Common Health Issues Of Green Anoles Lizards

The Green Anole lizard (American Cameleon) has many common health problems with easily identifiable symptoms that owners can diagnose, treat, and prevent.

The Green Anole is one of the most common pets in the United States, and is the most common pet lizard. Also known as the American Chameleon, Green Anoles are small lizards between 4 and 8 inches long that can change color between a dark brown and a bright green. Green Anoles are so popular because they are very inexpensive to purchase and care for, but as a result, many Green Anoles are in poor health and may be difficult to keep alive for a long period of time.

The most common symptom of ill health in Green Anoles is a lack of color change. Green Anoles can only turn bright green when they are receiving a proper balance of nutrients. Malnourished Green Anoles will tend to remain dark brown even when they are basking in sunlight and lying on green leaves. Skin color that is a mottled mix of bright green and dark brown spots is not necessarily a bad sign, as long as it is temporary condition during color changes. If the lizard's skin remains this mixture for long periods of time, it is also a symptom of malnourishment. Green Anoles can become malnourished even if they seem to be eating plenty, because they might not be receiving appropriate quantities of raw nutrients. This can be fixed by purchasing special nutrient powder at a pet store to sprinkle on the crickets or worms that are fed to the Green Anole.

Another very common health problem with Green Anoles is infection by intestinal worms. This condition's main symptom is a lack of appetite (and resultant malnutrition) and feces that appear to be only partially digested. Many Green Anoles are purchased with this condition because of poor care during transit from the wild. Unfortunately there is no easy answer to this problem. A special drug can be purchased that will expunge the worms, but it has two drawbacks. First, it is very expensive, especially considering that Green Anoles themselves typically only cost a few dollars. Second, the purging process is so stressful that if a lizard is unhealthy enough to be showing symptoms of worms, then there are good odds that the Anole will not survive the treatment.

Color blindness is a health problem of Anoles that is often overlooked in books on America's favorite lizard. If it seems that your lizard is not eating at all, try paying more attention to how it behaves when it isn't just basking in the light. If the Anole frequently stares at the ground or the food dish, then it is hungry and attempting to hunt. However, if the Green Anole never lunges at prey, even when it walks right next to the Anole, that is an indication that the lizard is colorblind. Try changing the substrate (the bark or dirt on the bottom of the aquarium) to a substance of a significantly different color or if applicable switch the food dish in the same way. White is a very safe color to change to because even a colorblind eye will be able to see anything against a white background. For example, I had a Green Anole who ate worms out of a green dish, starved himself to skin and bones for a month with a maroon dish, and then ate a half dozen worms in ten minutes after I replaced the maroon dish with a white one. It isn't the most common problem in the world, but is something Green Anole owners should know about.

A common problem of inexperienced Anole owners is that they purchase two lizards and see one of the two seeming to whither away while the other prospers. Since one of the Green Anoles is doing just fine, it is clearly not a case of malnutrition, since both Anoles are eating the same food. Many times this phenomenon is simply an indication that both Anoles are male. Being highly territorial in the wild, two male Anoles cannot be placed in the same aquarium without the larger lizard harassing and attacking the smaller Anole until it eventually dies. It is very important for the health of the Anoles to make sure that two males are not housed together for long periods of time. On the other hand, females don't mind the company of other Anoles of either sex.

The Green Anole is a very delicate lizard, but one that can live for years if properly cared for. Watch out for these symptoms and health issues, and you have a good chance of enjoying the company of your Green Anole for years to come.

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