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Home > Reptiles > Monkey Anole: Traits, History, Food & Care Guide (with Pictures)

Monkey Anole: Traits, History, Food & Care Guide (with Pictures)

Monkey anole

If you are imagining a furry and adorable creature with a long tail, you are not thinking of the Monkey Anole. Despite its name, Monkey Anoles are a type of lizard that make great pets. They are colorful, cool, and inexpensive.

Of course, Monkey Anoles can be a bit difficult to care for, especially if you have never cared for a lizard before. To ensure you give your Monkey Anole the best life possible, we are going to learn about this creature and provide key information for its care. Let’s get started.

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Quick Facts About Monkey Anole

Monkey Anole
Image By: Pxfuel
Species Name: Polychrus gutturosus
Common Name: Monkey Anole
Care Level: Beginner
Lifespan: 4 – 5 years
Adult Size: 9 – 12 inches
Diet: 100% small insects
Minimum Tank Size: 20-gallons
Temperature & Humidity: 75 degrees F with an 80-degree F basking spot
60% – 70% humidity

Do Monkey Anoles Make Good Pets?

Even though Monkey Anoles are not particularly common pets, they make good pets for reptile lovers. These creatures are fun to watch and very inexpensive, which makes them great for beginners.

Although Monkey Anoles require certain habitat requirements, they aren’t as finicky in captivity as many other reptiles. Hence, Monkey Anoles make great pets for beginner reptile lovers, such as children or young adults.


Common Monkey Lizard Polychrus marmoratus
Common Monkey Lizard Polychrus marmoratus (Image By: Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE, via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.0)

Monkey Anoles are known for their really long tails. In fact, their tails are typically twice the length of their body. In total, Monkey Anoles typically grow to be 9 inches long, but some are known to grow up to a foot.

Aside from the long tail, Monkey Anoles are known for their bright colorations. They are most often bright green with cream bellies, but they can also be bright blue. Males have a purple or blue flap underneath the chin. Females have this flap too, but it isn’t as noticeable or bright.

Because of the Monkey Anole’s bright color, they are super fun to watch and easy to spot. Not to mention, their smaller body means that they can zigzag really quick, which further makes for fun viewing.


How to Take Care of Monkey Anoles

Even though Monkey Anoles are easier to care for than other reptiles, they still have very specific housing requirements. With proper care, these little lizards can live to be five years long, but they will die much sooner if you do not provide them the right treatment.

The most difficult part of caring for a Monkey Anole is setting up its tank or habitat. As reptiles, Monkey Anoles are cold blooded, which means their body temperature is regulated by their environment. As a result, their environment must provide the proper temperature, lighting, and humidity for health.


Begin by getting a high-quality tank for your Monkey Anole. If you only have one or two adults, the tank should be a minimum of 20 gallons. However, bigger tanks are always welcomed. For every additional Anole you add, you need to add 10 more gallons to the enclosure size.

Keep in mind that there should only be one male per tank. Males will fight and potentially kill each other. You can add additional females if you would like, though starting off with one or two is recommended.

Make sure that the tank provides a great lid and height for the Monkey Anole’s enjoyment. These creatures love climbing. So, you want to create a tank that provides plenty of opportunities. Additionally, make sure that the lid is very secure. Put different foliage for the Monkey Anole to hide in as well.

To ensure that your Monkey Anole stays as healthy as possible, spot clean the cage once a day. At the end of every week, deep clean the cage using reptile safe cleaner. A clean cage is a must for a healthy and long-lasting lizard.

Monkey Lizard
Monkey Lizard (Image By: J-Mass, via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.0)


One thing that makes reptiles difficult to care for is that they absolutely must have UVA or UVB to produce and retain the right number of vitamins and minerals. Select a good bulb and hang it above the enclosure. Make sure to read the instructions for whichever bulb you select. Simply turn the bulb off at night to replicate the day/night cycle.

Heating (Temperature & Humidity)

Another feature that makes reptiles a bit more difficult is heating. As we mentioned above, Monkey Anoles are cold blooded. Make sure that its cage is at 75 degrees Fahrenheit, but provide a basking spot of around 80 degrees as well.

During the nighttime, make sure that the temperature drops 10 to 15 degrees to replicate the temperature of nighttime. Turning off the bulbs will do the job for the most part. Check the thermometer inside the enclosure to make sure the right temperature is reached.

Monkey Anoles need humidity around 60% to 70% inside the cage constantly. Mist their cage twice a day to increase the humidity. You can use a hygrometer to monitor the humidity levels inside.


Substrate is the material that goes at the bottom of the cage. You can use paper towels for juveniles but use potting soil or sphagnum moss for adults. Make sure to replace the substrate every six months to keep the enclosure nice and clean.

Tank Recommendations

Tank Type: 20-gallon glass vivarium
Lighting: UVA or UVB bulb
Heating: 75 degrees F with lights; basking areas up to 80 degrees F with additional light
Best Substrate: Moss or potting soil

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Feeding Your Monkey Anole

Monkey Anoles are not picking eaters, but they must have a diet comprised solely of insects. Crickets are the best, but mealworms and silk worms are great on occasion. Make sure not to overfeed these animals because they will continue eating if the food sources in front of them.

Feed your Monkey Anole reptile vitamins as well. It’s most important that the vitamin is high in calcium and vitamin D3. It is very common for reptiles to lack these nutrients, which results in a number of serious health conditions.

Diet Summary

Insects: 100% of diet
Supplements Required: Calcium and vitamin D3

Keeping Your Monkey Anole Healthy

Common Monkey Lizard
Common Monkey Lizard (Image By: Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE, via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.0)

The most important tip for keeping your Monkey Anole healthy is to provide proper nutrients and environment. These lizards are not known to develop serious health conditions unless they aren’t provided these two things.

It’s important to clean out the cage so that your Monkey Anole is an inhaling, ingesting, or sitting in its filth. Similarly, make sure that the enclosure stays the right temperature, humidity, and lighting as described above.

Diet is also key to a healthy lizard. Make sure to provide it high quality insects. Don’t forget about supplements and vitamins either. The supplements and vitamins ensure that the lizard gets enough calcium and vitamin D3, which are critical for reptile health.

Common Health Issues

The most common illnesses to plague Monkey Anoles include issues with their skin, mouth, and bone strength. For example, Monkey Anoles can experience calcium deficiency very easily, which results in easily broken bones and poor skin.


On average, Monkey Anoles live between three and four years, but they can live to be five or more if they have healthy genes and are provided optimal living conditions. The key to a long-lasting Monkey Anole is proper care, including the right diet, the right enclosure, and clean conditions.


Because Monkey Anoles are already so affordable, they aren’t necessarily the most lucrative lizard to breed. More so, reptiles in general are difficult to breed, and the Monkey Anole is no exception.

Since you can have both males and females, you should house the prospective lizards together. To kickstart the breeding process, you must replicate the seasons, including fall, winter, and spring. If things go according to plan, the male will mate with a female one you start replicating spring environment.

You will need to remove the eggs and care for the hatchlings after they are born. Hatchlings require special care. So, read up on Monkey Anole hatchlings specifically if you intend to breed them.


Are Monkey Anoles Friendly? Our Handling Advice

Because of their small size, Monkey Anoles are not great for handling. They are very skittish and very fast. As a result, you run a high risk of injuring, stressing, or losing your Monkey Anole if you try to hold it.

As a result, we primarily recommend simply watching your Monkey Anole. If you have the lizard from the time it is a hatchling, you might be able to train it to stay in your hand, but most Monkey Anoles don’t take to this very well.

Shedding & Brumation: What to Expect

If you get a Monkey Anole, know that it will shed and might go into a brumation period. Shedding typically occurs between 1 to 12 times a year. Most Anoles will shed around 6 times, though. During this shedding period, make sure the Monkey Anole has the proper humidity and moisture. Don’t feed it either.

As for brumation, your Monkey Anole may not brumate at all. In the wild, they brumate for a month before the mating season. Unless you replicate the seasons, the Monkey Anole will likely not brumate, however it may go through periods of slightly decreased appetite.

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How Much Do Monkey Anoles Cost?

One reason that Monkey Anoles make great pets for beginners is that they are very affordable, especially for a colorful reptile. Nearly all Monkey Anoles cost around $50, but many breeders will give you a discount if you buy more than one.

Of course, you will need to buy the enclosure and all set up items, and this costs much more than the Monkey Anole itself. The setup can cost around $400 in total. Luckily, you will only have to pay for this once.

Care Guide Summary

  • Very colorful
  • Affordable
  • Relatively easy to care for
  • Males must be housed individually
  • Not suitable for handling



If you’re looking for a reptile pet that is easy to care for yet still affordable and colorful, the Monkey Anole may be right up your alley. These curious lizards are bright green and very small, which makes them very fun to watch inside the cage.

Just like any other reptile, Monkey Anoles have specific living conditions, but they aren’t quite as sensitive as other reptiles. As a result, they make a great pet for beginner reptile lovers. Even if you aren’t a beginner, they still make great pets!

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Diego Grandi, Shutterstock

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