The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care.
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Out of all the different kinds of lizards out there that you can own, there are very few that have as striking of an appearance as the brown anole does. The brown anole, which is sometimes referred to as the Cuban anole, is a lizard that is best known for its starkly orange dewlap, which is one of the main reasons why people take them in as pets.
In terms of lizard care, brown anoles are one of the easier lizards to care for. They don’t have a lot of overly specific requirements, outside of their preferred temperature ranges, and they are naturally very hardy lizards, making them a wonderful beginner lizard for people who are first getting into lizard ownership.
Brown anoles are not common pets, so it can be somewhat difficult to search for information on how to care for them. Before you take one into your home as a pet, it is important that you do the right amount of research necessary so that you know what you are getting into and so you know what you can provide for your little lizard friend.
No matter how much research you do, there may come a time when your brown anole acts strangely or seems to be doing something that you don’t expect. When this happens, it is important to get to the bottom of the case so that you can help your brown anole live the best life that it can.
For instance, there may come a time when your brown anole isn’t eating the foods that you put into its tank. There are quite a few reasons why your anole might not be interested in eating, ranging from simply being full from the previous feeding session to being sick or the temperature of their habitat being different than it should be.
To tell when your anole is not eating the way it should, you should have a good idea of what anoles eat, how often they eat, and how often you should be feeding them. After all, when you have a good sense of how anoles should be acting, you will have a good sense of when something is off from their normal behavior.
How Often Should Brown Anoles Be Eating?
The frequency that your brown anole is eating at depends heavily on the stage of life that your anole is at. Hatchlings need to eat daily and frequently so that they can sustain their growth, whereas elderly brown anoles may stop eating as the end of their life draws near.
A good rule of thumb is that your adult anole should be eating at least once a day, though not eating for a day and then eating again the next can be considered normal, especially if you are feeding your brown anole extremely nutritious foods that could be keeping it full for longer periods of time.
Some anoles may change their eating habits as their health changes, such as pregnant anoles not eating or shedding anoles not being as keen on chasing down its food.
Some forms of particularly nutrient-heavy foods are loaded crickets. As the name might suggest, loaded crickets are crickets that have been fed a considerable amount of nutritious cricket feed, as anything that the cricket ingests, the anole will absorb, so this is a great way to keep your anole full of the nutrients that it needs to survive.
As for the food your anole should be eating, it should be a variety of different insects. Anoles are a type of carnivore known as an insectivore, meaning that they get their primary source of nutrients from insects of all different types, though they can sometimes be seen eating other forms of meat, notably other anole hatchlings (both their own and from the green anole).
It is important to rotate the foods that you offer your anole as well, as an anole that is only fed a single type of food is going to grow tired of that food and no longer want to eat it, leading to a perceived lack of appetite when in reality, they are just tired of the food you are offering them.
What Causes a Lack of Appetite in Anoles?
There are several different reasons why your brown anole might not be eating as much as it should be. These reasons can range from your anole being full or stubborn one day to trauma relating to bugs and health problems.
There are so many reasons why your anole may not be eating the way that it should, so you should first start by examining the reasons that you can easily change and adjust as necessary.
For instance, if you notice your anole not wanting to eat one day, you may want to wait a day to see if it was a one-off experience of not being hungry or if the problem is persistent.
You will also want to consider offering another insect for your brown anole if it is showing no interest in the ones you have just offered it. Sometimes anoles (and most other lizards) will seemingly lose interest in a specific insect if it feels that it has been eating too much of it lately, so offering an alternative food can help it feel more inclined to eat.
If you are feeding a new insect to your anole for the first time and it doesn’t seem interested in it, it could be that it simply doesn’t like that insect or doesn’t want it. Similar to above, you can try an alternative food for your brown anole to see if the problem is persistent or if it is related to the type of feed you are offering it.
Another reason could be due to trauma relating to the insect. There are cases of anoles that have been bitten by crickets and then develop an apparent fear of crickets, no longer wanting to eat them again, even if they previously enjoyed them.
If your anole will eat most other bugs but not a certain bug, it may be due to a past incident with the bug that the anole is associating bad memories with, causing it to not want to eat it.
As with the other solutions above, to see if this is the case, you should offer an alternative food for your anole so that it has the opportunity to eat if the offered food is more suitable than the other one.
There are also extenuating circumstances that can impact an anole’s diet. These include health conditions, tank conditions, and stress.
A sick anole is one that is not going to be too keen on eating and should be seen by a lizard specializing veterinarian so that it can be examined and the root of the problem can be found. Until then, you should try and supplement nutrients for your brown anole however you can until you are able to get it to a specialist.
Tank conditions can also affect the appetite of your brown anole. They are cold blooded animals, so they require the heat of a lamp to be able to kickstart their metabolism and digest their food, so if their environment is below their recommended basking temperature (90 degrees Fahrenheit), they may not be able to properly digest their food, leading to an apparent lack of appetite.
The right temperature-sensing equipment is crucial for lizard care, as it will give you a sense of whether or not the lizard’s enclosure is the right temperature in the basking region and the cooling-off regions.
If the temperatures are not where they should be, then there’s a good chance that replacing the heating lamps will correct the appetite problem as your lizard will be able to digest its food properly again.
Finally, brown anoles (and all other lizards) will lose their appetite when they are stressed. Common stressors for brown anoles include being handled, seeing other animals outside of the tank, hearing loud noises, and having their tanks moved.
If any of these stressors have occurred for your brown anole, it may simply be too stressed to eat at the moment. As mentioned earlier, it is important to observe your brown anole and offer it food again to see if the problem is temporary or if it is a more long-term problem that needs to be treated as such.
If your brown anole was simply stressed out, its appetite should return to normal a few days after the stressor has stopped being present. Otherwise, you may need to examine your brown anole’s behavior, appearance, and actions for signs of sickness that you can talk to a lizard specializing vet about.
When all is said and done, brown anoles should eat once a day, and if they do not want to eat for longer periods of time, it may be indicative that there is something wrong. These problems can be temporary, such as stress or a simple day of being full, or they can be caused by health conditions that require a veterinarian (who specializes in lizard care) to examine.
The best way to determine if the problem requires an expert’s help is to continue to offer food to the anole in the following days, and if several days pass where your anole doesn’t want to eat, then it may be time to take it to the vet.
Healthy anoles can last a fair bit of time without food, so a single day of not eating is not as much cause for concern as a few weeks of not eating would be, but any changes in feeding behavior warrant a trip to the vet to make sure that it is not something more sinister than a picky lizard.