Green anoles don’t get too big, which is why they’re so popular among owners.
Whether you’re new to reptile keeping or you’ve had them forever, green anoles rarely get over 8 inches at max length.
This makes them easy to care for and manageable, unlike larger lizards such as iguanas (which can get over 17 inches).
They’re also very cheap compared to other lizards and widely available. They don’t need a huge enclosure (10 gallons is enough for a single anole) and need just the basic equipment.
This makes them budget-friendly, which is another attractive feature that beginners look for when they’re on the fence about whether or not to buy a green anole.
Let’s talk about their size.
Green anole size
OK, so if you just want the average sizes, here you go:
- Average male green anole adult size: 5-8 inches (with tail)
- Average female adult size: 5-6 inches (with tail)
The exact size of your anole will vary depending on a variety of things:
- The exact species of your green anole
- How you’re feeding it
- How often you’re feeding it
- What you’re feeding as a staple food
- Whether or not you’re supplementing with calcium, vitamins, etc.
- How varied the diet is
- The tank it’s in and the space available
- Genetics that determine sizing beyond your control
- Whether or not it eats regularly
- Stress levels
- Green anole sex and age
- How exercised it is
- Proper UVA/UVB lighting
- Proper heating
- Proper humidity levels
- Testosterone exposure
- Plus a lot of other variables!
You’ll see that the average max length is about 5-6 inches for females and 5-8 inches for males, but can also seem a lot smaller if you use SVT- depending on how you measure them.
Let’s dive in and see how this all works.
Green anoles will get bigger as they age. They never really stop growing.
This is true of the majority of lizards and reptiles in general and is not exclusive to Anoles carolinesis. Reptiles are pretty cool in that way.
When a green anole is born, it only measures about 1-2 inches at max length.
Baby anoles hatch out of eggs 4-6 weeks after being laid.
They’re extremely small when they come out, but have all the physical characteristics that adults have, but miniature versions. This means they have a tail, snout, eyes, limbs, and a working mouth at birth.
Although they’re all smaller versions compared to what the adults have, they’re all intact. Think of baby anoles as mini-adults.
At 1-2 inches, they’re very small and vulnerable. They also don’t have the reflexes and escape abilities that the adults do because they’re still learning about their environment.
Only weighing about 3-6 grams at birth, these babies are tiny and easily eaten up by predators. Their tail is long and sometimes matches the same length as their body.
As they get older, the tail gets longer if it’s not dropped.
The baby anole learns about the world around itself and starts hunting prey for the first time.
In captivity, prey items are fed artificially to the anole, but it still learns to attack, stalk, and pounce on food items.
The anole will undergo rapid growth during this part of its life and will add centimeters to its body.
If you’ve ever had a female anole lay eggs, then incubate them at 85F for 4-6 weeks, you’ll see that they grow up like crazy.
Their only goal is to eat and protect themselves from predators.
In the wild, they’re vulnerable targets to predators like birds, snakes, and even other lizards.
In captivity, responsible owners will feed them gut-loaded crickets or dubia roaches, supplement with calcium dust, and offer multivitamins if necessary.
This is the part of their life cycle where they make the largest leaps in size.
But even then, their adult size is only 2-3 times their baby size, if even.
So don’t be scared of these lizards being too big. They’re small and easily manageable compared to bigger reptiles.
This part of its life cycle is similar to the baby phase. It just eats and eats and eats. It’ll grow very quickly just like when it was a baby.
Supplement with weekly calcium dusting to ensure proper bone development. Continue feeding with high-quality, gut-loaded staple food.
Feed a variety of live prey, veggies, and fruits. Your anole will do most of its growing during this period until it approaches adulthood.
They’ll continue to grow to full size and will reach it about 1.5-2 years later. Then they’ll enter adulthood. But they’ll look pretty much the same- just bigger in size overall.
A green anole will reach its adult size when it’s over 5 inches in length.
Not all anoles will reach the max size. It varies depending on its environment and diet. The type of anole also determines the total length.
Anoles are measured using the distance from the tip of their snout (nose) to the end of their vent. This is also known as snout-to-vent length or SVL.
So when someone says an “SVL of 5 inches” it means that the distance from the snout to the vent is 5 inches. This doesn’t include the tail length.
Snout-to-vent is the scientifically accepted way to measure lizards.
For fully grown green anoles, these are the averages:
- Adult male: 2.1-2.7 inches SVL
- Adult female: 1.9-2.3 inches SVL
These were sourced from an academic study for Anoles carolinesis morphology and behavior.
If you take the tail into the equation, then you’re looking at these numbers:
- Adult male: 5-8 inches (snout to tail)
- Adult female: 5-6 inches (snout to tail)
Provided that the SVL are nearly identical, the biggest difference in size is because of the tail.
To keep it simple, when the snout to tail is around 5 inches, it’s considered a full-sized adult.
The tail accounts for approximately 60% of their total length.
Some anoles will never reach full size because of a poor diet, cramped habitat, or other genetic reasons. But they’re still adults even then just by age.
Note that males will be longer, bulkier, and heavier than females.
Males will grow up to 8 inches at max length, while females will max out around 6 inches.
The species, diet, environment, feeding schedule, genetics, and more.
Older anoles are also larger and stockier than females but are overall slender. Their body is designed this way to provide them the ability to move through dense plant vegetation without getting caught.
Note that adults will continue to grow throughout their lives and don’t really “stop” at any point.
Their tail continually extends and adds length, but their SVL will remain roughly the same once they hit their peak length.
Adult males will weigh about 3-7 grams, which is about 0.25 ounces at the high end. That’s less than the weight of a lunch-sized bag of chips!
Adult females weigh about 2-6 grams, which is slightly less than the average male weight. It makes sense since the males are lengthier and stockier.
But since there’s a lot of overlap between the weights, it’s an inaccurate way to determine sex.
Green anoles don’t get big
So there you have it. Even if you get a huge anole that’s a freak of nature, it’ll probably only hit 8 inches or so with an SVL of 4 inches.
So the tail is as long as the snout to vent.
If it were to drop the tail, it would only be about 4-6 inches, which is still small compared to other lizards like skinks, bearded dragons, iguanas, chameleons, etc.- all of which can range upwards of 20 inches.
Their small size is an attractive reason why a lot of people buy one.
But sadly, once the novelty fades, they end up in poor husbandry.
We hope to change that by providing people the basic care sheets for proper TLC in a plain English format.
But then again, people say there are giants that walk among us:
Green anoles are small
Now that you know their full size, what do you think? Will you be picking one up?
If so, learn the proper care they require first (hey, our site is a good place to start).
If you already own one, now you know what to expect.
If you’re currently housing it in a 10G tank, that should be sufficient even at adult size.
But if you can provide a larger tank (such as a 20G BREEDER, not 20G TALL tank), then that’ll make for one appreciate anole!
Do you have any questions? Was there something specific you were looking for but couldn’t find in this article? Please let us know.