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Home > Reptiles > Do Green Ameivas Make Good Pets? What You Need To Know

Do Green Ameivas Make Good Pets? What You Need To Know

Green Ameiva side view_Jonathan Chancasana_Shutterstock

If you have never owned a lizard before, the Green Ameiva is a great place to start. These lizards are stunning to look at, and they are very docile and hardy. Even though they can be a bit shy at first, they adapt to humans and captivity very well.

For all of these reasons, Green Ameivas make great pets. Beginner lizard owners will especially find these lizards a great place to start since they aren’t particularly sensitive or aggressive. Still, experienced lizard owners also enjoy Green Ameivas for their docile nature and stunning appearance.

To learn more about Green Ameivas as pets, read on. You will learn about their personality, care requirements, and more.

divider- lizardprintAbout the Green Ameivas

The Green Ameiva is native to parts of Central America and South America. Today, they are a popular pet lizard because they are docile, active, and very hardy. In adulthood, they grow to be between 15 and 20 inches in length, which makes them a decently sized lizards.

Their pattern is especially attractive. It has a modeled appearance. The back-end color is typically dark green, but it can look almost black. In the front, the lizard is brown. On these two colors, you can see white bands and different patterns, such as yellow spots.

As for their personality, they are a bit shy. When around new animals or people, they may run away at first. However, their larger size means that they adapt to people much more easily than smaller varieties. So, they eventually learn to be calm and docile, even when being held.

Amazon Racerunner female
Amazon Racerunner female (Image By: D. Gordon E. Robertson, via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0)

Does Green Ameivas Make Good Pets?

Green Ameivas make great pets. Because they are decently sized, docile, and hardy, they are great beginner lizards. They allow you to learn the basics of lizard care, but you don’t have to be as anxious about hurting the lizard either.

One thing that potentially makes Green Ameivas less suitable as pets is that they don’t particularly like being handled because they are shy. With patience and effort, you can train your lizard to not be afraid of you, but Green Ameivas aren’t the best lizards for handling.

Still, Green Ameivas make great pets. They are stunning to watch, and you don’t have to worry about your inexperience harming the animal. They are docile and simply a joy to have in your home. Plus, you can teach them to be calm in your hand. It may take some time, though.

Caring For Your Green Ameivas

If you decide to get a Green Ameiva as a pet, there are some things you need to know about caring for these creatures. As we have discussed already, these lizards are much hardier than other varieties, but they still require intensive care.

Habitat Enclosure

To begin, make sure that you get at least a 30-gallon size terrarium. This is the minimum size for one or two Green Ameivas. If you get three or more, you will need a 55-gallon enclosure at the smallest. The bigger, the better – get as large of an enclosure as you can.

Inside the enclosure, use orchid bark, aspen shavings, or reptile bedding as substrate. Add basking sites with hides on both sides. You can create hides from driftwood, hollow logs, or silicone rock formations.

Green Ameiva side view_Fernando Calmon_Shutterstock
Image By: Fernando Calmon, Shutterstock

Light, Heat, Temperature, and Humidity

The most difficult part of caring for a Green Ameiva is providing it with the correct light, heat, temperature, and humidity. Beginning with the light, these creatures need full spectrum lighting with UV radiation. If you do not provide UV radiation, your lizard will not live very long.

As for the heat and temperature, the enclosure needs to be between 75 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the night. You can use incandescent bulbs with refractors to create the proper daytime heat gradient. You also need to use heating pads underneath the tank for 24-hour surface heat.

Green Ameivas don’t need intense humidity. Instead, average humidity works, but these creatures will appreciate a good misting whenever they are shedding.

Enclosure Mates

Unfortunately, not all Green Ameivas are suitable for tankmates. Males specifically can be very territorial, but they will get along fine with the females. For this reason, you can only have one male per tank, but that one male can be paired with multiple females.


If you have a Green Ameiva, you better have a tough stomach for feeding. You need to feed these creatures got loaded crickets, mealworms, baby mice, and butterworms, as well as some canned dog food and fruits for treats.

Handling Tips

When you first get a Green Ameiva, it will be very shy. It will likely run away from you every time you try to touch it. With patience and persistence, you can teach the Green Ameiva to not run away. Once the creature has become accustomed to you, it will even be docile and calm in your hands.

To get to a point where your Green Ameiva is not afraid of you, you need to be patient and gentle. Don’t force handling when you first bring it home. Instead, start with small steps, such as simply having your hand in the tank.

Eventually, you will be able to work your way up to touching and then holding the pet. Whenever you hold your Green Ameiva, be gentle but confident. Only hold the pet for about 15 minutes at most so as not to stress it out.divider- lizardprint


Green Ameivas make wonderful pets because they are stunning, docile, and hardy. Even beginner reptile owners will find these lizards a great pet because they aren’t as sensitive to the environment as other varieties. Whenever you provide your Green Ameiva the right environment and care, it can last for around five years and enjoy being held.

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Featured Image Credit: Jonathan Chancasana, Shutterstock

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