The Art of Hatching

A 2-dimensional ultrasound image of an egg inside a female A. carolinensis in 2008. Though I was supposed to be imaging human blood vessels during my doctorate, I snuck in some imaging of my anoles.

My first baby Anolis carolinensis hatched in 2003.  Since that time, I have had 9 eggs hatch.  Cultivating the eggs, feeding the tiny newborns and caring for the gravid females has certainly been a challenging adventure.

So far this summer, I’ve been fortunate to have 3 Anolis carolinensis eggs hatch under my watch. Below are some video clips of these delicate and inquisitive creatures as they emerge from their eggs and discover their new world. All videos are filmed in real time.

Hatchling #1 (aka Watson).
Below: Filming began when he was half way out of the egg. Note how a portion of the egg contents (experts, what is this?) remain attached after he emerges.

Two goals after exiting the egg: catching his breath and shedding the thin layer of dried film coating his body.

Determining if the new hatchling is a male or female. In this case, it’s a boy!

Hatchling #2 (aka Samantha). Although I missed her initial attempt to free herself from her leathery prison (see the small slit in the egg near the red spot), I did capture her successful emergence.

After a bit of a rest, she exited the egg and unlike her brother, without extra egg contents.

No less than 30 minutes after hatching, she began exploring.

For more pictures of the hatchlings, click here.

About Allison DeVan

I received my Ph.D. in Vascular Physiology from The University of Texas at Austin in 2009. I am currently a postdoctoral fellow/research faculty at the University of Colorado-Boulder in the Integrative Physiology of Aging Laboratory. My research focuses on the effects of aging, exercise, nutraceuticals and disease on endothelial function and large elastic artery stiffness in humans. Although I do not formally research Anolis, I have bred and kept Anolis carolinensis for more than 20 years.

29 thoughts on “The Art of Hatching

  1. Great stuff. A brown anole egg has been sitting in the soil of a potted plant in my office, presumably laid by one of the many sagrei that use my office as an extension of their daily wanderings. This morning a rather stunned looking hatchling was surveying the world from the edge of the pot. I’ve left the window open for it.

  2. If I came across some Anolis eggs in the wild, what do I need to do to hatch them? I mean, of course, I could leave them alone. But if I wanted to bring them in & watch the process.. looks like you have just covered them in potting soil & kept it moist. Is that enough? How long do they take to hatch (assuming you know when they are laid)? Anything else?

    1. First, you should determine whether it is legal for you obtain anole eggs from the wild, even if solely for the purpose of watching the eggs hatch. Any discussion related to illegal collection of animals from the wild is banned from Anole Annals ( If you determine that collecting anole eggs is legal where you might have a chance to do it, myself and other readers will be delighted to provide some information on successful incubation practices.

      1. I’ve just sent off an email to the terrestrial ecologist on the Department of the Environment staff of the Caymanian government to find out. I would never take any animal into captivity illegally, even for a good cause! But thanks for reminding me to check.

  3. Allison, perhaps you comment (or better, a post!) about how you incubate your eggs and raise hatchlings. I know several have posted on this topic before, but I’m interested to see how private hobbyists do things without obvious access to some of the resources we have in the lab (eg., climate control rooms, cricket colonies, etc).

    1. Thanks for checking in regarding my previous post “Guerrilla Warfare by Female Anoles?”. Last week, the aggressive female shed her skin and this uncovered some nasty-looking wounds (see attached photo). She is now receiving intramuscular injections of Fortaz (ceftazidime) every 3 days. Her skin appears to be improving with this treatment.

      Yesterday, I placed her next to a male A. carolinensis and she promptly tried to bite him so she is continuing to live alone in a 40 gallon aquarium.

  4. Thanks for the update. Those wounds don’t look to great but i’m sure they’ll heal.

    I had an A. sagrei that lost its eye an lived for almost 2 years after and it didn’t seem to bother him much even when feeding.

    As for the aggression, still curious as to the cause. Has to be something to do with the brain I would think, tumor, parasite? How’s she act in her own viv? Stressed, unactive, active? Has she layed?

    Sorry for all the questions it just really seems odd to me, an animal going against its species characteristics.

  5. I have now gotten verbal permission to hatch A. maynardi eggs for the purposes of making a small educational video for the Caymans. Should I be able to FIND A. marnardi eggs (looking in leaf litter would be my instinct), how do I hatch them?

    If someone can answer with advice and would prefer not to spread it around the internet, lest we start a run on Anolis eggs, I could be emailed privately at

  6. Pat and Daniel,

    I am working on a post on how I, as a private hobbyist, care for the eggs from my captive anoles. I hope to have it posted in a few days (if approved by the editors).

  7. hi, i was wondering about how long it would take for an anole egg to hatch, i had one laid on the first of october it is now the 30th, whats the time frame on incubation periods?

      1. been keeping at about 85 degrees during the day about 60-70 at night seeing as the UVB bulb is off for that time period, keeping it nice and hummid too inside a container witha mesh lid inside the anoles tank with some jungle dirt for sub.

  8. Thank you for providing the videos and information. While gardening I found several Anole eggs and was able to incubate them in damp vermiculite. This was my first experience doing this; so far #1, #2 and #3 have hatched successfully. Education never ends!

  9. My Anole’s enclosure has an ambient temp of 80 and a basking spot of 90 can I leave the Laybox in the enclosure until the eggs hatch? Or should I move it to another tank? I’d put the hatchlings in a different enclosure than the adults of course, I was just wondering about until the eggs hatch.

  10. Excellent, i live in Florida where the brown anole population has greatly taken over the green. But what is amazing is when my wife and i do find them while fossil hunting. If you’re used to seeing the non indigenous species, the brown, move, you should watch the temperament difference of the greens. They’re unremarkable creatures, exhibit almost no fear while gently handling. also fully began exploring my wife and i jumping from one to the other till it made its way to my hat.

  11. I just got a brand new anole hatchling from my screen . I want to keep it safe until it’s large enough not to ge eaten . What do I feed it ? I’ve placed in a plastic container with moist soil and some grass etc.. The lid has several holes for it to breathe. Please advise on what to feed it . I’ve been wanting to do this for a very long time .

  12. Is this (Anoles Annals) still active as of 9/19/2015?
    Would love to get updates…so interesting! We have several anole ‘families’ living in our back yard including green. They are relaxed and interested when I converse with them in a low, even voice. The males don’t hesitate to show their beaut iful
    ‘calling’ color:) Thank you.

  13. I was looking for answers on the Internet and came across this very helpful page. I have a coupleasant of questions:
    My anoles have been in the tank together since June when my female was put in the tank my male instantly showed signs of attraction with his neck and bobbing head, my female was responsive the next couple days after she got use to the new environment. Now we have an egg, that I just noticed while cleaning the substrate out of the tank. Unfortunately I was like a big kid made a great lil container with soil and moss quickly picked up the egg and placed it in its container. I say unfortunately because as even though I was careful handling the egg I did reposition it and then the following day I turned it slightly so that it was in my mind throughly getting the heat of the tank. I do keep my tank between 85 and 89 during the day at night 75ish area. I read on another page that when handling the egg not to bother it with moving it from original posit ion as the baby inside would detach from the egg wall and drown. Is this true ? Havery I inadvertently hurt my egg? How do i know it’s a good egg ? From the picture above my egg looks to be about the 23 day egg. It was hard as a rock when I removed it from where it was buried in the tank and now it has soft spots. Pleasent help me I’m a 1st time anole mommy and my son is so excited that he has a dragon egg.

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