Anole lizards are very common in the wild. Many people have them in their homes as pets. You can also find them in many pet stores. Most of the anoles you find in pet stores are caught in the wild. Once you have decided you'd like to observe and care for an anole as a pet, you should know the basics of caring for them. As someone who has owned many anoles, I have studied and observed their proper care immensely. You will discover the basics by reading below.
What is the proper cage/enclosure for a pet anole lizard?
To find out what size cage you will need for your pet lizard, measure or estimate the length of your anole from the tip of it's mouth to the tip of its tail. The cage should be at least twice that length and at least the same length as your anole in width. A proper anole cage should either have fluorescent lighting or be placed in an area that is well-lit from the sun during the day. However, avoid sun lamps and heating lamps, as these can bake your anole. If you live in a warm, humid climate, you may opt for a plastic cage, rather than a glass aquarium, and keep your anole outside, thus eliminating the need for the lamp.
Once you have chosen your cage, you will need to make it into a home for your lizard. First, put regular, non-fertilized potting soil into the bottom of the cage. Slightly dampen the soil until it is moist, but not muddy or clay-like. This is an area that not all pet-care professionals agree on. Some recommend the soil and others will recommend a substrate made up of small wood chips or even specially-formulated substrate just for reptiles. With experience, I have found that the anoles prefer the soil. Many professionals have also agreed with me. This is closer to the ground cover they will experience in the wild.
Next, put in a few rocks, twigs, and leafy branches for the anole to perch on, hide under, and climb on. Small logs are ideal as well. Avoid heated rocks and logs. These will cook your poor anoles. At least one twig or branch should extend from the bottom to the top all the way across the cage. This helps the anole feel like it is in its natural environment. Anoles enjoy climbing and perching. Leafy branches are especially ideal for the extending twig, as it will help to make the anole feel like it is in a tree.
If you have more than one anole, your cage size will need to increase dramatically or the lizards will harm or even kill each other. For two lizards, the cage should be at the very least, the size of a 10 gallon fish tank, although that is relatively small, so a larger size would be ideal. For three, you would need an even larger tank. Think of it like this. For each lizard, add in space that equals at least the size of a ten gallon tank. More would be even better.
What can anole lizards eat?
Anole lizards enjoy crickets, spiders, cockroaches, and some other arthropods. Anoles cannot eat potato bugs, centipedes, or millipedes. Whatever food you decide upon, be sure the insect size is no larger than half the size of your anole's head. Through experience, I have discovered that most anoles prefer crickets and spiders. Spiders are a favorite, but since spiders are good escape artists and I don't want them in the house, I use spiders as a treat whenever I see one. Since I use them in this way, as soon as I stick one in the cage, the lizards will immediately eat it.
If you'd rather not catch any of your pet's food, crickets can be bought from most pet stores and also from cricket farms online. The most I have paid for a batch of crickets was five dollars and that included about 100 crickets, plus shipping and handling. You don’t need to purchase this many at once, if you don’t want to. However, if you order online, they generally come in large batches.
How often do anoles eat?
Anoles need to eat every day. Some anoles may only consume one insect per day. Others will consume three or more. This will depend on what type of insects your lizard is eating and upon the individual lizard's appetite.
Start by placing five insects in the cage the first day. If there are any left at the end of the day, that was probably too many. Reduce the amount by one until there are none left at the end of the day. That will give you the correct amount. I also like to give a spider for a treat every other night if I find one. If you have more than one lizard, your first amount should be five insects per lizard.
Where do I keep the crickets?
I have discovered that if I keep the crickets in the same cage with the anole/s, they die sooner because they require different conditions. If you'd like to make your crickets last as long as possible until they need to be eaten, keep them in a small plastic container with only cricket food, 2 egg sections torn off of a cardboard egg carton, dry soil or wood chips, and a bottle cap full of water. They enjoy hiding under the egg carton piece. It also provides a good area for them to nest.
If your crickets are lasting a long time, be sure to remember to clean their cage and keep their water dish full. Keep an extra plastic container to transfer them to while you clean the other. Prepare the new plastic container the same way as the other one. Once the other one is clean, keep it for the next cage cleaning. This way, you only need to transfer them once during each cleaning.
Do anoles require a water dish?
No. They do need to drink water. However, anoles, especially those who are wild-caught, prefer to drink their water from leaves and branches. Mist the leaves and branches in their cage every day. This will leave behind water that they can sip.
Anoles need to be kept moist. They are used to a tropical environment. If the inside of the cage is not humid, you'll need to mist your lizard once per day. To do this , simply mist a spray bottle onto your lizard from the top of the cage. Make sure the spray bottle is on the mist setting, as the lizard will not like it on the spray setting.
If you see any droppings on the soil, scoop it out with a spoon. If the droppings are on the leaves, throw out the leaves and replace them with fresh ones. Observe your lizard in its cage. Watch to see what he or she does. This may help you later on if your lizard is sick or dying.
How can I hold my anole?
If you would like to handle your anole, you can remove the lizard from the cage with gloves or a small net. Be gentle. Never pick up your anole (or any lizard) by the tail. Like most lizards, this will cause the tail to break away. This is a natural defense mechanism and the tail will usually grow back.
Be very still and allow your anole to move around freely on your hand or arm. This will help your pet lizard feel more comfortable with you. Grabbing the anole too much can do the opposite. Let the reptile naturally become used to climbing on you. Repeat the process daily for best results, extending or decreasing time, according to the comfort of your anole.
Can I have more than one anole in the same cage?
Females can be in the same cage together. One male and one female can be in the same cage together. However, two males may not be in the same cage together. They will fight and possibly kill or eat each other. Do not put more than one female in the same cage with a male. The females may fight over the male until one or both females die.
How do I clean the cage?
An anole's cage should be cleaned once a week. However if you have more than one anole, you'll want to do it more often. First, catch the lizard with a small reptile net and place it into a plastic container with a cover and air holes. Take out the branches, leaves, logs, and rocks. Clean the rocks by rubbing under warm water with baking soda. Rinse thoroughly. Air dry.
If the other items are natural (which is preferred), the logs can be rinsed well under hot water and air dried. The twigs, leaves, and branches can be replaced. Dump the soil into your garden and clean out the cage with vinegar and dish soap. Once the cage is clean and has been air dried, place more soil in the bottom and re-create your lizard's home with the rocks, branches, leaves, and twigs.
What colors do anoles come in?
Anoles are naturally either green or brown. However, green anoles can turn brown and brown anoles can turn green. Whatever color your anole is the majority of the time, that's it’s natural color. If you see a black anole, leave it alone. Do not touch it. See below for details.
Why is my anole turning black?
Anoles turn black for two reasons. The first reason is extreme stress. If an anole gets too stressed out or scared, it will turn black. If your anole turns black while you are interacting with him or her, this likely means that you have stressed the poor creature out.
The second reason an anole may turn black is because it is injured, sick, or dying. When an anole has been injured or gets sick, it will turn a very dark brown or black. If your anole also has spots around its eyes, this is a sign of impending death and/or extreme sickness. If this is the case, do not handle the animal because you may get sick, too. Instead, contact a veterinarian.
Why does my anole seem to be having trouble moving around?
If your anole seems to be weak or dragging its legs, you may not be feeding it enough. This is usually a sign of starvation. However, if there are visible injuries, starvation is obviously not the problem. In either case, contact the vet.
Can My Anole Give Me Salmonella?
There is a small risk of salmonella with raising lizards. However, it is equivalent to the amount of exposure from a young chicken. Just remember to thoroughly wash your hands each time you touch the cage, the lizards, or anything in, around, or on the cage.
What Is That Red Thing Coming Down From My Anole's Neck?
Male anoles have what is called a dewflap. It resembles a beard. It's a red flap that protrudes from the anole's neck whenever it feels stressed or threatened.
What If My Anole Dies?
It will be very sad when your anole dies. You may want to do a proper burial or you may not care. However, it is important to remember that if your anole died, it may have been sick. If you open that cage and touch anything inside, you could become ill as well. Call an animal removal specialist to handle it.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
By Peter Minkoff, contributing writer
If you want to introduce your new pet into the household environment quickly and successfully, you’ll need to take several important points into consideration. In the first few weeks, your pet will need extra attention, care and patience, which is why it would be wise to plan the new pet arrival in advance. Your kids will need to learn to interact with it and be prepared too. I have two dogs, Astoria and Brando, and with Brando, I had no problems adapting him to the house, but with Astoria I did not have time to prepare in advance as I found her on the street and the training and adjustments to the household environment took quite a longer while than with Brando. That’s why I’ve compiled several critical points for any future pet owner to bear in mind when preparing to adopt a new animal.
1. Better be safe than sorry: Make your house pet-proof
Before you bring your new pet home, make sure your home is thoroughly pet-proofed. This means getting cables, frayed rugs and cords out of the way and moving your plants to the balcony or garden as these items are most often targeted by playful cats and dogs. Also, pick up any small objects that the new pet may swallow or get pricked by like pins, paper clips and rubber bands. I failed to do this with Astoria and she swallowed an elastic band she found on the floor somewhere so we had a diarrhea emergency immediately upon her arrival in the house.
2. Pet privacy: Designate pet area indoors
If your new family member is a cat or small dog, designating a pet area is an inevitable part of the arrival planning. While big dogs can be kept outside in a kennel, other pets will definitely need some room for sleeping, eating, toileting and playtime. It’s best to pick a part of your home you’ll be able to clean up easily where your pet won’t be able to do damage to the flooring, wires and furniture (e.g. kitchen or hall). Once you pick the spot for your pet habitat, stick to it as most animals dislike extensive spatial changes and take a while to get used to their new surroundings.
3. Eat all you can: Get pet supplies in advance
When your new pet arrives, you’ll want to begin training it ASAP, which is why having the critical gear in the house already is highly desirable. Make sure you stock up your dog supplies before your new pup gets home so that you’d be able to start training him to eat in the designated area and sleep in his crate or basket instead of roaming around home and eventually crashing on your living room sofa Trust me, I’m speaking from experience. Astoria did that on the first night in the house. On the next day, I got my first aid kit at Stefmar (and I've been loyal to them ever since), which included food, a bowl, collar, leash and basket, and some just in case flee treatment products. For cats, having a ready litter box is essential to a long-term success in training your cat house rules.
4. Fit and healthy: First trip to the vet
After your new pet has adapted to the house environment, take them to the veterinarian for a quick initial checkup. The best time for the first vet appointment is the first week of the pet’s life in your home. You can assign this as a duty for your kids or partner within the distribution of care, chores and responsibilities for the pet. When taking the dog to the vet, make sure you schedule the appointment beforehand as some veterinarians are booked weeks in advance. During the checkup, inquire about vaccination, diet, grooming and other relevant pet paraphernalia you can think of – after all, it’s better to hear the advice from the expert than to go googling the questions afterwards as the internet is not always a reliable source for pet issues.
5. Well-behaved furry members: Training your cat or dog
If you want to make sure your new family member learns house rules fast, you’ll need to sign it up for a pet school or train them on your own. In case you intend to tend to your animal’s education on your own, remember that a balanced pet means more than just an animal respecting house orders. After you’ve managed to consistently train your dog indoors using commands like ‘Down’, ‘Fetch’ and ‘Don’t’, expose them to contact with the outdoors and other animals and humans in your environment to avoid potential behavioral failures. The best and the most efficient puppy and kitten learning period is six to twelve weeks, so you’d better start immediately or enroll the animal in a several weeks’ long pet school ASAP.
All covered? Then go and adopt a new pet – it’s a decision you definitely won’t regret.
Peter is a lifestyle writer from Brisbane, Australia. He graduated from the Australian Institute Of Creative Design. Beside writing he enjoys fashion, reading, cooking and traveling around exotic destinations. Contact Peter for more inspiring tips.
Peter on Twitter: @MinkoffPeter
Peter on Facebook: Peter Minkoff
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Grooming a dog with allergies can be different from grooming other dogs. Our Shih Tzu has asthma and allergies. So we’ve had to treat his grooming process different from some other dogs we’ve groomed in the past. Shih Tzu dogs are double-coated. Although they are on the least allergenic list for humans, they’re also more likely to have allergies themselves than some other breeds. When it comes to Shih Tzu dogs with allergies, it’s better to be safe than sorry. While these grooming practices may not prevent all allergy outbreaks, it has helped our Shih Tzu’s allergies considerably.
Keep Your Shih Tzu’s Fur Short
Because Shih Tzu dogs have a good amount of fur, they may need to be groomed often. Keeping the hair around their eyes and nose very short can help prevent drainage from both areas. Runny eyes and runny noses may be further irritated when the fur is brushing up against them or building up dander near them. Speaking of dander, keep other areas that touch the body as short as possible, as well. While this does not always take away dander problems and itchy skin, it can help to reduce build-up and make it easier to apply any skin treatments your vet might prescribe.
Use Scissors Instead of Electric Clippers
Because dogs with allergies can be sensitive to fur, dust, and dander, scissors are generally a better idea than electric clippers. The clippers can sometimes cause allergens to fly around in the air more than the scissors will. The electric clippers also might contain residue from being oiled. This can cause an allergic reaction in some dogs. The clippers themselves also might be too harsh on sensitive skin. Scissors are generally easier to keep disinfected as well. Some dogs also might break out when they are nervous. The loud noise emitting from the electric clippers may cause such a reaction.
Use Allergen Free Shampoo
When bathing your dog, be cautious of the ingredients in the cleansing products. Stay away from fragrances, dyes, and other harsh chemicals that may irritate your Shih Tzu dog’s allergies. Look for brands specifically made for dogs with allergies. However, avoid those that are still scented, as these can still irritate your dog’s skin, nose, and eyes. Medicated shampoos made for skin allergies can be good, as long as there are no dyes, perfumes, or other strong chemicals. Simple solutions with ingredients you can understand are often the best.
Bathe or Clean Sensitive Areas After Outings
Whenever your Shih Tzu dog is outdoors or in areas away from home, be sure to clean sensitive areas. Bathe your dog when outdoors time is prolonged or your dog is exposed to irritants, such as excessive dirt, trees, plants, grass, pollen, fungus, anything that makes your dog dirty, and other known allergens. Pay special attention to the face, especially the eyes and nose. But keep your dog’s fur as irritant free as possible. Fragrance free dog wipes or a wet cloth with hypoallergenic dog shampoo can be handy for this task.
Avoid Finishing, Whitening, and Other Fur Sprays
Many Shih Tzu dogs have areas of the fur that are white. Because of this, some pet parents will reach for whiteners and other spray fresheners to keep those areas extra shiny and clean looking. But when your Shih Tzu has allergies, this can be a very bad idea. These sprays often contain harsh chemicals and fragrances that can cause an allergic reaction. The same is true for detanglers, dog deodorant sprays, pheromone sprays, calming sprays, and any other product that is sprayed onto the dog’s fur.
*Please keep in mind that the author is not a licensed veterinarian. Please speak with your veterinarian about these and other safe grooming tips to ensure that your dog has the best plan to fit his or her personalized needs.
By Charlene Little, Contributing Writer
Through the years of working with dogs and training them. I have realized that many people do not know how to read their dogs. For the most part, people think dogs should react the same as humans do. This is not the case at all. We can learn to read our pets by watching them. You can learn their needs, their wants, and their behaviors to learn their comfort level. When people bring their dog to me for training, they say their dog is behaving this way or that way, and feel that their dog just has behavioral problems. What humans see as behavioral problems, may just be a dog's natural instinct, or body language. Here is how to tell what your dog is thinking.
Body language is how dogs communicate with other dogs, and they can also communicate with you the same way.
Ears lowered and slightly back: Your dog is saying it is calm. Their mouth should be closed, and their eyes are calm as well.
Their ears raised and eyes are open, possible panting and tail wagging: I heard something I like, or I want to play.
Ears forward, alert eyes, pulls ears toward their head: I don't like it, and I don't want any part of it.
Eyes narrow, teeth showing, ears flat, tail held high for balance: I am going to bite it if it/he/she gets any closer. This is not a safe situation. Your dog feels threatened and wants to get away.
Standing tall with tail up: Confident, possibly thinking of playing.
Hunching over, trying to look small, tail between legs, pupils dilated: Your dog is afraid.
Front legs lowered, bottom in the air, tail wagging: Your dog is saying he wants to play.
Stiff legs and rigid body, ears flat back, hair on their back stands up on end: Your dog is showing aggressiveness, or dominance.
About the Author
Charlene Little is the mother of three wonderful boys and a volunteer foster mom for her local animal shelter. She enjoys working with various breeds of dogs and cats in learning social behavior, training, and how to be the successful member of a fur-ever family. She enjoys studying animals' behavior and finding solutions to behavior problems that the everyday person can handle. She covers topics from various forms of aggression and small problem behaviors. Every problem behavior has a solution, and the solution is never to give up on your pet! Love, kindness, and small adjustments could be just what you need.
Lyn Lomasi & Richard Rowell are life & business partners. Owners of the Write W.A.V.E. Media network, they are your content superheroes to the rescue! Running their network, tackling deadlines single handedly, and coaching fellow writers & entrepreneurs to be thought leaders is the-ir top priority. While rescuing civilians from boring content and marketing, they conquer the world, living the RV life and making Crafts For A Purpose with their awesomely crazy family while recounting The Nova Skye Story, along with Kymani’s Travels. They also strive to one day cuddle with lions and giraffes. Until then, they’ll settle for furry rescue kitties and doggies.
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