The Carolina anole
Green anole, American anole, red-throated anole
Rotkehlanolis, Amerikanisches Chamäleon (German)
Species: Anolis carolinensis.
The Carolina anole is native to the south-east of the USA. It has also been introduced to the Hawaii. It can be found in the rainforest. It is an arboreal species and hardly ever goes down (only for mating). It likes settling near the residential areas and can even be found in abandoned buildings.
The males can reach 20 cm, females are normally about 15 cm long.
The main colour is bright green and depending on the colour of the substrate, it can change to dark brown. The males have a bright red dewlap. The anoles have flattened bodies, long fingers and an overall elegant look. Their colouring enables them to hide in the leaves so that they are protected from predators and can creep up on to their prey.
The anole’s toes have adhesive pads to facilitate climbing.
The Carolina anole sheds several times a year. They eat their molted skin.
It is a peaceful but agile lizard. It gets used to people and it can be fun to watch. The Carolina anole can get tame and then it can be handled. It doesn’t bite.
When they face danger and cannot run away, the anoles take a threatening posture: they bow their heads, inflate the dewlaps and this makes them look bigger.
The males are territorial and don’t get on. You can keep anoles together with medium size frogs, for example tree frogs.
It is an arboreal species, they hardly ever go down. The Carolina anole is a diurnal lizard: it is active at daytime and at night it sleeps in the scrubs.
They can drop their tails when threatened. The new tail doesn’t get as long or as beautiful as the first one.
The Carolina anole requires a vertical tank since it is an arboreal species. It is best to keep anoles in groups. One male and two-three females require a tank 50х40х60 cm in size; if you have one male and 5-6 females, you will need a 90х45х90 cm tank.
For substrate you can use bark or coconut husks. You can have live plants in the enclosure such as fern, orchids, spiderwort, violets. The plants will help to maintain the necessary level of humidity and provide hiding places for the lizards. Your anoles will also need branches. Grapevine is ideal choice. You can put coconut husks on the bottom of the tank and put the pots on them, or else you can have potting soil covered by moss and fallen leaves.
The Carolina anoles need a water bowl, but not a deep one, or else they can drown. You will have to change the water daily, but you will also have to mist every day, since the anoles like licking drops of water from plants (this way they drink water in the wild).
The ambient temperature should be between 24 and 28*C at daytime and it can reach 29-32*C in the basking spot. At night the temperature should be between 18 and 24*C. It is not recommended to use heat pads; it is better to use heating lamps or reflectors aimed at the basking spot. If the temperature in the enclosure is too low, the anole’s belly becomes dirty gray colour with dark spots.
The air humidity has to be about 75-80%.
The Carolina anole needs 12-14 hours of light per day. UV lamps are a must.
Anoles are insectivores, they eat only live insects. You can feed them with cockroaches, crickets, bee moths’ larvae. The food should be covered with mineral powder. Adult anoles should be fed every second or every third day. Young anoles should eat smaller insects, for example cockroaches, cricket dust and drosophila.
It is a rather small lizard that doesn’t require a large tank.
It is easy to care for.
The Carolina anole easily gets tame and can be fed from tweezers.
They are very fragile so you have to handle them carefully. They can drop their tails.
The anoles need live feed.
These lizards are fun to watch and easy to keep. They are suitable for beginners.
If the level of humidity in the enclosure is not high enough, the anoles can keep some shed skin on and this can lead to necrosis. The molted skin has to be removed with the help of tweezers, but you have to wet it properly first. The prevention is to maintain the appropriate level of humidity in the enclosure.
It is an egg-laying species. Mating season usually starts after the hibernation period: you should gradually decrease the temperature in the enclosure to 20 degrees and the amount of hours of daylight to 10 hours. During this time the lizards get fed rarely. After one month the temperature and the number of hours of daylight should be gradually increased and you should give the lizard a lot of food. Then males start courting females, demonstrates its bright dewlap, and after mating a female lays 1 leatherlike egg into the substrate and buries it. The hatchlings should be fed with small insects, for example cricket larva and drosophila. All the insects should be covered with vitamin and mineral powder. UV light is compulsory.
Life span in captivity averages from 3 to 5 years, maximum 8 years.