How long do Anoles live in captivity?

How long do Anoles live in captivity?

How long Anoles live in captivity depends on the care you give them. With access to UVB and a healthy diet they can live at least 4 years…

Anoles are a group of some 400 different species of small lizards that are closely related to iguanas. On average, anoles can live for around 4 to 8 years in captivity when they are properly cared for. Heat, diet, humidity, enclosure size, and lighting are particularly important for your pet’s longevity.

How long do brown anoles live?

Brown anoles typically have a lifespan of about two years in the wild. However, they can live up to five years in captivity with proper care and living conditions.

Brown anoles breed in the summer and establish territories in the spring. Females lay one egg every 1-2 weeks during the breeding season. 

A moist, covered habitat is necessary for hatchling survival. The eggs hatch after four weeks and hatchlings become adults within a year.

How long do Anoles live in captivity?
A very bright Brown Anole (Anolis sagrei)

How long do anoles live as pets?

With proper care and living conditions, they can live up to four or five years as pets. In rare cases, these reptiles have been known to live even longer, reaching up to eight years.

This might not sound particularly long compared to some reptiles. I’ve had some of my snakes for over ten years, for example. Nonetheless, eight years is a great lifespan for such a small animal.

You also need to remember that Anoles are active, intelligent creatures that engage in fascinating behaviors. You might get as much excitement out of keeping an anoles for five years as you would from keeping a less active pet for ten years.

*Note: the ages I’m giving in this article are for Green, Brown and Bahaman Anoles, which are the most common in captivity. Some larger species do live longer, such as the Knight Anole that regularly reaches ten years of age.

Green anole lifespan

The average lifespan of green anoles in captivity is around four or five years. With the proper care, these pet reptiles can thrive for eight years, making them long-term companions. Very occasionally, there have been records of them even reaching ten, though it’s unusual.

Genetics and care quality are the two main factors that affect a green anole’s lifespan. To increase the chances of getting a genetically healthy pet, purchase it from a reputable vendor. 

When it comes to care, there are a few husbandry factors that influence lifespan. These include providing the correct:

  • Heat
  • Diet
  • Humidity
  • Lighting
  • Vitamin and mineral supplementation
  • Hygiene
  • Enclosure size (see Can Anoles live together? for more on this subject)
How long do Anoles live in captivity?

Do anoles make good pets?

Yes, anoles make good pets. They are low maintenance and require minimal space, making them ideal for beginners. Additionally, they have beautiful coloration and patterns that make them visually appealing.

All I would say is don’t underestimate how important it is to get their setup right. They need the correct UVB/UVA lighting, a good basking temperature, and high humidity; otherwise they’ll die within a year or less.

Do anoles need a heat lamp?

Anoles require a temperature range of 80-82 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit at night to maintain optimal health. Anole owners need to provide a heat source in the enclosure to maintain these temperatures. 

A heat lamp, such as a nocturnal (red) heat bulb, ceramic heat emitter, or standard heat light, can provide the necessary warmth. 

Additionally, provide a thermal gradient within the enclosure, including cooler areas for anoles to retreat to for thermoregulation. The area directly under the heat lamp (the basking spot) should be around 88-90F.

During regular daylight hours, it is important to give lizards UVB lighting, like special fluorescent bulbs made for reptiles. This helps the lizards make vitamin D3, which is essential for processing dietary calcium properly.

For more information on this, check out my article: Do Green Anoles need UVB?

How long do Anoles live in captivity?
A Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis), the most common species in the US, asides from in southern Florida where it is in great part replaced by the invasive Brown Anole

Do anoles get lonely?

Anoles are not known to experience loneliness. They get together to mate and reproduce, not because they enjoy each other’s company. In the wild, you often see one male with several females nearby, and that is his turf.

In general males get extremely territorial and eventually end up fighting if you house them together. You should never put two males in the same enclosure.

You can house Anoles together, but in groups of one male and two or more females. This is perfectly acceptable, and the best way to breed them.

Green anole diet captivity

In captivity, green anoles should primarily eat insects such as mealworms, crickets, waxworms, moths, and roaches. Ensure that the insect prey is no larger than the anole’s head to facilitate easy consumption.

Dust all prey items with a high-quality calcium/vitamin D3 supplement regularly. Growing animals can have it at every feeding, while mature specimens can have it a couple of times a week. 

A vitamin supplement specifically for reptiles is also recommended. Carefully read product labels before using. 

Anoles also consume non-living food items such as baby food, flower blossoms, and over-ripened fruit. 

To add variety to their diet in captivity, offer a teaspoon of fruit-flavored baby food puree per animal a few times a week. Recommended flavors include guava, banana, and papaya.

How long do Anoles live in captivity?

Do anoles like to be held?

Green anoles are visually appealing and interesting to observe. However, they do not tolerate human handling well. They are fast-moving and easily stressed animals that may drop their tails when they feel threatened. 

It’s best to appreciate anoles from a distance, similar to how you would with tropical fish. If handling is necessary, do so with care and try to hold the entire body of the anole.

Grasping the tail or leg will lead to a distressed and potentially tailless lizard.

What does a green anole eat?

Green anoles consume a variety of small invertebrates, such as crickets, mealworms, roaches, farm-raised larvae, and other insects. Avoid feeding superworms or king worms, as they have sharp jaws that may harm the anole (in my opinion). 

Green anoles can eat wild insects like grasshoppers and leafhoppers. But ensure they are free of harmful chemicals before feeding them to your pet.

How long do Anoles live in captivity?
Green Anole eating a bug on top of a sunflower

How cold is too cold for anoles?

Keep the temperature in their habitat between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Maintain the basking spot at 85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. 

It’s safe to decrease the temperature to 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Any lower than that and your pet might try to brumate, resulting in a refusal to eat.

Anole tank

Green Anoles should be kept in a tank that is placed somewhere at least five feet high. They can feel threatened when they are at a lower level than people or pets. They are used to living high in trees and prefer to be above potential dangers. 

To imitate the natural environment of the animals, incorporate elements such as vines, driftwood, and leafy plants in the tank. Design a bioactive terrarium with designated spots for basking and other areas for shade.

When designing the tank, make sure to provide basking places near the top, so that your lizards can get as close as they need to their UVB light. UVB bulbs only give out adequate UVB radiation to a certain distance. You can check this with the manufacturer.

How big do anoles get?

Males of the green anole species tend to be significantly larger and reach the peak of their size at approximately 8 inches in total length. Females are usually smaller and have a more slender build, typically measuring around 6 inches in full length.

There are other, larger species though. The Knight Anole (Anolis equestris) is the largest, heaviest anole so far recorded at over a foot long. Unfortunately, it still isn’t particularly common in the pet trade.

Where do Anoles live?
The Knight Anole (Anolis equestris) is one of the biggest anoles of all. That said, even they only live to 9 or 10 years old

Green anole temperature and humidity

Keep the temperature between 75-80°F, basking spot at 85-90°F. Decrease to 70-75°F at night.

Maintaining a high humidity level within the terrarium for green anoles is crucial. Spraying the enclosure thoroughly twice a day is usually enough to achieve this. This method also offers the lizards a source of drinking water. 

However, it is essential not to over-mist, as this can cause the substrate to become too wet. Instead, aim to create a dampness that simulates a brief rain shower.

How long do Anoles live in captivity?

FAQ relating to how long do anoles live in captivity

How do you befriend an anole?

Here are some steps to help you befriend an anole:

  • Spend time near the anole’s enclosure daily, so it becomes accustomed to your presence.
  • Offer the anole food using tweezers or a feeding stick.
  • Handle the anole gently and slowly, using one hand to support its body and the other gently holding its tail.
  • Never grab or squeeze the anole, as this can cause injury or stress.
  • Give the anole plenty of time to explore and get comfortable with you before attempting to handle it.
  • Provide a comfortable and safe enclosure for the anole with appropriate temperature, humidity, lighting, and plants for hiding and climbing.
  • Show patience and consistency in your interactions with the anole, and be prepared to spend a lot of time building trust.

What is anoles favorite food?

Anoles are primarily insectivorous, and their diet in the wild consists mainly of small insects such as:

  • Crickets
  • Caterpillars
  • Spiders
  • Snails
  • Flies
  • Beetles

Anoles occasionally eat fruit and vegetables, but it makes up a tiny percentage of their diet.

How long do Anoles live in captivity?
Brown Anole Lizard (Anolis sagrei) out sunbathing. UV light is important to all anole species

Do anoles like to be sprayed with water?

Anoles are known to drink water that is in droplet form on plant leaves. To ensure your lizards have access to enough water, you should use a spray bottle to mist the anoles and the plants in the terrarium daily. Additionally, it is crucial to monitor the humidity level within the terrarium to ensure it is appropriate for the anoles.

How do you tell if an anole is male or female?

Measure the length of the anole: Adult females typically measure around 5 inches, while adult males can grow up to 8 inches.

Look for a white line on the back of the anole: This line is usually on adult female anoles, but not all have it. Young anoles of both males and females may also have this line, but it goes away as they get older. To ensure the anole’s sex, you need to look at other things too.

Look at the neck area: Male anoles have a pink or red piece of skin that hangs down from their neck. They can make it more prominent when trying to attract a mate or fighting with other anoles. Some females also have this piece of skin, but it is usually lighter. So just because an anole has a big skin flap doesn’t always mean that it is a male.

Look at the bottom part of the tail: Male anoles have two big scales at the bottom of their tail. These are called postanal scales. Female anoles do not have these scales, so if you see them, you know it is a male.

Search for mean behavior: They often engage in conflicts, especially if a female anole is nearby. Male Anoles will display their dewlaps, open their mouths, move their heads up and down, and eventually jump at each other. If they are very angry, dark spots appear behind their eyes. They bite and fight until one of them surrenders.

Pay attention to how they act during mating season: Male anoles often attempt to grab the female by the back of the neck.

Key Takeaways

  • Anoles can live 4-8 years in captivity with proper care and habitat.
  • Anoles make good pets for those willing to care for them properly.
  • Proper diet, including live insects, is essential for anoles’ health and longevity in captivity.

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