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Do green anoles sleep at night?

Do Green Anoles Sleep at Night? (Lizard Sleep 101: The Basics)

Wondering when (or if) your green anole sleeps?

You’ve probably caught it a few times already lying on a branch all snuggled up with its front and rear limbs stretched out.

How comfy, right?

Let’s dive in and learn about the sleeping behaviors of green anoles.

When do green anoles sleep?

Green anoles (Anolis carolinensis) are considered to be diurnal lizards, which means they’re active during the day.

The majority of lizards are diurnal and it makes sense.

Why? Because the sun is out during the daytime, so they bask, hunt, mate, and do most of their lizard behaviors when there’s plenty of UV light to go around.

Lizards can’t regulate their body temperature so they need to absorb heat from their environment.

They soak it up, store it, and adjust it. They can move around to shady or sunny spots to regularize their temperatures like a sponge.

If they were to do all these behaviors at night (nocturnal), there would be no sunlight so they’d be extremely cold. Lizards would be sluggish, slow, and cold.

So it makes sense that green anoles are active during the day when it’s hot and sunny.

Are green anoles nocturnal?

No. Green anoles are active during the day, so they’re diurnal rather than nocturnal.

This is largely because it’s’ a reptile that needs a source of warmth to thermoregulate its core body temperature.

This is also why you may notice your green anole jumping to the nearest driftwood in your green anole’s tank setup properly when the lights shut off. They’re extremely efficient in regulating their temperature.

When there’s no more light, they know it’s nighttime and time to sleep.

Where do anoles sleep at night?

Green anole sleeping in the night on a branch.
They sleep on leaves or branches.

In the wild, green anoles are found sleeping on branch ends or dense foliage.

In the tank, you can see them sleeping on driftwood or other decors.

You should use this as inspiration to recreate it in your own enclosure for your lizard.

If you don’t provide this, they may hide between two objects to feel safe from predators. They’re conditions to hide from snakes, reptiles, birds, or other mammals that eat them.

You should place pots, logs, branches, and other things in the tank to help build an environment that they feel secure.

Some anoles will become active in the early morning, which may still be “night” for you.

Others will become active at night in the evening rather than in the morning. It completely depends on the light cycle you provide them, so be sure that you’re not waking it up when it’s sleeping.

Its sleep cycle depends on the light provided (frequency and strength). They use light for everything- from regulating digestion to knowing the season. Their sleep patterns may not align with yours.

So don’t disturb them if you see them sleeping. If you hear it banging around in the enclosure after you shut off the lights, it could be looking for somewhere to sleep (or it could be hunting).

How long do anoles sleep

Anoles will sleep between 6-8 hours per night. It varies. The start and end times vary depending on the light you provide and the season.

The humidity and the temperature also impact the sleep duration.

Green anoles are active during the summertime when they look for a mate and breed.

Do anoles eat at night?

Green anoles don’t eat at night unless they’re hungry. If you drop food into the tank while it sleeps, it may get up to pounce on it.

However, in the wild, they’re tuned to hunt during the daytime.

Do anoles need a heat lamp at night?

A bright light that emits UVA/UVB will disturb their sleep cycle. Their enclosure should be completely dark at night so they know it’s time to sleep.

They can sense light and will know when it’s time for bed when it’s completely dark and the lights shut off.

Consider getting an automatic timer switch to turn on/off the lights for the same amounts of time daily.

If you’re trying to keep them warm at night, avoid doing so using light.

Temperatures should drop as that’s normal in the wild. But just make sure they stay above 70F for comfort.

If the ambient temperatures drop very low, you’ll need a secondary heat source that doesn’t emit light (UVA) so it doesn’t disturb the sleep.

Do green anoles need a night light?

No, lizards don’t need any additional lighting at night.

However, if you want a light for nighttime viewing, they do make red lighting, which reptiles can’t detect.

So this lets you see your anole without disturbing them. It also doesn’t raise the temperature of the tank significantly.

How about UVB?

UVB is not necessary at night. UVB is only supposed to be visible when the UVA id is shining.

There’s no sunlight at night, so why would there be UVB? Turn off all lights at night to simulate the wild.

What about a heat rock or under-tank heater?

Both of these should be avoided because of poor efficiency and exposure to burns. Rocks that generate heat can burn the anole if it doesn’t move off when it gets too hot.

Under-tank heaters are often inefficient, too hot, or cause the entire tank to heat up which eliminates the “cool” side that’s a necessity for the lizard to cool down.

Use standard heat bulbs that overhang the tank for best results. Regardless of which one you use, just make sure that nighttime temperatures stay above 70F.

You may be able to use an under-tank heater (UTH) if temperatures drop too low. This way, your lizard can sleep without light disturbance and the ambient temps can be regulated.

However, this should only be a nighttime temporary solution.

Don’t disturb your lizard at night!

A green anole sleeping on a leaf.
They need sleep just like you.

Now you know the basics about sleeping green anoles. Just like humans, lizards need their sleep.

When the lights shut off, your anole should be scrambling for the nearest branch to lie narrowly on it throughout the night.

Avoid excess light from the surroundings and don’t handle it, feed it, or disturb it.

Keep temps stable and humidity as well.

Every green anole needs good sleep, whether they stay up late into the evening or wake up early to catch the “early worm”.

Do you have anything to ask? Does your anole exhibit weird sleeping patterns or habits? Leave a comment and share it with us.

Further reading/references

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