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Reptiles/Green Anole Lizard - Is it sick?

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Question
Hello,

I would like to ask you about a wild Green Anole lizard I found three or so days ago. Normally I find these lizards in my screened in porch on a regular basis (so clearly they are more than capable of coming in and out without a problem). This lizard is unusual though because he has stayed in the exact same area for three days now. Every time I find him he is completely still and dark brown and is kind of on the skinny side. When I go to pick him up he is doesn't fuss much and willingly crawls into my hand. After he sits there in my hand for a bit he turns bright green and is kind of spunky. As a side note, yesterday he kept opening it's mouth a lot as if he was hungry/thirsty, (which I thought was kind of weird) so I'm not sure if he is eating or not.

I just want this little guy to be healthy. So my question is; is he sick or something? My brother owns a chameleon, so he helped me put together a small temporary cage for the anole and we put a heating lamp over him. I want to release him back into the wild but I want to make sure he is healthy before I do so.

Thanks for your input!

Answer
It does sound as though the anole is ill, possibly with a respiratory infection (opening the mouth can be a sign of this - think of how you feel when you're stuffed up with a cold, and are having trouble breathing).  The truth is that he is unlikely to recover without veterinary care.  Only a vet will be able to diagnose the exact problem, and treat it appropriately.  The dark color, the weight loss, the lethargy, and opening the mouth are all signs of serious illness, though of course it can't be diagnosed without a vet checkup.  Sick reptiles will not eat.  Anoles drink water only from droplets, so spray often to help him stay hydrated and more comfortable.  Temperatures should be 80F with a 90F basking spot (and controlled temperatures are vital).

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Donna Fernstrom

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

Organizations
Nebraska Herpetological Society (nebherp.org)

Publications
I have many care sheets published on my own website.

Education/Credentials
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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