What Do Anoles Eat?

Updated: June 1, 2022 by Jennifer Munsell

What do anoles eat

What do anoles eat in the wild and how would this help you know what to feed them at home to give them the best chance to thrive? We’ve got everything you need to know in our complete guide to how to feed your green anole lizard.

Feeding your anole clean and healthy food that is bioavailable and appropriate for them will make a huge difference when it comes to whether your anole thrives or just survives. We’ll look at what anoles eat as their main source of protein and cover some supplements that you can use to ensure their good health.

What Are Anoles?

Anoles are small lizards at only around 5 to 8 inches long. They are either primarily green or brown in color and make popular household reptiles. They have white bellies and lips and eyes that can move independently of one another that are surrounded by a thin turquoise border.

Anoles have a distinctive dewlap, which is a flap of skin that extends from the throat. This is more prominent in males than females and has a distinctive pink color.

The typical anole has a sharp nose and narrow head that sits on a long, slender body with a skinny tail. They are mostly arboreal and live in trees in warm to temperate areas like Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, and the Florida Keys. Their little foot pads are ideal for climbing. They tend to sunbathe in the summer and hide under tree bark to stay warm in the winter.

Anoles reproduce in the warmer months, with the females laying single, round eggs in moist locations. Babies look like miniature versions of adult anoles.

There are 436 species in the genus Anolis, but the most popular species to have as a pet is Anolis carolinensis, also known as green anole, although they do come in shades of brown as well. This species is what we’ll be focusing on for the rest of this article

Looking for a name for your green anole? Check out our recommendations here.

What Do Green Anole Lizards Eat in the Wild?

In the wild, green anoles are insectivores. They eat a wide range of small insects and arthropods, such as spiders, flies, crickets, small beetles, moths, butterflies, small slugs, worms, ants, and termites. They are skilled hunters, but like many lizards, they can only spot prey when it is moving. They are also known to occasionally eat baby lizards from other species, such as skinks, but this is not typical behavior.

Anoles don’t eat any kind of plant matter in the wild, and they have difficulty digesting food other than insects. However, they get most of their hydration from drinking dew off plants.

What Do Green Anole Lizards Eat in the Wild?

What Do Green Anoles Eat in Captivity?

If you are keeping a green anole at home, you should mimic their diet in the wild as closely as possible. You’ll need to feed them insects rather than plants or other sources of protein.

Small Insects

Ideally, this means insects that are small enough to fit inside their mouth for easy munching. It is also a good idea to add some variety to their food to keep them stimulated. For example, a mix of grasshoppers, crickets, and small beetles is recommended. Your anole should be eating two to three insects per day depending on their size.

Treat Worms

If you want to include some “live treats” in your green anole’s diet, add mealworms or waxworms. Don’t feed your anole these too often, though, as while your lizard will enjoy them, they don’t contain much in terms of nutritional value. If your scaly pet eats them too often, they can cause indigestion. What’s more, mealworms and waxworms are high in fat, which can lead to obesity.

Calcium

Dust their food with a vitamin and mineral supplement to ensure your anole is getting all the nutrients they need. While they benefit from a range of vitamins and minerals, the most important are calcium and vitamin D3 for bone, muscle, and digestive health.

There is lots of phosphorus in an anole’s diet, but in order to digest that phosphorus, they need to have enough calcium in their system. Ideally, there should be at least twice as much calcium as phosphorus in their diet. If they don’t have enough dietary calcium, then their metabolism can steal calcium from their bones, which is not good news. Calcium deficiencies can lead to metabolic bone disease.

Vitamin D

Anoles also benefit from an occasional vitamin D boost, as they probably aren’t getting quite enough natural sunlight in your home. If you are using a UVB light, however, this is not necessary, and giving them an extra vitamin D supplement in this case can overload their system. If you aren’t using a UVB light for their enclosure, then they will need a vitamin D3 supplement. Choose a supplement with less than 23,000 IU per kilogram to ensure your lizard is not overdosing on vitamin D.

Don’t forget to mist water onto the leaves in their terrarium regularly to give your anole the moisture and hydration they need. They are unlikely to drink standing water left in their space.

Commercial Green Anole Food

To give your anole the most nutritious food possible, you should find a local insect breeder who can provide you with fresh (live) food bred in a healthy environment. Some pet shops also now carry a variety of live feeder insects.

Commercial Green Anole Food

But that’s not always possible, as shortages happen and live insects aren’t always accessible, so it is a good idea to also have a supply of dried and freeze-dried insects to keep your lizard nourished.

Here are some of our favorite options you can easily get online:.

Fluker’s Freeze-Dried Crickets or Grasshoppers

Fluker's 72025 Freeze Dried Crickets, 1.2oz

These are freeze-dried crickets and grasshoppers bred in the United States. Buy in bulk from Amazon to save.

Sequoia Dried Crickets

Dried Crickets Pet Food for Chickens, Ducks, Wild Birds, Lizard,Turtles, Hamsters, Fish, Chameleon and Hedgehogs (8OZ)

These are whole, freeze-dried crickets. The freeze-drying process locks in nutrients and ensures that they have a long shelf life. These crickets are fed a diet of vegetables and cereals that is free of animal matter.

TradeKing Natural Dried Crickets

TradeKing Natural Dried Crickets - Food for Bearded Dragons, Wild Birds, Chicken, Fish, & Reptiles - (8 oz Resealable Bag) - Veterinary Certified

These crickets are dried to retain their nutritional value and make them a bit less icky to handle if you are squeamish about insects. The crickets are fed a diet of leafy greens and fruits.

Best Green Anole Supplements

It is a good idea to use a vitamin and mineral supplement that you can spray or dust on your anole’s food to ensure they are getting all the nutrients that they need. All supplements should contain calcium as well as safe levels of vitamin D3.

Check out these picks!

Zilla Reptile Health Supplies Supplement Food Spray & Calcium Supplement

Zilla Reptile Health Supplies Vitamin Supplement Food Spray, 8-Ounce

Spray these two supplements on your anole’s food for a few seconds before every meal for optimal health. The calcium supplement will give them all the extra calcium they need to protect their bones. The second formula contains vitamins C, B1, B2, B6, B12, D3, niacin, folic acid, and beta carotene, which is essential for calcium metabolism in your lizard.

Fluker’s Calcium Reptile Supplement with added Vitamin D3

Fluker's Calcium Reptile Supplement with added Vitamin D3 - 4oz.

This formula can be sprinkled on your lizard’s food and provides calcium without adding any additional phosphorus for their bodies to battle with. It is recommended for daily use, but be sure to carefully control portions, since it is high in vitamin D3.

Zoo Med Repti-Calcium Supplement

Zoo Med Reptile Calcium with Vitamin D3, 8-Ounce

Calcium is the most important supplement for your anole, and this formula provides it in a highly safe and bioavailable form perfect for your lizard. It also contains safe levels of vitamin D3 to provide your pet with an extra boost.

FAQs About the Green Anole Diet

Do green anoles eat fruit?

Green anoles are insectivores, which means fruit has no nutritional value for them. They might eat a small amount of fruit if you give it to them, but it should be an occasional treat, as it can cause indigestion.

What can I feed my anole besides bugs?

Waxworms can be a nice addition to your anole’s diet, but these fatty worms should only be given to them in moderation. Because waxworms are so high in fat, they can lead to obesity in your lizard. Too much fat in their diet can also cause indigestion since it does not contain any nutritional value.

Do green anoles drink water?

Green anoles do drink water, but they are unlikely to drink standing water. They are accustomed to drinking dew off leaves in the wild. If you mist water onto the plants in their tank, they will lick the droplets off the leaves.

How long can anoles live without food?

Adult green anoles can go without food for as long as two months, but this time is shorter at only a week or so for younger lizards. When it comes to hydration, anoles of all sizes and ages can only go a few days without water.

Now You Know What Green Anoles Eat… What’s Next?

When you bring a wild animal into your home, you need to ensure that you provide them with a habitat and diet that mimics their life in the wild or they won’t thrive. For a green anole, this means providing them with a fresh insects reinforced with calcium and vitamin D3 supplements.

While it is best to get fresh insects from a reliable local dealer, you should also have a stash of dried insects to feed your green anole lizard when fresh ones aren’t available. You’ll find our top recommendations above.

Do you have experience caring for a green anole? Share your tips with the community in the comments section below.

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