworms
  • Hornworms
  • Dubia roaches
  • Young locusts
  • Banana, apple puree (if they’ll eat them)
  • Lettuce, celery, leafy greens (if they’ll eat them)
Do Anoles eat fruit?
Male Green Anole displaying its dewlap

What can brown anoles eat?

Brown Anoles can eat all the same foods as Green Anoles, from insects to other lizards. They’ve even been observed eating their own detached tails!

The main thing to remember is to always provide UV lighting and to dust their food with a vitamin and mineral supplement once a week.

Without UV light and vitamin supplementation these lizards will get sick – whatever you feed them.

One thing you may notice with Brown Anoles is that they are often more aggressive than the Green species. They’ll try to tackle prey that looks tasty, no matter how big it is.

That said, the appropriate size for their prey is just a little smaller than their head. Don’t be tempted to feed them prey that is too large.

do anoles eat fruit?
Closeup of a Brown Anole

Do Anoles eat fruit? The bottom line

Anoles can and do eat fruit and vegetables, occasionally. Nonetheless, plant matter usually doesn’t make up more than 5% of their diet.

What they really like is bugs. Fast-moving arthropods like roaches, crickets, spiders and moths are among their favorites.

When Anoles eat fruit or leafy greens, what they’re really trying to do is add a little nutrient-rich variety into their diets.

So, you might find that your pet Anole isn’t that interested in anything other than feeder insects. That is totally fine, so long as you are dusting those insects with a high quality vitamin supplement once a week that is made specifically for reptiles.

My advice is to always try offering fruit and veg once a week or so, but don’t worry if your Anole doesn’t always eat it.

Do Anoles eat fruit?
Green Anole munching on a fly

FAQ related to whether Anoles eat fruit

What do anoles like to eat?

Anoles love to eat bugs: the more active, the better. As sight predators, Anoles react to prey moving around. So, they particularly like bugs that crawl around constantly without stopping. Examples include Dubia Roaches, crickets, ants and spiders.

Do anole lizards eat berries?

Green Anoles and several other species have been observed eating berries. It would seem that the bright color of berries and their sweet taste makes them an attractive treat. In captivity, you can offer berries, but I suggest only offering species which you are certain are non-toxic. If they’re safe for humans, they should be safe for your Anole too. Again, not all Anoles will eat fruit and berries, so don’t worry if your one isn’t interested.

Can anoles eat vegetables?

Anoles can eat vegetables. Some vegetables are high in minerals such as calcium, iron and iodine which makes them a useful dietary supplement for lizards. In general, Anoles do prefer bugs though. You may find that when fed insects and appropriate vitamin and mineral supplementation, your Anole doesn’t eat vegetables very often (or at all, for that matter).

What is a green anoles favorite food?

Green Anoles are insectivores, so their favorite food is any arthropod that catches their attention. They prey on spiders, isopods, grasshoppers, moths beetles, grubs, roaches and even maggots. In captivity, they do well on crickets, Dubia roaches and hornworms. You can also offer mealworms and waxworms.

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