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Anoles are very popular pets due to their small size, docile nature, and striking intelligence.
Since many of our customers purchase Vision Cages for anoles, we wanted more enthusiasts to learn about them and understand how to set up the proper enclosure.
Keep reading to learn about this lizard and how to offer them the most comfortable space!
Natural Habitat of Anoles
The small anole lizard is native to North, Central, and South America. They reside in areas with warm, wet climates like swamps, forests, and wooded beaches. You’ll commonly find them in North America in southeast states like Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi.
They prefer areas with a lot of trees and elevated surfaces. A majority of anole species are arboreal and live in trees, or at least spend most of their life off the ground. They have sticky pads on their feet for climbing verticle surfaces like trees and buildings.
Requirements for an Anole Enclosure
Anoles are small lizards, growing between 6 – 10 inches as an adult. They may be small, but they’re very active and love to climb, so your cage must support that activity.
For an adult anole, we recommend cage dimensions of around [24″ H x 36″ L x 24″ D]. If you desire a smaller cage size, we recommend dimensions no smaller than [12″ H x 18″ L x 12″ D].
Minimum Cage Size: Model 111 Cage
Recommended Cage Size: Model 322 Cage
Your anole’s cage should contain a thermal gradient to help regulate its body temperature. This gradient should consist of a cool end, a warm end, and a basking spot.
- Cool End: 75°
- Warm End: 80°
- Basking Spot: 85°-90°
- Ambient Night Temperature: 65°-70°
All our cages are designed with optimal ventilation and heating in mind. You can regulate and monitor the temperature with a 1000-watt thermostat and probe.
We recommend including light fixtures to provide optimal heat and UVA/UVB lighting, which is essential for their mental and physical health.
Anoles’ natural habitat is wet and tropical, so your cage should mimic that. A cage humidity between 60% and 80% is usually the best range. See the products we offer to monitor humidity!
Is the humidity drop below 60%? You can increase it by spraying mist inside the cage twice daily (once in the morning and once in the evening). Other tools like automatic misters can help maintain cage humidity and make your job much easier.
Substrate and Bedding
Anoles spend a lot of time in trees but the substrate is very important.
It’s wise to have some type of soil or chopped bark. We offer a mold-resistant bark-based substrate designed for humidity-loving animals. A primary benefit is that it holds moisture and slowly releases it to maintain humidity. Some anole owners also use peat moss to mimic their natural environment and provide adequate moisture.
You may need to clean it somewhat frequently. Spot clean feces from the enclosure each day and the substrate shouldn’t have to be replaced for a few months.
Some owners use paper towels as a substrate. Some benefits are that it’s easy to clean, easy to replace, and it’s cost-effective. However, it doesn’t do much for a cage aesthetic, you have to replace it very often, and it doesn’t hold moisture as well as bark or soil-based substrate.
Accessories and Decor
Accessories will be necessary to create a fun home for your lizard. Include small branches and elevated surfaces for your pet to climb on and hide under. An anole will not feel at home if it can’t climb or find shelter.
For the ground level, include at least one form of a hide. Even though anoles often rest on tree branches, a hide on the ground is very useful. If your anole feels scared or stressed, it may find solace in a cool, dark hiding spot on the ground level.
Browse our water bowls and see which works best for your cage. These bowls are made out of the same HDPE material as our cages, so they’re very durable and easy to clean. A fresh dish of water will keep your anole hydrated and contribute to the humidity within the cage.
More Information on Anoles as Pets
Behavior and Temperament
Anoles are diurnal, meaning they’re active during the day and rest through the night. They prefer tropical climates and enjoy basking in the sun to absorb adequate UVA and UVB light.
Anoles are very docile creatures. Unfortunately, their small size makes them susceptible to many predators like snakes, birds, and larger reptiles. In more suburban areas, they’re fed on by cats, dogs, and frogs.
Anoles have a few methods for evading attackers. They hide in trees and tall grasses or use their sticky padded feet to climb vertical surfaces, where most predators can’t compete. They may also “drop their tails”, where the tail detaches from their body, and flails on the ground. This distraction gives them a chance to escape, and their tails will fully grow back in a couple of months.
Like all lizards, they’re territorial and will fight to defend their turf. For this reason, have only one male anole in a single cage. Anoles can live in groups, so one male and multiple females can work, or simply all females. But never more than one male!
Anoles are insectivores, so they don’t need plants for nutrients.
In the wild, they will consume small insects, crickets, spiders, flies, and beetles. These invertebrates provide anoles with adequate protein and other nutrients to survive.
How to Properly Feed
Feeding anoles in captivity is pretty basic, as their diet will consist mainly of crickets. Also, consider gut-loading feeder insects before you give them to your anole. In other words, you should feed your insects ingredients that are high in calcium. This is a common practice to give reptiles a nutritional boost with each feeding.
Feed your anole 2-5 small crickets every day. You should also dust your anole’s food with a calcium reptile supplement. Reptiles need to intake D3 vitamins, which come from UV rays, and then convert them to calcium in their bodies. The extra supplement is needed because captive reptiles don’t get enough natural sunlight.
As a treat, you can provide your anole with mealworms, phoenix worms, and hornworms once or twice a week. You should also brush these with a calcium powder supplement.
And finally, include a shallow bowl of fresh water in the cage. Chances are, your anole will step in or defecate in the bowl, so try to clean it and replace the water, daily.
Design Your Anole Enclosure
Please let us know if you have any questions about enclosure designs and customizable options.
Looking for a more realistic interior? You can select a scenic backdrop from our list, or we can custom-make one for you. We also offer many accessories to ensure your pet’s comfort and entertainment.