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Reptiles/Green Anole Cyst



Donna, I have a juvenile Green Anole (Nemo) that has formed a cyst/blister like abscess on the left side of his head/neck. He is approx. 4 1/2 or 5 inches long (including tail) living in a 15 gal glass tank. I use coconut bark substrate, which was recommended to me by a worker at the pet store. He continues to eat and drink regularly, but the abscess seems to be growing slightly (after several weeks). I'll attach an image for reference. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Hi, Jared,
This is a recurrent problem in captive green anoles.  To the best of my knowledge, no one has yet solved it.  No one knows why it happens.
I would recommend being certain that your UVB light is less than 6 months old, and that insects are properly supplemented.  He will need to see a vet to have the swelling lanced.  It will be filled with a clear, viscous fluid, and it may reoccur.  Prognosis is poor if it reoccurs.

If you are using supplements, try reducing D3 supplements to 2X per month, and multivitamin 1X per month, and use plain calcium (without D3) the rest of the time.  Gutload insects properly. This is the regimen recommended by one individual who successfully keeps green anoles without experiencing this issue.

Keep humidity high, and keep the anole well-hydrated.  Some keepers do NOT have this issue with their anoles.  There is something either in the environment, or in our husbandry, that is causing this problem, and no one has identified it yet.

If you take your anole to a veterinarian, have the substance inside the cyst cultured.  The results could be helpful for all keepers of these animals.


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Donna Fernstrom


My particular focus is on snakes and lizards, but I have a decent smattering of knowledge of turtles and crocodilians as well, plus the experience to get relevant information quickly if I don't have it on hand in my brain. I can answer questions on captive care, diet, breeding, incubation of eggs, starting hatchlings, and more. I am particularly experienced with ball pythons, Lygodactylus geckos and other small lizards with similar care requirements, leopard geckos, and garter snakes.


I am a professional breeder of ball python morphs, Lygodactylus (dwarf) geckos, and mourning geckos. I have begun working with Irian Jaya carpet pythons, and plan to expand to include more gecko species in the future. I also have a background breeding leopard geckos, and have kept several other species of small lizards, snakes, and a water turtle.

Nebraska Herpetological Society (

I have many care sheets published on my own website.

High School Graduate. Extensively self-taught due to high interest in wildlife and reptile care.

Awards and Honors
Fauna Classifieds board of inquiry Good Guy Certification

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