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Red throat anole: detailed profile with lots of tips on species-appropriate husbandry!
The red throated anole (Anolis carolinensis), which is still often referred to as the American chameleon or green anole, is a very popular terrarium animal. The lizard is considered to be undemanding in keeping and shows a wide repertoire of behavior in the terrarium. In addition, even beginners succeed in breeding.
If you choose a green anole as a terrarium resident, you will get a fascinating lizard as a pet. After all, the animal can move its eyes independently. In addition, the animal can adapt its color to the current mood or activity. This led to the name American chameleon.
In the following we will tell you what is important when it comes to the attitude, which mistakes you shouldn't make and which experiences we have had. At the beginning there is a table with the most important facts. This is how you can get a quick overview of the lizard from the genus Anolis:
European red throat profile:
Features & Appearance:
The red throat ankle also has a pronounced sexual dimorphism. The males become significantly larger and the red dewlap is easier to see. Both sexes have the slim physique, the pointed head and the green color in common.
Incidentally, this also applies to the throat pouch. While it is often said that females do not have one, they do not. This is only significantly less pronounced in them and they only use it very rarely. Apparently only the male red throat anolis want to use their hyoid bone apparatus for relaxation.
The lizards are known for their special behavior. This allows them to move their eyes independently, just like chameleons can. In addition, the body color changes from green to brown depending on mood or activity. This can be observed, for example, when sunbathing. In order to be able to absorb more heat, the dandruff becomes darker and darker.
The green anole becomes about 20 cm long, with the tail not quite half of the entire length. At least this is true of the males. Female animals become a little smaller and therefore have a somewhat wiry-looking head. As a rule, the lizards live to be 3 to 5 years old. But you also read about American chameleons that are 8 years or older.
Distribution & natural habitat:
The little lizards come from the southeastern United States. More precisely, their natural habitat extends from Florida, Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee to southern Virginia. Genetic studies have shown that the direct ancestors of the red throat anole lived in Cuba. To get to the United States, the animals must have crossed the ocean.
Another population still exists on the island of Hawaii. They did not settle there naturally, but were introduced by humans. And that with fatal consequences for the native fauna. Since there are no natural predators in Hawaii, the number of green anoles continues to increase. The same applies to other islands in the Caribbean.
Lifestyle & behavior:
In the wild, the red throat anole is rarely found alone. It is a lizard that lives in small groups with a clear hierarchy. If you want to spot them, you can see them on bushes and trees. The animals are very good at climbing and like to use this ability to protect themselves from hunters. Because birds of prey or cats usually fail to follow the escape animals in the trees.
If it comes to a confrontation with a predator, the animals inflate their throat pouches to the maximum. The red color and the increase in volume are intended to scare off enemies and ultimately drive them away. But the dewlap is not only used for this. The males also inflate them during courtship.
In contrast to the behavior of predators, the animals often fight each other to the extreme. The reason for these disputes is usually the territory-forming behavior. At first, nodding is done or just the throat pouch is raised. If none of the animals flees, a fight now ensues. Usually the area owner attacks first.
The consequences of such turf wars can be serious. As a rule, there are numerous bite or scratch injuries. In rare cases there are broken bones or even joints that are completely dislocated.
The injuries always result from the fighting behavior of the two green anoles. There is a tendency to say that light males rely on their speed in combat. Larger males, on the other hand, rely on their strong bite.
American chameleon attitude:
The red throat anole is a very popular terrarium inhabitant not only in Germany. The keeping of this lizard enjoys great popularity worldwide. After all, it can be kept simple in relation to other reptile species and has many special features. With all this euphoria, however, one should not forget that the animals hibernate and show pronounced territorial behavior.
The red throated anole terrarium should be around 70 x 60 x 80 centimeters. This is the only way to ensure that the animals have sufficient space and retreat options. The rainforest terrarium can be bigger at any time, after all, anoles are lively lizards. The substrate can be a mixture of sand and earth or coconut fiber humus and sand.
Many climbing opportunities and, if possible, a few real plants are particularly important when it comes to keeping the red throat anole. For example, philodendrons or bromeliads are recommended. Climbing opportunities in the form of branches and twigs are gladly accepted.
If you want to do something good for the optics, you can install a waterfall inside the terrarium. You also do something to maintain the humidity. Of course, it is also easier and cheaper. A bowl full of water and regular water spraying are also sufficient.
In order to keep the green anole in a species-appropriate manner, the inside of the terrarium needs the right temperature and humidity. During the day, the pointer of the thermometer should settle in a range of 28 to 30 ° C. In the area of the sun islands, even 35 ° C are no problem. In the cooler hours of the night, 18 to 22 ° C are no problem.
In terms of humidity, you should set it to 60 to 70% during the day and 80% at night. The easiest way to achieve these values is to spray some water in the evening. The animals also like to lick the water droplets from the leaves and panes of glass to meet their fluid needs.
For the sake of completeness, it should be mentioned that UV irradiation of the animals is an absolute must. A UV-A and UV-B source should therefore be available. Otherwise, vitamin D deficiency symptoms can occur. In addition, you need basic lighting and a heat lamp. If necessary, the use of a heater can also make sense in order to achieve the required temperatures.
In the wild, the red throat anole feeds on arthropods as a stalker. In terraristics, people mainly use food animals such as crickets, crickets, flies or wax moths. Now and then these should be dusted with a vitamin powder. It is also not wrong to use a lime or mineral powder as well.
If the animals spurn certain types of food, you can also rely on cockroaches and mealworms. Adult animals consume around 3 to 4 medium-sized crickets per day. However, the animals should only be fed very seldom during hibernation. The red throat anolis cover their water requirements with the spray water. They lick it off the leaves or panes of glass.
Reproduction & Breeding:
As soon as the temperatures rise again in the course of spring, the lizards are already mating. Reproduction usually begins with a bilateral imposing with the help of the throat flag.
This is often followed by a nod of the head. Then it comes to the sexual act. The male bites its neck and starts fertilizing the female. The whole scenario usually lasts several minutes and can often be admired several times during the breeding season.
The pregnancy of the female red throated anolissus lasts about 2 to 3 weeks. Often they lay their clutch of 1 to 2 eggs completely unnoticed in the substrate. Now it takes around 1 to 2 months and the young animals have hatched. Of course, the eggs also dry out from time to time.
It can therefore make sense to purchase an incubator for targeted breeding. Once a clutch has been found, the eggs are carefully removed and placed in the incubator to be broken up. We have had good experiences with an incubation temperature of 25 to 30 ° C.
Successful keeping of the red throat requires the purchase of healthy and agile animals. Therefore, you should give yourself enough time at the seller to examine the American chameleons in detail. We'll tell you what to look out for below:
- Well fed
- Clear, shining eyes
- No injuries or abrasions
- Strong base of the tail
- Clean sewer
- Not slimy mouth interior
Our FAQ at the end:
The red throat anole is a popular terrarium animal in Germany. So you shouldn't be surprised that we keep getting inquiries about the attitude. In order to do justice to the mass of questions and to provide you with even more useful information, we have created a small FAQ:
At the beginning, all red throat anoles are very shy and reserved. As soon as they have gained some confidence in their new surroundings, one can try hand-feeding them. You should start with long tweezers and continuously shorten the distance between the hand and the end.
What we would strongly advise against at this point is to run freely in the apartment as well as to reach around within the circle of friends. The animals are not suitable for cuddling and are not prepared for the wrong climate in the apartment. Out of respect for the animals, they should only be removed from the terrarium in an emergency.
Here you have to consider 2 aspects. There are the running costs and the one-time investments in the terrarium, including furnishings and the like. Expenses of 20 to 30 euros per month should be expected. After all, the terrarium needs a lot of electricity. You should also make monthly reserves for visits to the vet.
The terrarium and its furnishings can cost several hundred or even over a thousand euros, depending on your taste. Since you don't need an overly large model here, the costs are still limited. On the whole, however, it can be said that keeping them is more expensive than other four-legged pets.
The animals chase after smaller arthropods such as crickets or grasshoppers. Flies, maggots, mealworms and spiders are also on the menu. Basically, everything that fits in the mouth is consumed. As soon as the anoles have spotted a suitable food animal on the lookout, they wait until it comes within range and then capture it with one jump.
It is important to know that anoles do not have teeth. There are only tiny hooks in the mouth with which they can hold the prey. Since they often attack from the side, they have to turn the prey before swallowing it.
The lizards are usually between 3 and 5 years old. But 7 years are also possible. We've even heard of animals that lived to be 10 years old. Everything falls and stands here with the quality of the attitude.
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