A green anole lizard, with his big eyes and bright green hue, is irresistible. If you have one as a pet, you want to hold him and give him all the love. But handing a green anole isn’t like petting a cat or a dog. Green anoles are naturally skittish and require a great deal of care.
Does that mean I’m getting no lovey moments with my new green anole?
Not quite! You only have to tame your insect-eating pet lizard before you can have a true “lizardly” love affair!
So, the question is: how to tame a green anole?
In this article, we have highlighted fail-proof ways of taming a green anole that will help you enjoy some quality time up close with your pet.
Spend time with your green anole lizard and give him treats by hand to make him more comfortable around you. Learn how to hold your pet lizard to gain and maintain his trust. Anoles can drop their tails if mishandled, affecting the confidence they have in you.
How else can I make my Carolina anole comfortable in my presence? Does food help? Are there times I shouldn’t hold him even if he’s in a good mood?
We know there’s a lot you want answers for, and we have them all! Just stick with us through this guide.
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Green Anole Taming Guide
You’re finally taking your green anole (Anolis Carolinensis) home from the pet store. It’s so stunning that you can’t wait to hold it. But before you do, you must tame your new pet.
Taming an anole isn’t an overnight process; it takes knowledge and patience. You need to understand his instincts, know how to impress him and make him feel comfortable around you.
How? I’m just a beginner! Sniffles
Don’t worry; we have a step-by-step guide to help you do it like a pro.
Step 1: Understanding the American Anole Behavior
American anoles, although tiny, are all about drama! Depending on their social situation, they can display an array of behavioral traits from shy to aggressive. So, before you lower your hand in the terrarium to grab your green anole, take a moment to understand his behavior.
We have highlighted a few traits for you below.
Aggressive and Defensive
Male green anoles are the territorial champs. The presence of another male anole can trigger a territorial display, where they extend their pink dewlaps to assert dominance. A female green anole is just as aggressive and quick to attack as a male green anole if her territory is threatened.
Alert and Reactive
Wild green anoles are active and alert during the day. They chill out on branches, bask in the sun, and keep an eye out for food and foes. Green anoles have got mood rings for the skin too! They can go from green to brown if they are frightened or stressed, earning them the “American chameleon” badge. They are also crazy fast, making it hard to catch them.
Scared and Flighty
Adult green anoles prefer isolation. If they aren’t used to your touch, they’ll run to their hideouts and stay there till you leave. A baby green anole will be more comfortable around humans because he’s accustomed to their presence.
Step 2: Give Your Anole Lizard a Comfortable Home
Green anoles are arboreal in nature. That means they love climbing and basking on branches. They are also pretty smart for their size. So, if you want your green anole to believe you care for him, show him. Give him a home that makes him feel comfortable, safe, and pampered.
Here’s what an ideal anole home should have:
- A large terrarium with a secure lid. If you have just one lizard, a 10-gallon terrarium would suffice.
- Heat lamps and UVB bulbs for light and warmth.
- Branches of different sizes and heights.
- Plenty of foliage to hide in.
- 2-3 inches of soil with mulch and leaf litter as substrate.
- Keep the temperature between 74-84°F.
- The humidity should be set at 60-80%.
Green anoles live for around three years in the wild. But if properly cared for, they can survive eight good years in captivity.
Step 3: Allow Your Lizard to Get Acclimated to His New Home
We know you want to cuddle your lizard ASAP, but please take a step back. It’s best if he gets used to his new home first. It’ll do three things:
- Make him feel safe and comfortable
- Trigger his trust in you
- Give you a chance to observe his behavior
What’s wrong with picking him right away?
Do you want to stress out or scare your new reptilian bud? A sudden touch will make him flee to hide until he’s sure you’re no threat. He’ll also get scared if you pick him up too soon. So, let him be on his own for the first few weeks.
Tip: If you have cats at home, keep them away from your lizard’s terrarium. A cat pawing through the glass will make your green anole anxious and stressed.
Step 4: Feed Your Green Anole with Your Hands
Anoles are opportunistic eaters. But they’re also lazy. They’ll sit in their spot, waiting for food to come their way. You can use this to your advantage and feed them right out of your hand. Doing so will establish trust; the anole will associate your hand with food.
What do green anoles eat?
Green anoles are insectivores. They love crickets, flightless fruit flies, grasshoppers, and mealworms. Dust the food with a vitamin supplement before feeding your lizard.
What if my lizard doesn’t eat from my hand?
A green anole might not accept food from your hand right away. If yours doesn’t, drop the food in the tank and let him be. You can try again later.
Step 5: Interact with Your Green Anole Lizard Daily
Your Carolina anole wants to know you just as much as you want to know him. The best way is to interact with him regularly. Talk to your pet softly whenever you bring in food. When cleaning his tank, put your hand inside and do your job no matter how he responds. It’ll assure him that you’re just there to help and not to hurt him.
When you think your green anole is ready, put your hand in the terrarium. See if he approaches you. If he doesn’t come close, pet his head lightly and wait. If he still makes no move, he needs more time. Respect that. Remember, your current target is to create familiarity, not hold him. If he does approach, give him a treat as a reward.
Holding a Green Anole Lizard
Green anoles are tiny, delicate lizards. The males can grow up to 8 inches long, whereas females are 15% shorter at about 5 inches in length. They are skittish and can change color from bright green to brown if they are scared.
As a responsible pet owner, you must learn to handle your anole lizard with care.
But do green anoles even like being held?
Green anoles don’t mind being held. In fact, some have the potential to become quite friendly and social with their owners. They will even eat from their human friend’s hands, chill on their shoulders, and come out for some strolls. But it does take a bit of patience and practice to get there.
Okay, then what’s the right way to pick up a green anole?
Follow these steps, and you’ll do great:
- Make a fist and lower it in the tank.
- Use your dominant hand and gently grasp both sides of your anole’s rib cage with your index finger and thumb.
- Give some extra support with your other hand.
- Once out, put your thumb on top of the anole’s body and your fingers under it.
Here are a few tips to follow when holding a green anole:
Let Him Approach You
Your first move is to put your hand in the tank. That’s it! Make no movement to hold the lizard. If he’s comfortable, he’ll crawl toward you. When he does, pick him up gently, you don’t want to hurt your tiny buddy.
Don’t Apply Too Much Pressure
When you have the lizard in your hand, he’ll try to wiggle. Maybe even nip you if he’s scared. But no matter how he reacts, don’t increase your pressure on his body. He’s delicate, and doing so will injure his bones.
Never Grab a Green Anole by His Tail
Anole tails are sensitive and can break off. Although losing a tail doesn’t do major harm to a green anole, you should avoid being the cause of it. Also, don’t worry; if your anole loses his tail, he’ll regenerate it in sixty days. But it might not be as strong as it originally was.
Always Wash Your Hands Later
Like with any other animal, you must always wash your hands when you’re done loving your pet lizard. Anoles carry Salmonella and other bacteria on their bodies, which can be hazardous to humans. So, keep an antibacterial soap handy and use it!
Green Anole Bites
If you want your red-throated anole to be happy and healthy, you must ace green anole care. It includes holding him right. If you don’t hold your anole lizard properly, he’ll get scared and will probably attack you.
Attack?! Do green anole lizards bite?
Yep, a green anole bites, but only defensively!
Do green anole bites hurt?
A green anole lizard bite is pretty weak and doesn’t do much damage. It’s more like a mild sting or a little pinch unless you’ve got super-sensitive skin. If your green anole bites you, don’t apply force to pull your finger out of his grasp. It’ll damage the poor thing’s jaw.
The Gentle Touch: Earning Your Green Anole’s Trust and Friendship
Green anoles are shy, skittish, and defensive lizards. They take time to warm up to the human touch, but it’s definitely possible to gain their trust and become their human best friends.
If you want your pet lizard to enjoy your company, show him you mean no harm. Set up a cozy terrarium for him, feed him yummy snacks with your hands, and interact with him daily. He’ll come around eventually.
Did you find the information in this article helpful?
At Oddly Cute Pets, we strive to provide our reptile pet parents with the best advice and tips. If you want more information on other reptiles, including corn snakes and turtles, head to our website. We’re sure you’ll find answers to your queries there.
Thanks for reading.