The Complete Anole Care Guide

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If you’ve landed on this page, then chances are you’re considering buying an anole to keep as a pet. Great choice! Anoles make great pets, and are easy to care for, even for beginner lizard owners.

However, it’s always wise to do your research and learn everything there is to know about anole care before you decide to buy. After all, there are several things you will need in order to care for your pet anole properly.

On this page, you’ll learn everything that you need to know about keeping an anole lizard as a pet. This includes what to feed them, how to create the perfect habitat for them, and even the best place to buy anoles online. Let’s jump in!

Basic Facts About Anole Lizards

If you’ve never owned an anole lizard before – or have never seen one for that matter – then there are some basic facts you should know:

  • Anoles Are Great Beginner Pets – Anole lizards are known for being great beginner pets for those new to keeping lizards. They are affordable, easy to care for, and have great personalities.
  • Anoles Are Commonly-Kept As Pets – Of all the different kinds of lizards that can be kept as pets, anoles are among the most common. This is because they are easy to care for and are sold by most pet stores. 
  • Anoles Are Insectivores – One of the things that makes anoles such great beginner pets is that their diet is simple. All you need is to keep a supply of small insects, such as crickets or worms.
  • Pet Anoles Can Live for Over 5 Years – While wild anoles only tend to live a couple of years, whether due to predation or disease, captive anoles can live much longer. A well-cared for anole can easily live for over 5 years.

Different Types of Anoles

If you’re thinking about buying an anole online to keep as a pet — you should! They are great beginner pets, are easy to care for, and are one of the cheapest reptiles you can buy and maintain.

And the best part is that you will have multiple buying options as there are several different types of anole lizards.  Here is a list of the three most common types of anoles kept as pets, including:

  • Brown anoles
  • Green anoles
  • Knight anoles

Of these three types, the brown anole is the most common. They are also the largest, which means they require more food and space. Brown anoles are also the most aggressive type of anole lizard. However, they can be tamed with regular handling. They also do not contain any venom, and pose no harm to a human if bitten.

Green anoles are the next most popular type of pet anole. They are smaller than brown anoles and therefore require less food and space. They are also not as aggressive, making them a good option for first-time reptile owners. However, be careful when taking them out of their enclosure for cleaning as they are very fast creatures.

Lastly, knight anoles are the least common type of pet anole. They are the largest species of anole and can grow up to two feet long. They are also the most aggressive type, so they are not recommended for first-time reptile owners.

What to Know About Anole Behavior

Similar to any other pet you decide to own and care for, it’s important to be able to understand their behaviors and different social cues. When it comes to owning a pet anole, you will find a lot of personality packed into one small lizard.

So, what type of behaviors should you expect from a pet anole? And how can you tell if your anole is a happy, healthy lizard?

The best way to tell if your anole is happy and healthy is to make sure they are eating and going to the bathroom regularly. Not seeing your anole make any strange or odd movements is a great sign they are doing well.

You may also catch them zooming around in their enclosure, which is another sign they are happy and healthy.

pet anole lizard care

If you have more than one pet anole in the same enclosure, then one of the most common behaviors you will see from your anole is what is called “bobbing”. This is when your anole lifts its head up and down in a quick, jerky motion. This is usually done as a way to communicate with other anoles, and it’s also thought to be a way to intimidate potential predators. If you see your anole doing this behavior around other anoles, it’s likely that they are trying to establish their dominance in the group.

You may also see your anole “pushing” off of surfaces with its feet. This behavior is often seen when an anole is trying to get away from something it perceives as a threat.

If you see your anole shaking its head back and forth, it is likely trying to get rid of water that has gotten into its ear canal. This is a perfectly normal behavior and nothing to be concerned about.

One behavior that can be cause for concern is if you see your anole gaping. Gaping is when your anole opens its mouth wide and breathes heavily. This can be a sign of a respiratory infection or other health problem, so if you see your anole gaping, it’s important to take them to the vet right away.

Generally speaking, a happy anole will be active and have a good appetite. If you notice that your anole is not eating or is less active than usual, it may be a sign of a health problem and you should take them to the vet.

An anole that is stressed or unhappy may also exhibit some of the following behaviors:

  • Staying still for long periods of time
  • Hiding often
  • Refusing to eat
  • Sleeping more than usual

If you notice any of these behaviors in your anole, it’s important to try to figure out what is causing the stress or unhappiness. Maybe their enclosure is too small, or there are too many other anoles in the same space. Or, it could be a sign of a health problem. If you can’t figure out what is causing the stress, it’s best to take your anole to the vet so they can check for any health problems.

Building the Best Anole Habitat

Knowing how to set up a proper habitat for your pet anole is the only way to guarantee their safety and good health. And there are many things you need to consider when it comes to creating their enclosure, including:

  • Tank size
  • Lighting
  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Substrate
  • Decorations

Tank Size

If you’re planning on keeping just one anole, then a 10-gallon tank will do just fine. If you plan to keep more than one, then we would recommend upgrading to a 20-gallon tank.


Anoles require a basking spot that has an air temperature between 82-88 degrees Fahrenheit and a basking spot temperature of 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit. They also need 12-14 hours of light every day, so you’ll need to provide them with a full spectrum reptile bulb.

This gives you many options to choose from. The lighting for anoles should always be placed at the top of their enclosure and should not be touching any surface that could be considered flammable.


The ambient air temperature in your anole’s habitat should be between 72-80 degrees Fahrenheit. You can create this temperature by using an under tank heater, an incandescent light bulb, or a ceramic heat emitter.


Your anole needs a humidity level of 60%-80%. You can increase the humidity level by misting their enclosure with water or using a humidifier. If you’re misting their enclosure manually, aim to do this 2-3 times per day.


The substrate is the material you use to line the bottom of your anole’s enclosure. The most popular substrates are cypress mulch, coco fiber, and soil. Each has its own pros and cons, so it’s important to do your research before making a decision.

Try and choose one that is good at retaining moisture. This will help you keep a proper humidity level inside the enclosure, and can make cleaning an easier process for you.


Your anole will also need some decorations in their habitat. This includes branches for them to climb on, hiding spots, and live plants. Be sure to use safe materials that won’t harm your anole if they decide to chew on them.

You should include a basking rock that is designed to retain heat. Your anole lizard will enjoy resting on this rock to help regulate its temperature.

Recommended Anole Habitat Products

Looking for some quick recommendations for the best products to build the perfect anole habitat? Here are some of our favorite suppliers:

Anole Diet

Just like any other type of pet lizard, you will need to make sure you’re providing your pet anole with the proper diet. An anole lizard diet should primarily consist of small insects, as they are insectivores and will only notice prey when it’s moving around close to them.

Some common insects that anoles are known to feed on include:

  • Crickets
  • Worms
  • Spiders
  • Flies
  • Small beetles
  • Ant
  • Termites

When it comes to buying anole food online or in stores, your best bet is to buy crickets and mealworms. These insects are both cheap and great sources of protein for your anole lizard.

anole lizard eating

When your anole is still young and growing, aim to feed them 2-3 times per day. If you are feeding them crickets, this means 2-3 crickets per day. Once they’re in adult form, you can cut back to feeding them 2-3 times every other day. Always make sure that the insects you give them are small enough for them to safely swallow.

We also recommend a method known as gut loading. This is when you feed your insects highly-nutritional food so that some of that nutrition is passed along to your pet. You can buy gut-loaded insects online, but it may be cheaper to house your own crickets, worms, or other insects and gut load them yourself.

Buying Anoles Online

If you’ve never purchased a live animal online before, then you’re likely wondering how the whole process works. Luckily, this is very simple, and the only thing you need to do to ensure your pet’s safety is choose a reputable vendor.

The first step to buying a pet anole online is choosing a vendor. Feel free to refer to our list of top-rated online pet stores at the top of this page. We highly recommend any from this list, as they have all passed our thorough review process and have been tested to ensure they treat their animals with care and respect.

Once you’ve selected a vendor, you can begin browsing their site for the types and colors of anoles they have available. Some sites even have a big enough selection to allow you to choose a gender. Once you’ve decided on which ones you want, add them to your cart and check out.

Once your pet anole is ordered, you will be given an email confirmation with an estimated arrival date. Keep in mind that a live animal is being shipped to you, so you should always do your best to be available on the day it arrives.

Your pet will be shipped in a safe container that also contains enough food and water to last them the trip. Most of these vendors come with a live arrival guarantee, so don’t worry about feeling like you are making an animal suffer.

Once your pet has arrived, safely unpackage them and transfer them into the enclosure and habitat you have prepared for them. Once that step is complete, you are all set and are officially the owner of a new pet anole!

To learn more about the process for buying anoles online–among other reptiles–check out our comprehensive guide!

Anole Care FAQs

Do Anole Lizards Make Good Pets?

Yes, anole lizards make great pets, and are highly recommended for first-time lizard owners. They are small, friendly, easy to take care of, and can be entertaining to watch in their enclosure. They can also handle occasional, gentle handling, though we recommend avoiding that when possible.

Can You Keep Wild Anoles As Pets?

While there is technically nothing stopping you from keeping wild anoles as pets, we don’t recommend it. Wild anoles can carry diseases or parasites that can easily be avoided when buying from a reputable vendor.

What Do Anole Lizards Eat?

Anole lizards are insectivores, meaning their diet consists of small insects. This includes worms, crickets, flies, moths, and more.

How Big Do Anole Lizards Get?

This depends on the type of anole lizard you get. Green and brown anoles typically grow to be 5-7 inches in length. Meanwhile, other types of anole lizards, such as knight anoles, can grow up to almost 2 feet long.

How Long Do Anoles Live?

Pet anoles can live up to 7 years old. Wild anoles tend to only live for a couple of years. With proper care, you can expect to have your pet anole for at least 5 years or more!

Are Anole Lizards Poisonous?

No, anole lizards are not poisonous, nor are they typically aggressive. In the event that your pet anole does bite you, there’s no need to worry – they pose no harm to either humans or other pets.

Where Can I Buy An Anole Lizard Online?

There are many great vendors out there that sell anoles online, but we would recommend choosing CB Reptiles.

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