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Why is my Anole Lizard Turning Brown?

If your Anole is turning brown there are a number of things that can make this happen. In this article I will address these issues as well as explaining a common mistake people make when they discover that their Anole is brown.

Why is my Anole Lizard Turning Brown? It is most likely because your Anole is feeling stressed. There are a number of reasons why this stress can be caused such as other Anoles in a shared enclosure. lack of food, dehydration or other health related issues.

Now you know why your anole may be turning brown, let me give you some more information on this. In particular, how to check what colours your Anole should be changing to, issues that could caused the brown coloration, and how to avoid this happening.

What causes the Anole Lizard to go brown?

In this section I’m going to discuss what makes the Anole Lizard turn into a brown colour.

The first thing to establish, before you even consider why your Anole is turning a brown, is to check what type of Anole Lizard you have. Are you sure it is not supposed to be brown?

There are some Anoles which cannot turn green, and this could be leading to some confusion. Although this may seem like an obvious thing to check, it’s something worth considering, before thinking something is actually wrong.

On the other hand, if you have a green Anole and you are 100% sure, then you have a valid reason to question why it is turning brown.

So let’s assume that you have a green Anole, and for some reason it is turning brown. This can happen for a number of different reasons. However, in most cases it is related to some form of stress.

The chances are it is not happy for a reason. The challenge is finding out exactly what is causing the problem. Let me explain some of the potential reasons why your Anole might be getting stressed and turning brown.

Environmental Stress

Some of the issues that might cause your adult to get stressed might be to do with its environment. In particular, the enclosure that you have it in. For example, he could actually be feeling dehydrated in there.

This could simply be because you are not providing the water flow correctly. An example of this might be because you are offering the water in a feeding dish. Anole’s prefer to consume water from droplets.

These droplets should be consumed from live or artificial plants in the enclosure which have been misted. After this the water droplets drip into the enclosure offering water to the Anole’s. Check to see if this could be the issue.

Social Issues

Another problem could be if you are overcrowding your enclosure with a number of different anoles. It is advised to only have one male Anole in the enclosure. You can have a few females with it, but there is a limit to that.

Also consider if there is a chance it could be being bullied by another lizard in the enclosure, which could be causing it stress.

Food Problems

Another issue could be the food that you’re providing. Maybe it’s not eating properly, or the food that you are offering it is not correct. Look into this, to see if this could be the issue.

Temperature Issues

Another issue to consider is the temperature of the enclosure. You may find that the enclosure is just too hot or may even be too cold. The Anole likes to bask in heat for large periods of time during the daytime, so if this is not provided you may find that your anole is feeling stressed and unhappy. Luckily, this can easily be corrected if you adjust the temperature in the enclosure.

So why do Anoles change colour in the first place?

In this section I’m going to discuss why an Anole will change colour in general, not just to a brown colour. Contrary to most people’s assumptions Anoles are not like chameleons.

They do not change colour based on their environment or to blend in to their surroundings. And to be perfectly honest this is not the case for a chameleons either. Anoles actually change colour based on their mood.

So what should you do if your Anole is feeling stressed and turning brown?

So in this section I’m going to discuss briefly what you can do if your anole is stressed and turning a brown colour. In the previous section I discussed some of the things that may make your anole turn a brownish colour, which I explained indicates that they are unhappy or stressed.

If you have exhausted all obvious possibilities such as adjusting the temperature, moving them to a different enclosure if its overcrowded or providing water via droplets instead of from a dish, etc. And you still feel there’s a problem, it’s a good idea to contact your vet.

This is because the stress could be coming from an illness or some kind of health issues that could be causing a problem.

An example of this could be some internal parasites that you might not be able to diagnose easily. Therefore it’s a good idea just to take your lizard to the vet and getting him checked over to find out if there’s any issues. Better to be safe than sorry.

How do you keep your Anole happy to avoid him getting stress and turning brown?

So in this section I’m going to discuss some easy things that you can do to make sure that your adult is happy in particular the housing and how you keeping him in his enclosure. These are prevention tactics.

Enclosure Sizing

Firstly when it comes to the actual size of the terrarium. Make sure that you consider how many lizards that you have in the enclosure. If you have only one, then you’d want a minimum 10 gallon tank to keep him happy.

Bare in mind this is the minimum, if you have the budget to go larger, do so. If on the other hand you are going to have multiple Anoles, then you were going to need a bigger tank.

Also the tank needs to be a tall vertical tank because Anoles like to climb a lot. Therefore they need good vertical space. In addition to climbing, they also like to receive droplets of water from live plants at a higher level. So, you need a Tall vivarium to make this happen, are you with me?

Enclosure Accessories and Plant Life

Apart from the actual enclosure itself, within the actual enclosure you want to have live plants or artificial plants at least. This could be acrylic vines or anything that will make the the anole happy.

You basically want to replicate their natural habitat. They are natural climbers and like to dwell in lofty heights. Not just this, as discussed earlier they like to drink from the droplets off of these plants.

Enclosure Location

The location of the actual enclosure needs to be high up. An ideal location might be on a Shelf somewhere or even on top of a piece of furniture. This is so that they are elevated, and not on the ground level.

The reason you want to avoid putting them on the ground level is because they may get stressed there. The simple day to day activities, such as you moving around, kids running around, other family pets, etc will make him feel uncomfortable and unhappy. So avoid this and keep him elevated.

If your Anole turns bright green what does this colour actually mean?

If your Anole turns bright green, especially if it’s a male. This is a sign of dominance. Basically,  marking it’s territory and showing everyone that it is in charge.

Related Questions:

Can Brown Anoles change their colour? Brown anoles are not able to change their colour from to green. However, they can still change to other colours. For example they can change to black or even grey.

Do anoles lose their tails? It is believed that up to 10% of anoles will lose their tail. They lose their tail purposely as a decoy to try and get away from a Predator. If they feel under attack they tell will drop their tail.

Interesting thing is, the tail will carry on pulsing and moving around. This is it attracts attention of the predator and takes the attention away from the Anole, so they can escape.

When they lose their tail they will grow it back, however it will never really be the same as it was before. In its place will be a more cartilage-based tail and this is quite a stressful period for the Anole.

Their tail is quite a big asset to them, because they use this as a balance when they’re climbing, which they love to do. In addition to this they use it as fat storage for periods of time when they are unable to feed.

Do Anoles eat each other? Yes, Anoles eat each other unfortunately this can happen in a couple of different ways. Firstly they can be under attack from their own Anole baby siblings at the time when they hatch. They also maybe come under threat of being eaten from other adult Anoles when they are babies and born into a new enclosure.

Are Anole lizards dangerous? In reality they are not dangerous, they are quite harmless. However it is recommended to keep handling to a minimum because they really do not love being handled. Yhey will still tolerate being handled if they are used to you but it is definitely not advised. Especially if they are brand new to an enclosure or to you in general.


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