The green anole is a small, green lizard that is one of the most popular pet lizards in the US. It is small, lively during the day, and entertaining to watch. Anoles are considered good starter lizards because they are relatively low maintenance, but some can get stressed when handled and they do move very quickly so they can be difficult to catch if they get out of your hand.
While a green anole will only usually set you back around $10, buying a suitable enclosure and equipment will cost around $250 and ongoing costs are $25 or more per month, taking into account replacement bulbs, substrate, and food and supplements. There are ways you can save money in most areas, however.
Read on for more information regarding how much green anoles cost to buy and over the course of their lifetime.
Bringing Home a New Green Anole: One-Time Costs
Green anoles themselves are cheap. They are sold as feeder lizards in a lot of pet shops, which means that they are sold as a food source for larger animals including several varieties of reptiles and snakes. They are readily available, and because there is a large stock of this intriguing little lizard, you should be able to buy one for between $5 and $10. There may be some green anoles found in rescue centers, where they will likely have a similar adoption fee. The costs of housing and providing healthy living conditions for your pet will be much higher than the cost of buying the anole itself.
Green anoles usually live around 4 years, and because some struggle with being handled, you may know somebody that is looking to get rid of their anoles to a good home. You may also find a rescue center that has green anoles and is unable to keep them, and therefore willing to get rid of them. Check boards in local shops and even message boards online: these can be a good source of inexpensive and even free green anoles.
Some animal charities and rescue centers might have green anoles, as well as other lizards and reptiles, although not all do. There are very few reptile specialist rescue centers but it is worth checking in your local area and contacting shelters near you to see if they do have any that need a good home. Adopting a green anole usually attracts the same cost as buying one from a pet shop so expect to pay around $10 each.
Green anoles are very common because they are used to feed larger reptiles and snakes, as well as making a good beginner pet for potential lizard owners. Few breeders sell their anoles individually, however, because of the low cost that they receive for them. Pet shops do stock these animals, even if they don’t usually stock lizards and reptiles. The wide availability of the anole means that it is a low-cost pet option that will set you back approximately $10.
Initial Setup and Supplies
While the anole itself is inexpensive, you will need a suitable setup. Anoles can’t live freely in your home, like cats and dogs. They need adequate lighting, heat, and humidity, and they need an enclosure. The enclosure needs substrate and these little lizards benefit from having items like plants and rocks in the enclosure. All of these costs add up, and you should expect to pay around $200 to ensure that you have a suitable setup ready for your new pet. You may be able to pick some items up cheaper, especially if they are used, but always be cautious when buying used lights or heaters, to ensure that they work properly.
List of Green Anole Care Supplies and Costs
How Much Does a Green Anole Cost Per Month?
A green anole’s diet will consist primarily of crickets, but you can introduce other gut-loaded insects to offer variety and ensure that your pet is getting the nutrition it requires from its diet. Gut loading means feeding the insects vitamin and mineral supplements that the anole will consume when eating the insects. As well as the cost of food, you will need replacement substrate, and UVB bulbs will need replacing every 6 months or so. Pet insurance that covers small lizards like the green anole is very rare, and you may find it difficult to locate an experienced vet that can deal with any health problems.
You will need to supplement your green anole’s diet with vitamin powder. The powder is fed to feeder insects before they are fed live to the lizard. Such supplements usually include calcium and vitamin D3, with the rest of your lizard’s nutritional requirements being met by their daily intake of insects. You should also spot-clean the substrate, which means removing any solids and areas that have clumped due to waste. Ensure the vivarium’s humidity and temperature levels are suitable for your lizard, too.
Green anoles are insectivores, which means that they live on insects. Most owners feed a diet that predominantly consists of crickets because they are easy to buy and care for, and they provide good nutrition. However, you can feed other insects including mealworms and waxworms but ensure that you gut load them with supplements first. The insects you feed should be about half the size of your lizard’s head and you can expect to feed between three and five prey items a day.
Medications and Vet Visits
Not all vets have experience dealing with small lizards like green anoles, but they should be able to research and help you determine what is wrong with your pet if it gets ill. Try to find a local vet that you trust. If you do need to visit the vet, there will be a cost for the consultation and additional costs for any treatments that are required.
The vast majority of pet insurance companies only offer policies for popular pets like cats and dogs, but some do offer exotic and reptile insurance. Insurance policies for green anoles should be inexpensive because treatments are limited, which means that they attract minimal costs. Having insurance can spread the cost of any future treatment but its lack of availability and limited treatment options means that most owners consider pet insurance for their anoles to be unnecessary.
As well as food and potential vet costs, other ongoing costs associated with keeping a green anole are primarily for environmental enrichment. You will need to buy substrate and if you use live plants, you may need to replace these over time. Otherwise, your anole really only needs water to stay healthy.
Total Monthly Cost of Owning a Green Anole
The green anole is considered a good starter pet for potential lizard owners. It is relatively easy to care for and because it is diurnal, owners get to experience their lizard’s behavior during the day. It is inexpensive to buy and cheaper than a lot of larger lizards to keep, with the biggest costs being those associated with initially buying the enclosure and ensuring that it has an appropriate living environment. Green anoles typically live between 3 and 4 years, so you should plan accordingly.
Owning a Green Anole on a Budget
There are ways that you can save money on green anoles. If you are taking on somebody else’s green anole, ask what setup they have and whether you can make an offer for the equipment, especially the enclosure. Alternatively, consider buying a used enclosure but do make sure you inspect it before agreeing to the purchase. In particular, ensure it is suitable for your lizard and that it isn’t cracked or damaged. You can also look on social media marketplaces, on boards in local stores and pet stores, and online.
Saving Money on Green Anole Care
When it comes to saving money on the ongoing costs of a green anole, the biggest savings are likely to come from buying items in bulk rather than individually. This even includes the crickets and other insects that you feed. Ensure you don’t buy more than your lizard will eat in 2 weeks. Crickets only have a maximum 8-week lifespan and they will be a few weeks old before you take delivery of them. Buying more than your lizard eats means that some of your feeder crickets will die and you won’t be able to feed these to your lizard.
Green anoles are a good basic or beginner lizard for potential owners. They are inexpensive and while they do require suitable humidity and temperature levels, they are easier to care for than some of the more difficult lizard species. You do need to feed live insects, which may be a barrier to some squeamish owners, and while some anoles will take gentle handling, it can stress some out, so you should be prepared for the fact that your green anoles are really for viewing rather than interacting with.
Anoles are cheap to buy and relatively cheap to keep. The biggest cost will come when you buy the equipment and setup ready to bring your new pet home. But, again, even these costs are lower than with other, larger lizards.
Featured Image Credit: victoria.schell, Shutterstock