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How to hatch green anole eggs

How to Hatch Green Anole Eggs (Complete Guide)

So you got a hold of some green anole eggs and you want to learn how to incubate them.

It’s easy. Probably even easier than birthing humans?

Fun fact: Green anoles don’t leave their hatch sites after they breed. This is unlike other Anolis species, which abandon their breeding site.

Whether your female anole laid a clutch of eggs or you came across some randomly in your garden, hatching the eggs only takes a bit of effort. But you need to be quick as they need temperatures to be stable in order to incubate successfully.

This guide will cover everything you need to know about how to hatch green anole eggs.

If you have any questions, drop me a comment.

How do I know if my anole is pregnant?

When the female anole mate successfully, the female will develop small white eggs. Each ovary produces one egg. The eggs are laid one at a time.

One egg is produced every 10 days, up to a total of 12 eggs or so during the breeding season.

When the eggs are laid, you can take some into the incubator for artificial hatching. But leave some inside the tank for natural hatching as well- it can be fun to experiment to see how well you can hatch the eggs.

The female will begin digging using her claws to build a small scrape nest. This is usually near the base of a plant, which is why some plants for your tank are a good investment. If you plan to breed them, you’ll need to build a suitable nesting environment for mated females.

Some other behaviors of a mated green anole include:

  • Digging up the substrate or soil in the tank
  • Eating less food or not hunting insects
  • Spends most of her time hiding
  • Sedentary behavior
  • Lethargy or listlessness

Eggs

The eggs are white, round, and tiny. Sometimes they’re speckled with brown or tan markings on the shell. They can exhibit some bumpy exteriors with weird textures. But don’t be alarmed if it’s lopsided or not uniform. The eggs don’t get bigger over time.

They’re about 6mm in length and 14mm around (circumference). The substrate used in the tank should be nice and wet. It helps keep the eggs humid, which allows the hatchings to break through the tough shells.

Green anoles will lay eggs in captivity. They mate easily if enough space is provided and the number of males to females is correct (one male for 1-2 females in a standard tank).

Green anoles can even hatch their eggs inside the terrarium without the need for a separate incubator. Again, hatching them is easy. But raising the baby green anoles is the hard part.

You may end up with multiple eggs from multiple anoles or just a single one. This guide is written for a clutch of eggs, but it applies the same to just one egg.

Choosing an incubator

Incubators are NOT required to hatch green anole eggs. However, hobbyists still prefer them for safeguarding the hatchlings so they don’t get eaten by the adults or to create a more “controlled” environment.

If you don’t have the money to spend on a professional incubator, you can either make one yourself with basic supplies or even just let your anole do the work for you by leaving the eggs inside the main tank.

If you keep the temperatures constant, the eggs have a good chance of hatching. Maintain temperatures within the range of 80-85F. Keep it humid as well. The eggs should hatch on their own.

Building a DIY egg incubator

This is the most discussed part of egg incubation because a lot of people are afraid or don’t know how to make their incubators. It’s really easy. You can use something basic like a cardboard box. It just needs to have good ventilation so air can flow through it easily.

Some other choices are Rubbermaid, storage, totes, Tupperware, etc. It should have a lid to prevent insects from getting in or predators. Use durable materials so they don’t break or allow escape.

Note: Some states consider the green anole illegal to keep. You need to ensure that it’s legal to breed and keep them in your state before raising them.

Note that you don’t have to make your DIY incubator. Anoles can hatch their eggs on their own in the original terrarium if the temperatures are constant.

Incubator sizing

Get one that can comfortably fit the entire batch of eggs without clumping them too close together. If the box is too small, it’s very poor at keeping temperatures stable. A slight change in room temperature will be reflected in the incubation temp.

OTOH, if the incubation box is too big, it’s much more efficient at holding temperatures stable. This is because of the larger surface area of the cardboard. It takes time for it to warm up and cool down because there are more boxes to go around. You don’t need some giant extra large moving box though.

If it’s too big, it’ll take a long time to bring the temperatures up. The thicker the layer of corrugated cardboard, the more insulation it provides. You can also use other incubation materials like vermiculite or organic peat moss. If you’re not into DIY, you can buy one online.

Substrate

For the soil, use something that retains heat. If it has “moisture retaining” properties, it’s good for keeping heat too. Line the bottom with a moisture potting mix, peat moss, and vermiculite.

Place the anole eggs well nested into the substrate. They should be surrounded by the soil in a full, complete envelopment. It’ll help keep them warm and the temperatures stable. Fluctuating temperatures should be avoided.

Females lay fertile and viable eggs so they’re not hard to mate. The anole babies are harder to take off than the egg clutch itself!

Cut off the top of the box so you can see it. It needs to release humidity so it doesn’t get locked in. if the humidity is too high, it may get moldy or fungus can spawn. You can use an aquarium or terrarium lid (the mesh screen) to accomplish this.

Moving eggs into the incubator

Use a small scoop to transport the eggs from the main tank to the incubation tank. Carefully scoop them using a plastic spoon from the bottom up.

Then gently “pour” the eggs into the incubation tank. Do NOT use your fingers, spatulas, or tongs to transport green anole eggs.

Tank placement- choosing where to put the terrarium

Keep the incubator out of direct sunlight, drafts, HVAC units, vents, windows, or places with constant temperature swings. Humidity is another thing to keep in mind. Don’t put it in the bathroom, garage, or kitchen where humidity spikes throughout a normal day. Keep it somewhere, dry, cool, and undisturbed.

Temperature

Pregnant female green anole hiding.
This anole is in hiding. Can you guess why?

The temperature should remain elevated between 80-85F. Most incubation boxes can be kept between this range using ceramic heat emitters (CHEs).

These are bell-shaped ceramic “bulbs” that generate heat without light. They’re quite powerful but will suck up a good amount of electricity. Similar to heat lamps, they can increase temperature based on distance from the target.

In this case, you can mount it on the top of the box pointing downwards toward the egg clutch. Use a secure heating dome to safely mount it. Most CHEs will screw into regular bulb inlets and require no special adapters.

Just like any other source of heat, they’re a fire/electrical hazard when improperly used. Read all instructions and use them as directed. Exercise common sense. Use at your own risk.

Ideal placement for the heat source is right above the box with a heating dome focusing the heat radiation downwards onto the eggs. The heat should be evenly distributed. Adjust the distance and positioning of it based on the thermometer reading.

Do not cut a hole in the side of the box and then stick the CHE in there. This will heat the eggs unevenly as one side will be more than the other.

If the anoles hatch and you’re not there to supervise, they may even run into contact with the heating element. Whether you use a CHE, under tank heater, or heat lamp, it should NEVER be close enough to bring temperatures on the soil line over 90F. The anole hatching long should also never be able to touch it.

Temperature is critical when trying to get the eggs to hatch on time. Fixed heating elements will need to be carefully adjusted to ensure the range is between 80-85F around the clock.

The substrate you use for the egg clutch will be the main insulator for swinging temperatures. If you notice that the temperature inside the enclosure gets very cold at night, consider using a thicker layer or more insulating material. You can also put more of it surrounding the clutch so it retains heat more effectively.

Eggs can be covered with the litter temporarily to help keep them warm in cold flashes.

Humidity

The humidity surrounding the eggs should be kept around 80% to help keep the eggs from getting too tough. If humidity is too low, the eggs may not hatch because the hatching can’t break through the dried, tough eggshell.

Green anole eggs will need sustained humidity levels that don’t fluctuate. Avoid putting the incubation box near drafts. Humidity can be measured using a hygrometer (humidity gauge).

Secure it on the inside of the incubator, not the outside as they’re wildly inaccurate. You can increase humidity by regularly spritzing with distilled water to avoid introducing contamination or pathogens.

Putting a small dish or water inside the incubation box can also help keep the humidity sustained. Keep tabs on the humidity and notice how it fluctuates. Ensuring proper humidity levels keeps the eggs wet. The fake decorations, plants, substrate, eggs, and walls should be moist. This provides plenty of opportunity for it to lap up water no matter how it prefers to do so.

Mist 2-3 times daily to stop them from drying out. Monitor the temperature, humidity, UVB, etc. at least twice per day.

Thermometer positioning

Place the thermometer on the substrate itself. This will give you more accurate heat readings than putting it on the walls or sides of the incubator.

Wherever you place the thermometer is whatever temperature you’ll be reading. Don’t use the stick-on adhesive ones that go on the tank’s outside. These are highly inaccurate upwards of 20F.

Place the thermometer as close as possible to the egg without disturbing it. If you have a clutch of eggs, place it in the middle. If you have a single egg, place it a few inches away.

Hygrometer positioning

The hygrometer (humidity gauge) should be placed near the egg batch too. Note that humidity is hard to measure because it greatly varies depending on the location. If you put the gauge near the heat lamp, it’ll be much lower than the substrate reading.

This is because the heat will evaporate the moisture content in the air but the substrate soaks it up. Place it as close to the eggs as you possibly can- put it on the substrate level so you know that whatever the humidity is, the soil should be higher than it (the soil holds moisture more efficiently than the surface level).

UV lighting

Green anole eggs can be placed next to a source of dappled sunlight for a few hours each day for UVA/UVB. The eggs do require some UVB even though there’s no lizard yet. Can’t move your incubator? Then use a UVB light with high output.

Turn it on for 12 hours daily. Use a timer for convenience. There are power strips that have built-in timers made just for this purpose. The heating source should remain on 24/7. Ensure those surroundings aren’t flammable. Do not put the incubation tank somewhere where it can be knocked over or disturbed.

Sunlight exposure

Hatching will need some exposure to sunlight for a few hours each day. This is necessary so they can thermoregulate and digest their food. Place their terrariums next to indirect sunlight for 2-4 hours daily.

Be extremely careful and do NOT leave them unattended. Heat can quickly build up in containers even with no lid. If the temperatures go over 85F, remove them from the dappled light or put them farther from it.

Ensure that there are drinkable water droplets on the tank decorations or the sides of the container. Adjust for the weather. If it’s very hot, then place the tanks even farther than normal. Aim for a temperature of 80F.

How long does it take anole eggs to hatch?

Young green anole on a branch.
This young anole was recently hatched.

Green anole eggs will hatch within 14-50 days. The average time to hatch is wide because the hatching time depends on temperature and species.

The hatchlings are tiny versions of their parents. They’re brownish in color and they have disproportionate heads (the heads are bigger than the body). Their tails are very short and their bodies are about 2″ in length. A tank of 5-10 gallons is sufficient for housing.

For most green anoles found in the US, the clutch will hatch in about 14-30 days at 80-85F with ambient humidity of 80%. In the wild, they can take between 25-40 days to hatch. The humidity and temperature are important for determining the time to hatch. It’s important to maintain near-perfect incubation environments in order to increase the chances of successful hatching.

The anole will dig a scratch nest in the wild in moist soil where they bury eggs. The eggs will hatch on their own in this manner, but in captivity, it’s different. A lot of pet owners won’t provide enough substrate for it to dig out a nest, so that already removes a lot of the insulating materials. The eggs don’t require parental care to hatch in the wild.

The temperature is the main variable that determines the time to hatch (TTH). Warmer temperatures will speed up incubation, while colder temperatures slow it down.

There is a “sweet spot” where it’s warm enough to help the eggs hatch quicker, but once you go beyond that point the eggs slow development. Here’s a chart to show you how temperature affects egg incubation time. You can see the average curve where you get the most ‘egg’ per unit of heat.

Hatching green anoles

As you now know, it’s pretty simple to hatch these lizards from an egg. Compared to other lizards like geckos or iguanas, it’s easy. The most difficult part is finding that sweet spot for the temperature and humidity.

But once you do that, it’s just a matter of keeping them consistent. Invest in reliable instruments to measure them so you are sure they’re right. Keep the hatchling fed and hydrated- if they don’t get water, they’ll become weakened. Lethargy. No appetite. Or restless behavior.

These are all signs of dehydration. Isolate them after they hatch out. Baby them until they’re no longer babies. And that’s it! You should have a new batch of big juicy green anoles ready to bask all day!

Did you know that some females will dig a scratch nest in the debris, lay eggs, then can even abandon them?

Sometimes the female may get eaten, disturbed, or forced out of parietal care to protect the eggs. But they can still hatch on their own even without the female. Cool huh?

Female lizards can store enough sperm to fertilize eggs throughout the breeding season from a single mating session!

If you have questions about how to hatch anoles, drop me a comment below.

Protecting the hatchlings

Baby anoles are extremely vulnerable. They can be killed by insects, other baby anoles, or even adults. They need to be monitored closely until they get their bearings. Give them plenty of space to forage for small insects.

Babies coming from an incubator should be housed separately. Use isolated terrariums. They can all be put near each other so a single source of heat can heat them all at once. It also makes checking the humidity, feeding, and temperature checking much easier.

Don’t allow the babies to be housed in proximity. They may fight to compete for territory, which can be dangerous.

Hatching anoles will turn out to be exactly like their parents when they grow up, even if they’re small, brown, and have big heads at first. Their tails will be short. The average baby anole weighs about 1-2g with an average length of 1.8-2.1 inches.

Because they’re so small, they’re extremely delicate. Don’t house them with adult anoles.

Feeding hatchlings

The food you provide them should be smaller than the space between their eyes. Baby anoles have small bodies and insects can quickly harm their eyes, tail, or skin. If feeding live prey, use tiny crickets, flightless fruit flies, or gel feed.

Green anoles babies may have trouble catching live insects, so feeding dead ones may be preferable in the beginning. Pinhead crickets are excellent. Chain pet stores carry them, but can be expensive. Check online or local classifieds for breeders.

Their primary diet should be high in protein, calcium, and vitamins. Consider using cricket dust to supplement some extra calcium for proper bone development because regular insects don’t have enough.

Some foods to feed baby anoles include:

  • Baby dubia roaches
  • Gut loaded crickets
  • Pinhead crickets
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Calcium supplements
  • Vitamin supplements

Baby anoles will also need water. Do NOT use a water dish. Instead, spritz the fake leaves or the glass of the enclosure using spring water.

The tiny droplets that form can be used for them to lap up. Baby anoles will dehydrate if the terrarium does not supply enough water. Green anole babies can have difficulty drinking from the tank.

Use an eyedropper to drop water droplets right on its snout. It’ll lick it off. Do this until it stops drinking. Repeat daily until it learns how to drink from the sprayer.

Green anoles will often perish from dehydration. Lack of clean drinking water is a primary cause of baby anole weakness. Ensure that your anole is drinking sufficiently. Mist regularly and put a droplet on their nostril.

Baby anoles won’t drink at birth, so you need to force-feed them water until they’re no longer juveniles. Hatchling lizards won’t drink from a bowl. So you need to force them to drink water on their own. Learning what to feed baby anoles takes time.

Keeping the terrarium clean

The habitat should be cleaner than your primary reptile tank. Baby anoles are more susceptible to pathogens or other bacteria/viruses. Adequate temperature, lighting, humidity, clean water, and regular feedings are necessary to keep your anole babies going.

Dehydration and impaction are both extremely common cases of why baby anoles get sick. They stem from poor husbandry conditions which then get the lizards into a weakened state- susceptible to pathogens harbored inside the tank.

Clean your hatchling tank just as much as your primary tank, but more:

  • Remove leftover foods immediately
  • Don’t use a water bowl– spray regularly
  • Don’t use live insects
  • “Deep clean” every two weeks
  • Use substrates that won’t cause impaction if they eat it accidentally- soil or peat moss combos are good for tiny angels
  • Provide fake plants, climbing vines, and hides

Constantly monitor the temperature using a high-quality thermometer. It should stay between 70-85 at the cool end of the tank. The basking area should be at least 90F. Humidity should be at least 75% or higher 24/7.

UVA/UVB should be provided for at least 12 hours daily on a cycle. Use a timer for accuracy or a power strip with a built-in automation setting.

How to tell if green anole eggs are viable

If you’re not sure whether or not the egg is fertile, there’s an easy way to tell. Besides, you don’t wanna waste a ton of time/effort taking care of infertile eggs. Green anoles have a very high rate of fertility once they mate.

However, they can store sperm and use them to fertilize eggs next mating season. If your female lays eggs but there are no males present, then you can be sure the egg is not fertile.

If you have a bright torch available, gently grab the egg and put it on the light. Position the flashlight facing upwards and place the egg on top.

If you see visible veins, it’s fertile. If it’s solid or hollow, then it’s not. Note that other events may render the egg not viable. So it’s not guaranteed.

How do I tell if my baby anole is male or female?

When your baby hatchling comes out of the egg, it’s possible to identify if it’s a male or female if you’re patient.

Over time, the sexual dimorphism will become more apparent so it’ll be easier to determine the gender as they get older. The younger they are, the more difficult it is to decide male vs. female.

Regardless, here are some clues to look out for:

Look at the bottom side of the baby anole, males will have small bumps “below” the vent. The vent is where they excrete waste, right where the tail meets the body. It’s a small flap of skin that has a bumped surface.

  • If the baby anole is male, it’ll have two small bumps below the vent (towards the tail).
  • If it’s a female, the lizard won’t have anything in this part of its body.

It’s hard to tell when they’re newborns. But over time, you’ll be able to determine the sex. Males and females have their differences that become more apparent as they get older and flesh out.

See this video for a demonstration:

When do anoles mate in the wild?

In the wild, green anoles breed between April to August. This is when temperatures are warm and they’re actively producing offspring. Warmer months have a higher reproduction rate as they mate. They mate about 4-5 months out of the year.

The reason why they mate in the summertime (similar to most other lizards) is that higher temperatures increase the size of the sexual structures.

Female anoles ovulate for about 14 days during this time. This is all they need to mate. Females are receptive only during this time, but females can have multiple cycles within a breeding season.

The green anole males will exhibit mating behaviors to attract females. If they accept, they’ll allow the male to mount and deposit sperm. The female chooses to accept or deny the male by reciprocating the behavior. The male may also deny the female if it’s stressed.

Are green anoles monogamous or polygamous?

The majority of anoles are polygynous, which allows them to have such high numbers of progeny. Anoles generally mate within their territories.

This means females will mate with males that are in proximity. If a female mates with a foreign male, this is due to intrusion of her territory. The males will mate with more than one female in their domain.

Females rarely mate with more than one male. They mate with the territorial male in their territory, which often houses multiple females. Intruding males may end up mating with the females.

Green anoles are ready to mate around 10 months after they hatch. Males will exhibit head bobbing while females will neck arch to show sexual receptiveness.

How many eggs do green anoles lay?

Female anoles will lay between 6-9 eggs per year. However, the number of eggs can increase if she has multiple ovulatory cycles. This is why the number of eggs can vary widely.

For each cycle, the female has, the number of eggs increases by a multiple. On average, female anoles will lay 1-2 clutches every two weeks during the season. Each clutch is 6-9 eggs. So that’s about 12-18 eggs every 14 days.

Again, this varies depending on many variables:

  • Availability of food
  • Territorial establishment
  • Available males for mating opportunities
  • Number of ovulation cycles the female has
  • Potential mates within the territory

Green anoles lay their eggs in multiple series over time. They don’t lay them all at once, unlike other lizards.

Females store sperm if they need to so they can fertilize later if necessary. Green anoles gestate for 5-7 weeks in the wild. The eggs are easy to hatch. Keeping the babies alive is the hard part. Did I say that already =]?

How do I get my green anoles to mate?

Mating green anoles happens naturally (just like humans, for the most part).

Female anoles will begin exhibiting mating behaviors around the 10 month point.

They’ll wander and enter the terrifies of male anoles where they’ll likely be greeted with head bobbing, pushups, or possibly biting.

The male chases the female around and will bite her in the neck. Once caught, they’ll mate. The female allows the male to mount her and then they do their magic.

When the female is mated, she won’t be able to mate again until she deposits her eggs. During mating season, they breed in two week intervals for 5 months straight- usually until August.

In captivity, simply having the right male to female ratio of lizards in proximity is enough to prompt mating. Given the right temperature, humidity, and abundance of food supplies, they should mate without issues.

If your anoles don’t mate, try limiting it to just one male and female in a 10 gallon enclosure. Ensure that both lizards are virulent, not stressed, and are exhibiting good appetites. If your anole is not eating, they may be sick or infected with some pathogens.

Since they’re housed together, they may have the same infection which makes them less likely to mate together.

If you can’t get them to breed, ensure that your terrarium has the proper setup and sufficient basic care requirements.

References

Hatching green anoles is easy

Lizard egg batch raised in captivity.
Lizard egg batch raised in captivity.

People think that the hard part is hatching the eggs, but it’s not. It’s keeping the young sustained by providing the batch with enough food and water. And making sure they don’t fight each other.

Hatching the eggs can be done by the pregnant female if you provide enough heat. Everything following is up to you to keep those babies going!

If you have questions, feel free to post them below. If you have any feedback or improvements for this guide, I’m all ears! Hope your anole hatching goes well!

1 thought on “How to Hatch Green Anole Eggs (Complete Guide)”

  1. Just found an anole egg! 3 males and about 6 females and a tree frog to a 65 tall tank. Should I just leave it in the tank?

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