What to feed a baby green anole lizard

Anole Care | Wilmette Pet Center

Anole: Anolis carolinenis

Adult Size
6+”, males up to 8:

Life Span
4 Years, possibly longer in captivity

Male/Female Differences
Males anoles are larger than females and have a dewlap, a flap of skin at the base of the throat. Males have a more oblong skull than a female does.

Males fight for territory, so keep a few females for each male. Mixes well with other lizards or amphibians, like tree frogs, that have the same needs and are not large enough to eat them.

Southeastern United States.

Hot and humid tree tops and bushes.

Day Cycle
Crepuscular, being more active in the morning and the evening.

Maintain a temperature of 80 degrees or higher. Low temperatures adversely effect their energy and digestion. Use a combination of a heating pad and basking lamps to
provide daytime heat, and just the heating pad at night to maintain at least 70 degrees.

UVB lighting is needed to stimulate a natural environment, to stimulate hunger, and to help assimilate calcium and vitamin D3. Provide a small basking lamp above branches to allow them to warm up.

Keep humid; either mist with a spray bottle several times a day or install an automatic misting device. Providing a waterfall not only provides a drinking place for the anole but also increases humidity.

These small fast lizards make their home among the leaves and vines of trees.

Substrate is less important here as these lizards will spend almost all of their time in the plants or on the walls. Gravel can be used, as it is easy to clean, while shredded coconut bark helps maintain humidity. Cage carpet can be used as it
is easy to clean and reduces mites. Cover with moist moss to maintain humidity.

Hiding Place/Den
Provide plenty of hiding places with plants, either real or artificial, rocks, wood, vines, or even baffles made of cage carpet.

Cage Type
Glass terrariums are ideal for anoles, as they hold in humidity and are easy to clean. It should be large enough to create plenty of hiding places. Aquariums can be used, too.

Anoles are insectivores, so feed small crickets, a few mealworms, and flightless fruit flies. Anoles are also nectar drinkers, and can be fed small pieces of fruit and small amounts of fruit puree, such as baby food. These foods must be removed soon or they will attract fruit flies (which can be eaten by the anoles).

Additional calcium and vitamin powder can be lightly dusted over the crickets occasionally – it is recommended to alternate days of vitamin powder and calcium powder. Since crickets are naturally high in phosphorus, choose a
calcium powder that lacks that mineral.

Diet Precautions
Too much phosphorus, as excess phosphorus will be absorbed instead of calcium. Avoid too many mealworms, as these are hard to digest.

Feed about 3 small crickets a day. Gut load the crickets with nutritious cricket food to give additional vitamins and minerals to your anole.

Water Source
Anoles rarely drink from water bowls. Mist several times a day or use a slow drip system to mimic the dew they drink in the wild. A waterfall also provides a drinking place.

Anoles need humidity to help shed their skins. Their grooming needs are minimal.

Oral and Foot Care
Toes can get caught in loose strands of cage carpeting; check your cage carpet when you clean it. Anoles can develop mouth rot from unsanitary conditions.

Proper Handling
Most anoles are nervous and very fast, making them difficult to hold. When tame and used to you, they can sit in your hand. Handle gently, as their tale can snap off as a defense mechanism.

Habitat Maintenance
Clean the cage weekly, spot clean soiled areas daily.

Health Concerns
Dehydration is a risk as these lizards need moisture.

What Do Baby Anoles Eat? (Complete Guide)

So, you got yourself a baby green anole and you have no idea what to feed it.

Baby anole lizards are just a wee under 2 inches in size.

And their mouth is less than a few centimeters at this point!

They don’t have that big, smiling face to gargle down large items (yet).

Then what are you supposed to feed your baby lizard at this point? Miniature food? Kind of.

Let’s dig in and find out!

Table of Contents

What can I feed my baby green anole?

So, what do these lizards eat when they’re small?

Baby anoles should be fed small, live insects. Preferably, they should be gut-loaded pinhead crickets.

These contain a delicious glob of nutrients anoles need to develop a proper skeletal system.

After all, the baby anole will continue to grow from 2 inches to around 5 inches, where it’ll be considered to be an adult.

These baby crickets are often called “pinhead crickets,” which is referring to their small size. You may see them sold as miniature, mini, or small crickets in pet stores.

Since they’re so small, your newborn anole can easily fit them inside their mouths. It’ll also help introduce it to live prey, hunting and foraging, and prey stalking.

Crickets should be gut-loaded (fed a diet that’s high in beneficial nutrients) regardless of size.

Crickets are the staple that both newborns and adults will gladly eat and should make up the majority of their live prey requirement. They should also be dusted with high-quality calcium.

Check the label for dosage, frequency, and application.

Note that reptile calcium is NOT to be used every feeding. This is a supplement that should only be used once in a while, based on the label.

Where you get the food matters

Where you get your live crickets matters.

Most large chain pet stores all source them from a cricket mill.

While this is generally safe, if there were to be a disease, fungi, or bacteria that broke out, your anole may be the end recipient of them.

These crickets are bred with a low quality diet and don’t come gut loaded as well, so you’ll want to gut-load them first before you feed.

They have a poor nutrient density out of the store, so it’s your job to raise them for a week or so and load their insides up with nutritious foods.

Gut-loading is a different topic altogether that you can find more info about on this site.

How often do baby anoles eat?Their mouths are just too cute.

Baby anoles (2-3 inches in size) should be fed on a daily schedule.

Do NOT just toss in random food at random times. And DEFINITELY don’t just feed without measuring the amount of food you’re giving it.

You can count by number or weight or volume. This is helpful for determinig if your anole is stressed, as they eat less when they are.

For example, if you notice that your anole usually eats 3 crickets within 3 minutes, but then it suddenly drops to 1 cricket every hour, you may suspect that it’s stressed.

To get these precise and handy estimates, you need to get a ballpark feeling of how much your anole eats and how quickly it does.

Some owners will leave behind a large amount of food in a food dish or directly into the terrarium.

Avoid doing this, because it builds a poor appetite habit and teaches them not to eat opportunistically (since food is always available).

Feed 2-3 pinhead crickets daily, and assess how quickly it eats them.

Crickets should be gut-loaded and calcium dust should be added 2-3 times per week.

If it devours the food, you can increase it by one until it starts to take its time.

When it avoids the food, you know it’s reached the limit.

The trick is to feed it one less cricket than when it becomes full. This is why you should feed at the same time every day so you can experiment, rather than feeding it until full randomly.

Think about anoles in the wild- they don’t have food available 24/7. Try to reproduce this in the habitat by creating an environment where food is scarce but available like in nature.

The same goes for your tank setup. It should only have what’s available in the wild. Automatic feeders, drip watering systems, and other fancy equipment aren’t necessary.

If your lizard avoids it entirely or misses a feeding, that’s OK.

Offer pinheads every 3 hours past its feeding time until it eats. It may only prefer to eat at night, early morning, or afternoon. It’s all about finding out through trial and error.

You can also give it alternative live foods if it doesn’t seem interested in the pinheads. Variety will help satisfy the nutritional diversity.

Can you overfeed a baby lizard?

Anoles have been known to eat more than they need as they’re not picky eaters.

The more you offer, the more they’ll eat if their appetite has been conditioned correctly. This leads to overfeeding.

Remember the rule- feed one cricket (or whatever you’re using) less than when it starts to slow down pouncing on its prey.

Baby anoles can be fed more often since they’re growing, but overfeeding should still be avoided.

Don’t leave crickets running around the terrarium if possible.

Although this may help build hunting skills, live prey will poop and pee all over the tank, which can introduce bacterial or viral pathogens to your lizard.

This is especially true if the prey has been housed in a farm (e.g. a cricket farm). It also reduces the risk for injury.

Do I need to worry about live prey hurting my anole?

Pinhead crickets also have a VERY low chance of doing any harm to your anole.

So even if yours is extremely shy or still learning to catch its food, the tiny cricket won’t be able to do any damage. The major sources of damage come from the eyes.

Other than that, there’s not much to worry about- even if your anole sleeps with live pinheads running around.

Mealworms are harmless. They won’t be able to do anything to your anole other than provide a low-nutrient snack.

Remember to NOT rely on just mealworms and only use them as a supplement to mix up the diet.

What can I feed my baby lizard besides bugs?They’re not picky, so be careful about overfeeding. Don’t give in.

If your anole doesn’t eat and refuses the food, you can offer alternatives to crickets.

It’s also good practice in general to vary the diet so it gets as many nutrients from various foods as possible.

Crickets don’t supply everything it needs to thrive- it only has as much as you gut load it with. and even then, the food has been digested inside the cricket so it’s not as bioavailable as feeding fresh, wholesome pieces.

Anolis carolinensis is an opportunistic feeder, meaning that it eats whenever the opportunity presents itself. In the wild, they bask and forage for food. If food is available, it’ll eat.

This makes it a balancing act to provide enough food, but not overfeed.

You can experiment with the following live foods instead of crickets:

  • Waxworms
  • Butterworms
  • Small spiders
  • Earthworms
  • Fruit flies
  • Small caterpillars
  • Small cockroaches
  • Ladybugs
  • Moths
  • Mosquitoes
  • Small grasshoppers
  • Mealworms (should be avoided because it contains little nutritional value)
  • Sowbugs (roly polys)
  • Slugs
  • Snails
  • Spiders

Some people will feed whatever they have around the house, such as maggots, flies, or even cockroaches (dubia roaches being very popular).

This can introduce harmful pathogens to the baby’s body, so it should be avoided unless you’re completely sure it’s “diet-approved.”

There are too many different household pests to get a checklist going, so you need to do your due diligence if you decide to go this route.

But you must gut load them and supplement them with calcium dust weekly. Consider rotating the food to keep it interesting to the baby anole.

Fruits and vegetables can be offered, but shouldn’t be the staple of the baby anole’s diet.

You can supplement with these foods:

  • Apple slices
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Grapes
  • Honeydew
  • Peaches
  • Bananas
  • Carrots
  • Kale (without stalk)
  • Lettuce (no nutritional value)
  • Oranges
  • Zucchini

These are to be used as treats. They should never replace the protein they need to grow.

Always cut down fruits and veggies to small, manageable bites for the baby lizard to consume. If it refuses, do not leave it in the vivarium. Remove it and dispose of it.

Reduce sizes by slicing or dicing it to pieces less than a centimeter to be safe. This will reduce the chance of impaction.

Leftover fruits or veggies can be kept in the fridge for later feeding.

Foods that were offered, but not eaten, should be disposed of. Don’t leave fresh fruits or veggies to rot. This will introduce bacteria and mold which can hurt your lizard.

Be sure to wash them before feeding, just as you would for yourself. Remove all seeds, rinds, or indigestible parts.

Organic baby food can also be used sparingly because it’s easy to chew and nutritious.

But again, only as a treat. A baby anole’s diet should consist of protein first, calcium second, and fruits/veggies last. Feed your lizard the right portions.

Wild anoles don’t eat fruit but may extract flower nectar rarely. So they don’t eat this in nature.

When in doubt, think if your reptile would be doing whatever in the wild.

No? Then you shouldn’t try to replicate it in captivity.

Thus, you should never offer them fruits or veggies in frequent numbers.

It’s just like humans- we shouldn’t be eating desserts as our main course! But a little bit in moderation is OK.

Can baby anoles eat ants?

Yes, baby lizards are capable of eating household common ants without any issue.

If you can catch some live ones, they make good practice targets for them to pounce on.

Since they’re so small, your lizard may have difficulty seeing it.

Even though they can eat them, you should avoid using ants as the main source of food. They’re no substitute for a gut-loaded meal but can make a tasty treat to keep the food intake varied.

Common ants are high in protein, which makes up about 40% of their nutritional value. They also have a wide variety of essential minerals like zinc, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Feed anywhere from 3-7 ants per day.

Make sure that you’re feeding them the typical ant and not termites, fire ants, or red ants.

The ant should be narrow at the waist and less than a centimeter in size. Adult anoles (greater than 5 inches) can tolerate bigger ants.

Carpenter ants are fine to feed in small quantities.

But remember- these don’t replace a gut-loaded dubia cockroach or pinhead cricket! No sir.

Feed your baby lizard the right foodsThanks for taking care of your baby anole.

Now you should have a clearer understanding of what you can feed your baby anole (and what not to feed).

Stick with the basics that you plan to feed it as it grows into an adult anole over time so it gets used to them.

Calcium dusted, gut-loaded crickets will always be appreciated.

Toss in some fruits, veggies, and maybe baby food. Then you’re set for a nice balanced anole diet.

That’s all there is to it. Easy, right?

What do you think? Have any questions? Post a comment and ask away!

Further reading


What do lizards eat at home

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A lizard as a pet is not uncommon these days. However, choosing a reptile suitable for keeping in an apartment and properly equipping its home is only part of the concern. Proper nutrition is essential for proper growth and development. But how to do that? After all, different types of lizards eat differently. Let's figure it out.


  • What lizards eat in nature
  • What kind of animal food can be used at home
  • What kind of plant food can be used at home
  • Nutritional formula and supplements
  • How to feed and water
  • What not to feed
  • Each species has its own food

What lizards eat in nature

Most of them are carnivores and feed on insects, worms and small vertebrates.

  • Larger lizards sometimes hunt fish, they can catch other lizards, amphibians, snakes, birds, mammals. nine0009
  • They are not averse to eating bird eggs.
  • Sometimes they go on a voluntary diet, eating only plant foods for a while.

There are much fewer herbivorous reptiles than predators, and they are not "pure" vegetarians, as they periodically switch to a carnivorous diet.

Thus, most of these creatures can be considered omnivores.

Which animal food can be used at home

This type of food should form the bulk of the diet. You can use flies, bloodworms, grasshoppers, locusts, earthworms. So that they do not scatter around the terrarium, it is better to give them with tweezers.

  • Meal worms are also useful (they first need to crush the head with tweezers).
  • Some lizards do not disdain Maybugs. But in general, it is undesirable to feed beetles, since they have too hard cover.
  • Cockroaches are also not recommended as food, as they are too nimble. nine0009
  • You can try to give American ones, after tearing off their paws.

If the lizard is large, then mice, small rats and other rodents, newly hatched chicks will do. Infrequently, you can give small or chopped fish, lean raw meat without bones, eggs of birds.

Connoisseurs also advise feeding with cottage cheese left in the feeder, or laid out on plant branches and stones.

Which herbal food can be used at home

This type of food makes up about a third of the total diet. You can treat:

  • Greens - lettuce, parsley, plantain, spinach, clover, dandelion, etc.
  • Vegetables - cabbage, broccoli, zucchini, cucumbers, carrots, raw potatoes (rare).
  • Fruit - apples, pears, melons, grapes, citrus fruits.

Here you can experiment with your pet's preferences.

Nutritional formula and supplements

You can make your own nutrient mix, which lizards love. To do this, you need meat and carrots (1: 1). The meat must be ground in a meat grinder, and the carrots must be grated. Next, mix it all up, add a little lettuce, calcium, vitamin supplements. The nutrient mixture is ready.

Vitamins and minerals are necessary for the health, bright appearance, vitality and liveliness of lizards. They are not given in their pure form, but must be mixed with food.

The most commonly used raw egg shells, calcium glycerophosphate tablets, chalk and specialized reptile preparations are used. nine0003

How to feed and water

Feeders are best used as Petri dishes, that is, they are transparent and look like low cylinders. They are very convenient to give plant foods.

Animal food is given with tweezers or also placed in the feeder. Gastronomic novelties should be introduced gradually, gradually adding to already familiar products, otherwise they may be abandoned.

The frequency of feeding for young lizards is twice a day, and for adults - once. Food is given during the period of greatest activity of the pet during the day or at night. nine0003

Unfinished food is removed from the terrarium. If the lizard refuses to eat, but at the same time it drinks and is active, then there is no need to panic, as it unloads its body.

A drinking bowl is a must in the terrarium. For her, it is better to take the most stable container so that the pet cannot turn it over.

Water should be changed daily to keep it fresh and clean.

Some lizards prefer to lick drops of water from plants, so they will need to be sprayed regularly. nine0003

What not to feed

Of course, these are dishes from the human table, which are absolutely not suitable for lizards.

  • You should not get too carried away with the mealworm, as it loses to other foods in terms of vitamin-mineral ratio.
  • Do not give cockroaches caught in the apartment, on the site, etc., as they can be poisoned.
  • Insects collected in the field are also not a good idea, because they may be laced with pesticides. nine0009
  • Maggot is the easiest to find, but it cannot be given to reptiles categorically, since it has external digestion and lizards are easily poisoned by it.
  • Cabbage should not be given to herbivorous reptiles as it depletes calcium from the body. Also, it is undesirable for pets to give out-of-season vegetables and fruits, since these products often require a high shelf life, therefore they are treated with various chemicals that the animal body may respond negatively to. nine0009

You need to be prepared for the fact that the lizard will not eat immovable food objects, so the insects must be alive or half-dead.

So, we have considered the general issues of feeding lizards in captivity. And now let's briefly go over the preferences of some of the individual species that are most often kept in the home.

Each species has its own food

Agile lizard in natural conditions eats small snakes, spiders, grasshoppers and insects. In captivity, it can be fed flies, crickets, mosquitoes, spiders, cockroaches, flour and earthworms, a nutrient mixture of meat and carrots, fruit and vegetable mixtures. nine0003

Chameleons will eat flies, cockroaches, crickets. Don't forget about vitamin supplements. There is a special dry food on sale, but it is better to resort to it infrequently. You can periodically treat your pet with slices of banana, citrus fruits, grapes.

Geckos only accept live food: spiders, crickets, flies, cockroaches, locusts and others, as well as worms (flour and zoofubuses). Large individuals can be fed with mice and naked rats, as well as quail eggs. In the terrarium, be sure to put water and bird stone powder. Dry vitamins and ground calcium are used as deboning for insects daily, and liquid vitamins are given once every week. Bananas, oranges, marmalade and honey are a delicacy for geckos. nine0003

Moloch (thorny dragon or thorny devil) is difficult to keep at home, but he is found in zoos. This Australian lizard feeds exclusively on ants and can eat 600-2500 of them at a time!

Skinks can be fed the same food insects as for the species listed above, supplemented with snails, pink mice, caterpillars, squid, one-day-old minced chickens, pre-mixed reptile food, and even dry dog ​​food. They will not refuse vegetables, fruits, seeds, buckwheat, rice. Occasionally, you can give beef liver and heart (chicken or beef). nine0003

Iguana is a herbivore and is very picky about food. In nature, it feeds only on the foliage of trees. In captivity, she can and should be given spinach, kale, turnips, broccoli, and other dark green leafy vegetables. The second half of the diet consists of other vegetables, such as carrots, peppers and sweet potatoes, peas, beans and others. Very useful alfalfa in the form of granules (sold in a pet store). Fruits are recommended to be given infrequently and little by little. Vitamin and mineral supplementation is required. nine0003

Varany . It is believed that they are unpretentious and are happy to eat both fresh food for other lizards and stale game. In captivity, they can be given frogs, mice, chickens, small vertebrates, insects, cockroaches, earthworms, fish, pieces of meat, chicken eggs, etc. vegetable food. These curious lizards can be given hawk hawk pupae and larvae, mealworms, pet shop-bought crickets and cockroaches. From plant foods, agamas can be offered leaf lettuce, pumpkin, cucumbers and other vegetables from the list of allowed foods. nine0003

So we found out what lizards eat at home. What can be fed and what is undesirable. We hope that this information will be useful, as a correct and balanced diet directly affects the health and lifespan of these animals.

Video from the owner of the lizard about feeding rules:

What and how to feed the lizard at home

Library / Reptiles / Nutrition / What to feed a lizard

Lizards are conditionally divided into 3 groups: carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores. The diet of the lizard is made up depending on the type and individual needs of the reptile.

Animal food for lizards

Since most lizards are still predators in their natural environment, the lion's share of their diet is live food. Often, reptiles are fed crickets, flies, bloodworms, grasshoppers, locusts, earthworms. Larger lizards are given mice, small rats and other rodents. You can also occasionally feed your pets with small or chopped fish, lean raw boneless meat, bird eggs. Cottage cheese is given as feed additives: it is left in feeders or laid out on stones and branches (for individuals who do not like to go down to the ground). nine0003

It is best to feed live food with tweezers, otherwise the insects will scatter around the terrarium. It is not recommended to feed cockroaches, except perhaps American ones, but they are mobile and fast, so their paws are often torn off before feeding. Meal worms are also useful, they do not feed lizards with beetles, because they have a hard shell. It is recommended to crush the head of the mealworm with tweezers, as it has strong jaws and can damage the mucous membranes. Some species of reptiles also eat adult May beetles. Large lizards also eat newly hatched chicks. nine0003

Vegetable food for lizards

About a third of a lizard's diet is vegetable food. You can offer your pet greens - lettuce, parsley, plantain, spinach, clover, dandelion and more. They eat well reptiles and pieces of vegetables - cabbage, broccoli, zucchini, cucumbers, carrots, sometimes you can give raw potatoes. From fruits, you can give apples, pears, melons, grapes, citrus fruits - experimentally, you can find out which ones your pet likes best.

Vitamin and mineral supplements can be mixed into food: for example, added to fruits or porridge with insects. It is also useful for the lizard to give crushed eggshells, calcium glycerophosphate tablets, chalk, reptile preparations.

How to feed a lizard?

The most convenient way to feed herbal food is from petri dish type feeders. Young lizards are fed 2 times a day, adults have enough one-time feeding.

Learn more