Lizards - Green Anole

When resting, the green anole (Anolis carolinensis) is a bright grass green colour, but if threatened, it can rapidly turn brown. These attractive lizards are sometimes called American chameleons because of their ability to change colour, although they are not actually related to chameleons as such, being members of the iguanid family. They originate from south-eastern parts of the USA.

Green anoles average between 12-20cm (5-8in) in length, and their small size means they can be housed and bred quite satisfactorily in a standard vivarium. This should be fairly tall, and decorated with branches, enabling the anoles to climb. Plants can also be included to provide a natural setting, and should be carefully sprayed daily to maintain the humidity.

The temperature should be maintained around 25°C (77°F), with a warmer area provided during the daytime by means of a spotlight, although the heating and lighting must be kept out of reach of the lizards. A special fluorescent tube or bulb, mimicking the effects of daylight will be essential to keep the lizards in good health.


A diet of small invertebrates such as crickets available from specialist suppliers, sprinkled with a nutritional supplement, is to be recommended. Small slivers of cuttlefish bone will provide additional calcium for females at the start of the egg-laying period.

It is best to keep these anoles in groups of one male with two or three females to prevent outbreaks of aggression. Males especially are likely to fight each other, inflating the dewlap or throat fan under the throat as part of their display. Provide a sandy container for egg-laying. Clutches consisting of one or two eggs will be laid repeatedly through the summer. Incubation at about 29°C (84°F) should see the young anoles hatch after a period of 2-3 months, and they may live for up to 4 years.