What do Anoles Eat?

Anole lizards are a species of lizard that fall under the genus Anolis in the family Dactyloidae of the Suborder Iguania. This means that they are closely related to many other common species of lizard such as Iguanas, Chameleons and Agamids.

There is over 400 different lizards that fall under the genus Anolis. Many of these lizards are disputed by scientists to belong under a different genus while others can be considered sub-species of other Anole species. If the Anolis genus was to be split up, it is estimated that only around 45 specimens would remain classified as Anoles.

When asking the question ‘What do Anoles Eat?’, it is important to remember the vast number of species that fall under this category. These lizards have a very large range and so their diet will vary from species to species.

We are going to look at a select few species of Anole and explain what these Anoles eat in both their natural habitat as well as their diet in captivity. The species we are going to focus on are the Green Anole, the Brown Anole and the Cuban Knight Anole. These are three of the most popular Anole species kept in captivity so we are going to focus on what these Anoles eat.

The Green Anole

Green Anole - What do Anoles Eat

The Green Anole is native to the Southern USA and is often referred to as the Carolina Anole. It is the most popular species of Anole kept in captivity. These lizards are a vibrant green colour with a white belly. They have a very distinctive dewlap (fold of skin extending from the throat). This is more prominent in males and is pink in colour.

They are a small, slender lizard that don’t grow much larger than 6 inches in length, including the tail. These lizards are very good climbers and they are fast effective hunters.

This Anole is often compared to a Chameleon because of its bright green colouration and ability to change colour. These lizards can change from a bright vibrant green colour to different shades of brown. This colour change is usually linked to environmental factors or temperament.

What do Green Anoles eat?

So, what do these Anoles eat? In the wild green Anoles feed on a variety of insects and arthropods such as spiders, grasshoppers, flies and crickets. These lizards have even been witnessed eating baby lizards of other species such as skinks. While this has been witnessed in the wild, it is not considered typical behaviour for these lizards.

In captivity, Green Anoles eat a varied diet of insects and arthropods. So, what should your Green Anoles eat? The good news is that these Anoles eat  whatever insects they can fit in their mouth.

You should feed them a varied diet of Crickets, Dubia Roaches and juvenile Grasshoppers or Locusts. Two to three insects per day is an appropriate amount for a Green Anole to eat. These insects should be dusted with a good vitamin and mineral supplement to add nutritional value to the food.

You can supplement their food further with the occasional serving of worms such as mealworms and waxworms. This shouldn’t make up the bulk of their diet however, as Mealworms lack the appropriate nutrients for insects while Waxworms have a very high fat content.

The Brown Anole

Brown Anole - What do Anoles Eat

The Brown Anole is native to Cuba and the Bahamas. It is sometimes referred to as the Bahaman Anole or the De la Sagra’s Anole, but it is most commonly known as the Brown Anole.

While native to these Caribbean islands, the Brown Anole has been introduced and thrives in many different regions. It is believed that these lizards have been set free by irresponsible pet owners.

They can now be found throughout much of the Southern USA, Hawaii, Taiwan and on other Caribbean Islands.

As its name suggests, the Brown Anole is Brown in colour with lighter and darker markings along their back and sides. They have a very colourful Dewlap and can grow to around 8 inches in length, including tail.

What do Brown Anoles eat?

In the wild, Brown Anoles eat a very varied diet. They will eat Crickets, Grasshoppers, Moths, Ants and Spiders. They are also known to eat small fish that wash up on riverbeds. They may even eat the juveniles of other species such as baby Skinks or Green Anoles.

It is also known that Brown Anoles eat their shed skin. This Anole may also eat its tail if it loses it. It isn’t known if this is for food or if the lizard simply wants to cover its tracks to avoid detection from predators.

In captivity, Brown Anoles eat a similar diet to the Green Anole. They can be fed a variety of dusted Crickets, Dubia Roaches and juvenile Grasshoppers or Locusts. They will even eat small spiders you find around the house.

They will also eat worms such as mealworms and waxworms but again, these should be fed sparingly, as part of a varied diet. You can also offer these lizards a supplementary fruit-based powder food or baby jar. This won’t make up the bulk of their diet, but they may choose to eat some which will offer them more nutrients.

The Cuban Knight Anole

Cuban Knight Anole

The Cuban Knight Anole is the largest species of Anole in the Dactyloidae Family. They can grow to lengths of up to 20 inches including tail. They are often referred to as just th Knight Anole or the Cuban Giant Anole.

As their name suggests, these lizards are native to Cuba. However, they have been introduced to Southern Florida where they have thrived in the wild. They can sometimes even be seen in trees in Miami.

This lizard is primarily bright green in colour with some white or yellow markings around the head. Their Dewlap is very pale pink and they have the ability to change colour.

What do Cuban Knight Anoles eat?

In the wild, Cuban Knight Anoles eat a very varied diet. Their diet mainly consists of a variety of insects which is supplemented with fruit. While rare, they are also known to eat baby birds and small lizards, even other anoles.

In captivity, Cuban Knight Anoles eat a varied diet of dusted Crickets, Dubia Roaches, Grasshoppers,  Locusts, Mealworms and Waxworms. They may even eat the occasional pinkie mouse.

Their diet can be supplemented with leafy greens and pieces of fruit. This will not make up the bulk of the lizards diet, but they are known to nibble on fruit and veg. A variety of insects should make up the bulk of their diet.

Recommended Reading

If you are considering purchasing one of these lizards, we recommend reading the following book on Anoles. This book covers a wide range of care requirements for these lizards.