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REPTILE / new pets

Anole Care Guide

Tips from home to health to food and fun


6 things to know about your anole

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Size: Anoles can grow to be 8 inches (20 cm) long
  • Lifespan: Anoles can live up to 5 years
  • Behavior: Male anoles are very dominant and territorial
  • Exercise: They love to climb
  • Did You Know: Anoles change color from bright green to brown, yellow or gray depending on their mood and the temperature and humidity of their environment. However, anoles change color much slower than chameleons.

How do I set up my anole's home?

Anoles can live alone or in groups, but there should be no more than 1 male per tank. A male anole may display his dominance by bobbing his head and flaring his dewlap if he encounters a male rival or even if he sees his own reflection.

  • For 1 anole, choose a terrarium that’s a minimum of 10 gallons. Increase the size if there will be more than 1 anole.
  • Because anoles are climbers, the terrarium should be at least 18 inches high, with a screened lid.

What should I put in my anole’s terrarium?

  • Line the bottom of the terrarium with 2 to 3 inches of coconut-fiber, moss or bark bedding. Additional moss can help raise the humidity in the terrarium if necessary. Spot-clean the bedding at least once a week and change it completely once a month.
  • Create a hiding place at the bottom of the tank with natural or artificial rocks or wood.
  • Provide live plants and vertical branches for your anole to climb.
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Heat & light

  • Anoles originate from the southeastern United States and the Caribbean. They require a warm, humid environment.
  • Your anole’s terrarium should be warmer at the top and cooler at the bottom. By day, keep the temperature at the top of the terrarium between 85 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit (29 to 32 Celsius) and the temperature at the bottom of the terrarium between 75 and 85 F (24 to 29 C). At night, the whole tank should be 65 to 75 F (18 to 24 C).
  • Use a heat bulb or ceramic heat emitter to keep the warm part of the tank at the correct temperature.
  • Monitor the temperature of the habitat with 2 thermometers, one at the top and one at the bottom.
  • Habitat humidity should be between 60% and 80%. Use a hygrometer (a humidity gauge) to keep track. Create and maintain humidity by keeping the anole’s water dish full and by misting your pet and the habitat 2 to 3 times a day. Or use an automatic fogger, mister or drip system. You can also utilize moisture retaining substrate such as coconut fiber and moss.
  • Anoles are diurnal, meaning they’re active during the day. Install a UVA/UVB bulb in the terrarium to mimic sunlight for about 12 hours daily.
  • At night, switch to a night-specific bulb so you can watch your pet with minimum disturbance.
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What do anoles eat?

Anoles are insectivores. Crickets should make up their primary diet, supplemented once or twice a week with mealworms or waxworms.

  • Feed anoles 2 to 5 crickets daily. Insects should be no more than half as big as the anole’s head.
  • Dust your anole’s food 2 to 3 times a week with a calcium supplement and once a week with a multivitamin.
  • Provide a shallow dish of water. (Anoles will drink from this and also lick moisture from their skin and habitat.) Refresh the water daily.

How do I keep my anole healthy?

Try not to handle new anoles for 3 or 4 days to give them a chance to get acclimated to their new surroundings. Whether your anole is new or settled-in, be sure to contact a vet if you notice any of these symptoms of illness or distress:

  • Avoidance of the basking area; more time spent hiding
  • Eating or drinking less; weight loss
  • Swollen joints
  • Discharge from the eyes, nose or mouth
  • Runny droppings for more than two days
  • Shedding problems; discolored skin


  • Use caution when handling pets and remember they may bite (especially when stressed).
  • Supervise children around pets.
  • ALL ANIMALS can potentially carry viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic diseases contagious to humans.
  • Thoroughly wash your hands with warm, soapy water before and after contact with any pet or its habitat.
  • Adults should assist children with hand washing after contact with a pet, its habitat or aquarium water.


Pets purchased at PetSmart are part of our exclusive Vet Assured™ program, designed by PetSmart veterinarians to help improve the health and well being of our pets.
Our vendors meet a high standard in caring for pets and screening them for common illnesses. This program also includes specific standards for in-store pet care.


If your pet becomes ill during the initial 14-day period, or if you’re not satisfied for any reason, PetSmart will gladly replace the pet or refund the purchase price.