Also known as Cuban Knight Anole
The Knight Anole (Anolis equestris) is native to Cuba & South Florida. They can live 10 - 15 years and grow to 13 - 21 inches. Their conservation statis is Least Concern (LC).
The Basics for Knight Anoles
- 24"W x 24"D x 36"H
- Coconut fiber or reptile carpet
- UVB & Basking Light
- 80 - 90 ° F
- 50% - 80%
- Crickets, mealworms & supplements
Cuban knight anoles are a member of the, you guessed it, anole family. They’re native to Cuba but have been introduced to South Florida where the climate is similar to that of Cuba. Since they can be found in the United States, they’re often caught and placed in captivity. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it may result in you having a not-so-friendly pet. At least for a short period of time. Many report their ability to adapt to captivity is excellent and your new knight anole will eventually become a docile, friendly pet lizard. I personally have not captured a knight anole so I cannot bear witness to this claim.
An interesting fact about knight anole is their reputation for being incredibly territorial. When faced with a perceived threat, a knight anole will lift its head, revealing the white & red neck (aka “Dewlap”) and then process to puff up.
Cuban Knight Anole Care Sheet
Whether you obtained your anole out in the wild or purchased from a pet store, there are a few important things to know when caring for them. The first and likely most important is to keep them separate if there is any real difference in size. This means you should not place a baby knight anole (or any other type of lizard) with an adult. Otherwise, it may become part of his or her menu.
Knight anoles can be difficult to handle. Some owners have had success in doing this, while others have not. If you do choose to handle your pet you should be very observant. If your knight anole starts turning brown this means he/she is very upset or stressed. Should this happen you will want to place them back in the cage and let them cool down. Give them a few days or a week and ensure their color returns to bright green before attempting to tame again.
Another thing to consider, should you catch a knight anole in the wild, is to leave them alone for a couple weeks. A captured knight anole will probably turn brown and this is a bad sign (but typical). Their color will return to normal when they’re no longer stressed. Only then should you attempt to hold them!
Here is a quick recap of the basics
- Knight Anole are territorial
- Don’t place small lizards with an adult
- Handle often but be cautious to not cause stress
- Cannot tolerate freezing temperatures
- Let your anole rest several days or a week if needed
In the wild, knight anoles spend quality time in trees. Their captive habitat should mimic this as best as possible with the use of a vertical terrarium. Something at least 36″ in height with plenty of branches for climbing. I also suggest using a wide branch stretched across the top of their cage near their basking light. Some type of platform, hammock or, as I just mentioned, a branch will suffice.
Here are my suggestions for an enclosure. A glass aquarium at least 3 feet tall can work well but might be a little on the expensive side. It holds humidity and heat really well. If you go that rout, a screen lid is a must. Or you can get a terrarium or screen cage. These, depending on which one you get, will be ventilated better and might be less expensive.
- Glass aquarium
- Terrarium (glass but with good ventilation)
- Screen cage
Temperature & Lighting
Lighting and temperature is crucial for your knight anole’s health. Provide a quality UVB light with an additional basking light to maintain a temperature between 95 – 100 ° F at the top of the cage. As I mentioned previously, there should be a basking area at the top of the cage so your knight anole can access the higher temperature areas, soak up some UVB light then climb to the lower parts of the cage to escape the heat whenever they desire. The lower portions of their enclosure can range between 70 – 80 ° F bringing their entire habitat’s temperature range from 70 at the bottom of their cage to 100 at the top of their cage.
Humidity is another important part of a knight anole’s life. Especially in captivity. They rarely, if ever, drink from water dishes or drips. This mean they will obtain the water they need from the leaves within their enclosure. Maintain humidity between 50% – 80%. This can be accomplished by misting their cage at least twice a day and it will give your knight anole a source of drinking water.
Since knight anoles spend most of their time in the vertical spaces of their terrariums, you might not consider substrate to be an important part of their life but it is. Its true they wont spend much time lounging on the bottom but because they’re such ferocious eaters, they can accidentally ingest their substrate. This is called impaction and it can be fatal to your knight anole. Avoid fertilized soil and opt for something like a coconut fiber substrate.
Feeding Your Knight Anole
Feed your knight anole crickets & mealworms every day or every other day. Its also suggested you gutload your crickets or dust them with calcium powder supplements. Be careful not to overdue the dusting. Most supplements are to help the production of Vitamin D3 in your knight anole but thats also what the UVB light does. Either dusting the crickets or gutloading them is fine but do not do both! Most opt for the supplements because its a bit easier but if you’re up for gutloading crickets, we have a guide you might might find helpful. Provide a clean bowl of water for drinking if you’re concerned, although they probably wont drink from it. They will get water when you mist their cage each day.