Pet owners are known to have fun with their pets, such as cats, dogs, birds and so forth, but have you ever heard of anyone having fun with their pet lizard? Sound strange? Not really, I’m sure there are quite a few lizard owners out there that can tell you some neat things about their pet lizards. And I just happen to be a pet lizard owner; therefore, I would like to tell you about my pet anoles. I have four of them.
Green Anoles used to be referred to as chameleons, and many years ago were sold at fairs as pets. Unfortunately, no care instructions came with them and I’m sure many anoles didn’t live long after their new owner brought them home. However, I’m not writing about anole care because there are sufficient online writings about that, as well as books. This article is about enjoying your anole.
Like I said, I have four anoles, two are male and are wild, and the other two are female and were bought in a pet store. Now, I didn’t catch the wild ones; let’s just say I inherited them from a friend who no longer had the time to care for them. Fortunately, I had been caring for them off and on, so it wasn’t an instant “here these are yours” or a “what do I do now” situation. In fact, I grew attached to them over a short time period. Still I had a lot to learn about these wonderful, smart and delicate creatures.
The two wild ones are Zyrtek and ZJ. Zyrtek with his long tail is about 8 inches long and he is a dominant, territorial male. ZJ is about 4 inches long, and is a different breed with a white stripe running down his back. He spends his time in the leaves hiding from Zyrtek. Yes, I know you’re not supposed to have two male lizards in the same terrarium. However, they were caught together and have been in captivity together a year and a half, plus before I got them, in the winter time they would sleep together to keep warm. And there are times during the day when they co-exist. It all depends upon Zyrtek’s territorial mood. I’ll come back to them in a moment.
The two females are GiGi and Princess. Gigi is the dominant one, has a white stripe at times, and when she is stressed, she displays leopard like spots. Princess has a white stripe that shows a little, and she is shy. Yet, the two sleep near each other at night.
Now, that I have given you a brief description, let me get into the fun part. I talk to my anoles as I would a puppy. They respond to a kind voice, and at certain times during the day will sit and listen to me talk to them. Zyrtek will sometimes crawl up a leaf or sit on his perch just to listen to me. When he is content he will even wink at me. Yes, I know that it sounds silly, but he does. Gigi will allow me get close and she will be still and listen to me talk to her. The other two, will listen, but only from a distance. Again, it depends on what I call their “mood swings”.
Oh, I forgot to tell you that I have two terrariums with the males and females separated. The terrariums are together on my dining room window sill. In each terrarium there is a small wood log that leans up against the corner of the glass opposite the other terrarium. Zyrtek and Gigi have developed an afternoon romance where they will sit on the top of the log staring at each other. At time Zytek will do his romantic thing and show his pink dewap (a flap that protrudes from his throat.) The funny thing is that when they hear me walk into the room or look into their cages, Gigi will act like I caught her doing something wrong and turn away from Zyrtek. It’s hilarious. Even when I come home and they hear me walk in I can see them move or go hide in the leaves. Silly lizards, but yet they’re smart.
Zyrtek has me trained when it comes to giving him water. He likes his water directly dribbled in front of him, and when he is through drinking he will turn away. Some days he will stick his tongue out and touch it to the surface of the log or leaf, which means he is thirsty. But he doesn’t like me trying to give him water when he doesn’t want it. Laughing yet?
Also like I said, anoles are smart, especially Zyrtek. In the mornings I will reach into the cage to grab the food dish for the crickets in order to put fresh food in it and to see if the lizards need more crickets. Well, Zyrtek surprised me one morning. He had been watching my routine for days and knew exactly what I was going to do first thing in the morning, so when I lifted the screen, he jumped out! Talk about being startled! Well, I know that Zyrtek doesn’t like hands, so I had to use my arms to corral him back into the cage. He wasn’t sure where he was going; all he knew was that he wanted out! Since then, I have let him get out on the edge of his cage, but he only looks around and decides that there is no place to go and then goes back in. And some days he won’t even come out! Now that is what I call a smart lizard.
My anoles are always doing something that makes me laugh. For example: They know my voice, and I will sit at the table and talk to them. Gigi and Princess will look around trying to see where I’m at, but can’t see me unless I move. It’s funny to watch them wonder where I’m at. Well, there are many more stories I can tell you, but I will end here.
If you have anoles or plan to get one or more, first of all make sure you know how to care for them, and can afford to do so. Secondly, have fun with them, talk to them, and spoil them. Use objects that they are familiar with such as leaves (fake ones will do) or a small stick or bark if you want to get them out of the tank to clean it. Your hands are a threat to them and will stress them out. A healthy and happy anole should live long. Have fun with your anole!