Diet for Anole Lizards

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Anoles are primarily insect-eating reptiles.
Anoles are primarily insect-eating reptiles. (Image: green anole lizard image by Pix by Marti from Fotolia.com)

The anole is a small insect-eating lizard that is native to the warmer regions of the world, mostly in North and Central America. The name "anole" describes a family of lizards and includes the brown anole, green anole, Cuban knight anole, crested anole, white-spotted anole and the emerald anole. There are over 300 species of anole in the anolis family, most of which eat a varied diet of insects.

Diet In the Wild

In the wild, anoles are insectivores. They will only eat live, moving prey, and this can include spiders, butterflies, worms, ants, slugs, termites, beetles, crickets, flies, cockroaches, moths and grubs.

Diet In Captivity

In captivity, the wide variety of insects and other invertebrates that an anole eats may not be readily available. Instead, captive anoles are typically fed prey such as crickets, mealworms, silkworms and other varieties of bugs available for feeding pet reptiles.

Supplements

Like most reptiles, the captive anole will not receive the same nutrition it would in the wild because of a lack of diverse prey items, all of which possess a different nutritional content. Prey items should be dusted with a calcium and vitamin D3 supplement prior to feeding them to the anole.

Hunting Prey

Anoles are a diurnal animal, meaning they are active during the daylight hours and sleep at night. This affects their diet because they will eat prey that is also active during the day. Anoles will not attack prey items that are dead or not moving, and prefer to hunt active, fast-moving prey.

Anoles are semi-arboreal, meaning they spend some of their time in the trees and some of their time on the ground. This allows them to hunt prey that either lives in the trees or on the ground.

Species

Depending on the species, anoles may have differing diets. For example, the smaller green and brown anoles that are common in Florida will eat a variety of spiders, butterflies and ants. Larger anoles, such as the Cuban knight anole, can eat larger prey like other lizards, mice and larger invertebrates as an adult. These species are also more likely to eat insects and invertebrates that are native to their own geographic location.

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