Green Anole

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Animal Care


Green Anole

Common Name: Green Anole/Carolina Anole/Red-Throated Anole
Scientific Name: Anolis carolinensis
Lifespan: 3-5+ years
Size: 5-8 inches


The Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis) is the most commonly kept species of Anolis. Green anoles are indigenous to the southern United States and thrive in tropical climates. Their simple name comes from their bright green color. However, they can display various shades of green and can even turn brown. Green Anoles are tree dwellers and diurnal (active during the day) which makes them perfect for tall naturalistic vivariums and bioactive terrariums.









Most Active



3-5 years


Green Anoles hatch out at approximately 1 inches in length. Adult males reach around 4 inches from snout-to-vent and about 8 inches including the tail. Females only reach around 5-6 inches.


In captivity, with proper care, Green Anoles can live 3-5 years or more.


When designing your Green Anole’s enclosure make sure to remember that they are native to tropical, humid regions. These lizards will occasionally be found hiding on the ground but prefer tall enclosures. Air circulation is very important as too little will result in stagnant damp air that will lead to mold. Adults can be kept in tall 10 gallon tanks or 12”L x 12”W x 18”H. Males are very territorial and cannot be kept together. A pair or two females can be housed in 20 gallon tanks or 18”L x 18”W x 18”H tanks if there is enough hiding places and decor. However, it is still recommended to keep them separate.

Temperature & Humidity:

Green Anole do well in warmer climates and often need supplemental heating. During the day temperatures can reach 78-82 degrees with a 90-95 degree basking spot. At night the temperature can drop to the low 70s. Remember to always allow a temperature gradient so your Anole can choose the area most comfortable for themselves. Humidity should be kept around 60-70 percent and increased during shedding. 

Be sure to mist your anole’s cage 1-2 times a day or as needed to keep the proper humidity. Furthermore, Green Anoles tend to prefer to drink water from leaves that have been misted rather than a traditional water dish. 

Another great way to help control and maintain humidity during shedding and make your Green Anole’s enclosure more natural is with Mosses. Golden Sphagnum Moss, Green Sphagnum Moss, Royal Pillow Moss, Sheet Moss, and Pillow Moss are all excellent at storing and maintaining humidity to ensure a clean, perfect shed. Remarkably, Green Anoles sometimes eat their shed so do not be alarmed if you cannot locate a shed. 


Paper towels and terrarium liners are good substrate options for those that want something easy to change, but be sure to keep a close eye on temperature and humidity as these options don’t hold up as well as other substrates. Cypress Mulch, Orchid/Fir Bark, Coconut Soil, and Coco Husk are great naturalistic substrate options that help maintain and control humidity. No matter what substrate you decide to use make sure to keep an eye on humidity as too much or too little can cause problems.


Providing a safe hiding place for your green anole is extremely important to the overall health of your reptile. Green anoles need a secure, dark cave or hide that they can retreat to in order to reduce stress and feel safe. They should have an arboreal and terrestrial hide, as well as a large amount of foliage to hide in. 

There are a variety of hides and foliage available on the market that can be used to accomplish these secure hiding places (Sapa and Moss Domes are popular naturalistic options and are made of moss to help with humidity). The plants and leaves that make up the foliage can be fake or live depending on your personal preference.


Green Anoles love to bask in the sun. As such, they require a full-spectrum UVB light. Make sure to check temperatures often as the added heat from UVB light may be higher than expected. Remember to only use lightning up to 12 hours a day as too much lighting can be stressful.


Green Anoles are insectivores, meaning they only eat insects. Crickets and Mealworms are the main staple of a healthy anole. Waxworms and farm-raised Maggots and Grubs can be fed on occasion as they are higher in fat. 

All feeder insects should be dusted with calcium and multivitamins, as well as gutloaded. Simply place the feeder insects and a small amount of powder into a plastic bag and shake lightly. Gut loading refers to feeding the insects nutritious food, generally powder or gel, for at least 12 hours before feeding.


Although Green Anoles primarily drink from water that has pooled on leaves from misting, always provide fresh, clean water just in case.


After the necessities, Green Anole enclosures can have any variety of decor that help to add enrichment. Spider Wood, Manzanita, and Driftwood are popular climbing implements that provide a different texture and aid in shedding. Natural Stones and Mosses are also a great addition for general stimulation and enrichment with the added benefit of a naturalistic look.

Interesting Facts:

  • Green Anoles have been popular in the pet trade since the 1950s and are known for being great “starter” reptiles. 
  • Due to their low cost and high availability, Anoles are often sold as “feeders” for other species of larger lizards and various snakes.
  • Males have a large dewlap (throat fan) that is three times the size of females and is a bright red color, hence the name “Red-Throated Anole”. 
  • Male Anoles are fiercely territorial and have been seen fighting their own reflections in mirrors. In the wild, a males territory usually includes 2-3 females in a 35 cu ft area.
  • The Anolis genus has more than 425 species. There are proposed subgenera that are still a matter of dispute. However, even if that were to happen, there would still be around 45 species remaining, and carolinensis would have a species group with 13 different species.