Brown Anoles Vs. Green Anoles: What's the Difference?

While they aren't the same, brown and green anoles both make great pets and have lots in common.

Published February 20, 2023
Close-up of anole gecko on rock

Anoles are small lizards that are popular to keep as pets. If you're trying to decide between a green anole and a brown anole, you might wonder if the only difference between the two is their color. They actually have several differences, including their native areas, dewlap colors, and head shapes. However, these two lizards also share many similarities. We've done the research on brown anoles vs. green anoles, so you don't have to.

Brown and Green Anoles: How Are They Different?

Even though the brown and green varieties are both anole lizards, they're unique species and have several differences.

  • Different species: The brown anole's full scientific name is Anolis sagrei, and the green anole is A. carolinensis.
  • Different native areas: The brown anole is native to the Bahamas and Cuba, whereas the green anole is native to the southeast area of the United States.
  • Different body color: The brown anole's body shade can range from brown to gray, and the green anole is typically a bright shade of green, though they can change to a brownish shade.
  • Different dewlap colors: The dewlap is the large crest anoles project beneath their throats and chests. The brown anole's dewlap is a red-orange shade, while the green anole's dewlap is a pink color.
  • Different head size and shape: The brown anole's head is slightly smaller and shorter than the green anole's.
  • Different color-changing abilities: Green anoles can change their color to a brownish shade based on their stress level, temperature, or health status. Brown anoles cannot change to green, but they can shift their coloring to a gray or black.
  • Different number of eggs: Brown anoles lay eggs more often than green anoles.
Fast Fact

The brown anole - also known as the Cuban anole - has established itself as an invasive species in Florida. It is now one of the most invasive lizard species in the state, and has spread to Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Southern California, and Hawaii.

Brown anole lizard, close-up (Anolis sagrei)

Similarities Between Brown Anoles and Green Anoles

How are the brown anole and green anole the same? These two lizards share many similarities, including their body size, ideal environment, diet, and overall care.

  • Same body size: Both anoles have the same average body size of about 6 to 9 inches long.
  • Same lifespan: Both anoles can live up to 5 years in captivity.
  • Same habitat size: Both anoles should be housed in a well-ventilated aquarium that is at least 10 gallons.
  • Same enclosure temperatures and humidity: Both types of anoles should be housed in an environment with a cooler area (around 75 degrees Fahrenheit) with a warmer basking area (between 85 and 90 degrees). Maintain an ideal humidity between 60 and 70 percent.
  • Same lighting requirements: Both brown and green anoles need about 12 hours of UVA and UVB light daily.
  • Same diet: Both anoles eat a diet of insects, including mealworms, crickets, fruit flies, and silkworms.
  • Same supplementation: Both anoles need calcium and vitamin supplementation.

Can You Keep a Green Anole With a Brown Anole?

Yes, technically, you can house a green anole with a brown anole, considering they have the same habitat requirements. However, anoles generally do best when housed alone. Keeping multiple anoles, whether green or brown or both, can result in fighting over resources or illness due to stress. If you intend to keep several anoles, you'll need to make sure you have a spacious aquarium with several basking areas.

Both Anole Species Make Great Pets

Green anoles and brown anoles are great beginner lizards. Just make sure you educate yourself on their care needs before committing to this pet. Without the right type of environment or diet, your anole can become incredibly sick. Whether you choose a brown or green anole, you'll have a cute and interesting lizard friend for many years.

Trending on LoveToKnow
Brown Anoles Vs. Green Anoles: What's the Difference?