So, you’ve heard about these tiny lizards and you’re wondering if they’re good for a newbie to the hobby.
Just like their small size, they’re also small in terms of money and time commitment.
You’ll find that green anoles are one the most PERFECT pet lizards for beginners because of their budget-friendly cost, low maintenance, and wide availability.
Let’s dive in and see how these lizards stack up against others.
Can you keep a green anole as a pet? How are they?
Green anoles make an excellent reptile for beginners because of multiple reasons:
- They have a low initial cost for the reptile (most anoles are under $10)
- They need minimal supplies (basic starter kits with a 10G tank are enough)
- They need very little maintenance (daily feedings and weekly cleanings are enough)
With their low entry price and ease of care, they’re a popular choice in the pet trade for beginner or expert reptile enthusiasts.
Being so cheap makes them easy to pick up from the store and since they don’t need a huge enclosure, it keeps the overall cost down and affordable.
Unlike other larger lizards that need large tanks, more precise lighting and temperature devices, and specific care needs, green anoles are an all-around hardy lizard that can tolerate mild swings in temperatures and humidity.
They also can be housed together for those that want to keep multiple anoles, provided that there’s only one male and adequate space for all the females to live together.
Are they good for beginners?
Green anoles are probably the BEST pet lizard for beginners. Although this answer may be biased (look at the site you’re on), it makes a reasonable stance.
Green anoles are hardy and tolerant of many mistakes beginners make- whether they’re new to keeping reptiles or lizards in general.
Things like improper temperature, too low humidity, inefficient habitat mapping, poor UVA/UVB lighting, poor diet with nutrient-deficient feeders, using a heat rock instead of a heat lamp are all common mistakes beginners make.
Thankfully, green anoles will tolerate them for a period, which gives the owner time to correct the issue.
The best part about them that makes them the perfect beginner reptile?
They change from green to brown when they’re stressed. This indicates its current mood and you can use it to see how you’re doing as a reptile owner. Is your anole doing well? Or is it stressed out? The green or brown skin will tell you.
While green anoles will also show these signs of distress, their green or brown color is a clear sign of how well you’re taking care of them.
It doesn’t get any easier for beginners to tell if their anole is doing well and being jolly or if it’s stressed and upset. Use their color to indicate if they’re being properly cared for.
Fix the problem and they’ll return to their bright lime green.
Sometimes even when needs aren’t met, they’ll still be green, so this can’t be the only indicator of their health that you can depend on.
But it’s good to have when combined with other elements that depict overall health, such as anole behavior or diet.
Plus, once again, they’re cheap and very budget-friendly. This makes them an all-rounder on all levels. Low cost, easy-care, low maintenance, and plenty of reptilian activity to marvel at.
Green anoles are one small lizard that packs a punch in terms of value.
Are they hard to keep?
Anolis carolinensis is extremely easy to care for provided that you have all the necessary equipment. The main thing is temperature and UVB.
Once you get a good heat lamp at the proper distance from the tank’s hood, you’re halfway there. Get a good UVB strip bulb that’s lengthwise to the tank and you’re set.
That’s the hardest part and is a common problem that beginners struggle with. Positioning the light at the right distance for the lizard to bask is important so that it gets the right temp at the basking area.
Other than that, smaller things to worry about are humidity, which can be controlled by misting with a spray bottle.
As you can see, these are all values that require gauges or some kind of tool to precisely measure. Invest in good and accurate equipment (hygrometers, thermometers, etc.), and you should be OK.
When you first set up the tank, it’ll take a few days to adjust the lighting and positions of everything to get them right. But once you do, you’ll find that it’s an easy street from there.
Some other things to know:
- Provide a water dish, substrate, and a place to hide. These are all basics for setting up the tank correctly.
- Offer high-quality food and feed the right amount.
- Do regular maintenance and clean out the tank- at least weekly without disturbing the lizard by removing it first.
- Do NOT clean the enclosure with the anole inside. It could lead to accidentally crushing it when moving things around.
- Offer other foods as treats and supplements.
- Offer calcium dust weekly and vitamins if necessary.
- Check on the anole’s appetite and mood daily to assess.
- Ensure that live feeders are gut-loaded.
Do green anoles cost a lot to maintain?
Typical costs are cheap. The most expensive purchase is the lighting system, which costs more than the tank itself.
Remember: while some things you can go cheap on, others you should invest in a quality instrument.
Things like decor, water bowls, or driftwood can be bought for a bargain.
But other things like UVA/UVB, humidity gauges, temperature gauges, or misting systems should be purchased from a quality, reputable brand.
Here are the typical costs for a green anole setup (for one anole):
- 10-gallon terrarium ($10-$20 depending on where you look- check classifieds for deals)
- UVA heat lamp ($20)
- UVB strip ($20)
- Humidity gauge ($10)
- Temperature gauge ($14)
- Water bowl ($8)
- Hiding place ($10)
- Driftwood ($10-$20)
- Misc. decor ($10+)
- Enclosure cover ($10)
- Mounting brackets ($20)
- Light domes ($16)
- Substrate ($12)
You may find a starter pack that has everything you need at a cheaper discounted price. Look into these but make sure they use quality parts.
Prices vary depending on your location, anole availability, etc. These are prices calculated from big pet stores’ websites.
What about the time commitment?
Other than feeding and cleaning, that’s pretty much all the time you need to put in to keep your anole well maintained.
When your anole grows from a juvenile adult, it’ll likely require even fewer feedings so that saves you time.
Younger anoles should be fed daily, while adults can be fed every other day.
The tank needs to be cleaned at least weekly, but this depends on how much you feed it (feeding more means more lizard poop). But even then, it’s a 10-minute job for a 10G tank. Easy peasy.
Can I keep a wild anole?
Some people who live in states that have green anoles native to their backyard may be enticed to catch one and keep it as a pet.
While this is possible, note that you may end up stressing it out, especially if it’s an adult.
As a fully grown anole, it’s been accustomed to the outdoors.
Once you catch it and keep it in a tank, it’s a whole new environment and won’t tolerate the adjustment well.
On the other hand, if it’s still a hatchling when you snag it, it can grow up in captivity which will make the adjustment much easier (provided that its needs are met).
For this reason, you should avoid keeping wild anoles as pets. Stick with captive ones from the store or a breeder if you’re looking for fancy morphs.
How do you befriend a wild lizard?
It completely depends on how it was accustomed to the wild environment.
Some adults will never become tame to the human hand.
If it grew up in the wild and never spent time around humans, it’ll probably be very skittish, bite, and try to escape. It’ll also never be happy in the tank as it’s not used to being confined to an artificial environment.
But then again, there are adult wild-caught anoles who have become extremely chill and relaxed lizards. It all depends.
If you’re going to catch a wild anole, the young ones can be “molded” into captivity. Then it’ll be used in your hands and its tank.
But then again, some juveniles will attempt to run away from humans and never become tamed enough to put on your shoulder. It all depends, once again.
Personality, environmental factors, lizard age, genetics- there are too many different variables to know.
Green anoles are good for beginners
Now that you know some more info about these tiny lizards, what do you think?
They’re super easy to take care of and extremely budget-friendly once you get the initial supplies. They’re active, fun to watch, cheap, plus these lizards offer the reptile experience on a small scale (“what’s it like to have a reptile?”).
Do you have any questions about whether or not a green anole is right for you? Leave a comment to let us know.