What Color Are Green Anoles When They Die?

Mr. Cricketts, the anole in question, in her prime

Mr. Cricketts, the anole in question, in her prime

Can any reader help with this question that came in to the AA offices?

“I found the Anole Annals website but I really would just like an answer to one question.  Can you help me?  My daughter wanted an anole and we bought one in May of 2012.  Well, she passed away last night and I didn’t realize the extent of my love for her because I’ve been miserable all night.  She would be brown and turn green when she slept or when she was alone.  I found her at 10 PM hanging out of her log and I believe she had just expired because she was still all soft and lovely.  The main thing is she was her beautiful green color and in death she remained green.  Is it normal for an anole to be green when they die? Would she have turned green before or after her death?  Could she have felt a feeling of calm or been sleeping in her green color when she died?  I really am just hoping she died in her sleep.  She was an old lady and her habits changed.  She used to always be vertical in her greenery, but the last 2 months I think it was too hard for her to grasp and she spent more time on her log or on the slanted jutouts on her log as that was easier for her to hold on to but still be a little bit vertical.  I am just trying to come to grips with her death and hoping she was OK at the very end.  I was probably in the same room as I was on the computer but not paying attention to her right then, really hoping she wasn’t reaching out of the log to try and get my attention and I didn’t know.”

About Jonathan Losos

Professor and Curator of Herpetology at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. I've spent my entire professional career studying anoles and have discovered that the more I learn about anoles, the more I realize I don't know.

9 thoughts on “What Color Are Green Anoles When They Die?

  1. Very sorry for the loss of your pet. I’ve had the misfortune of seeing quite a few dead green anoles in the wild, as we’ve documented here before: http://www.anoleannals.org/2015/03/25/a-sad-mystery-dying-green-anoles-in-gainesville/

    Though I didn’t take any notes on colour, my memory suggests that most of these dead green anoles were in fact green, and not brown. There’s some evidence that brown coloration indicates stress in A. carolinensis (http://www.anoleannals.org/2015/01/09/sicb-2015-color-and-stress-in-green-anoles/), so I’d like to believe that these dying lizards were relatively stress-free, but it’s a difficult question to answer for sure.

  2. I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Mr. Crickets. I have not seen an anole die, but my observations of them in the wild is that they are green when they are warm & happy and darker when stressed or cold.

  3. I have had my Anole MOJO for 10 plus years. He passed yesterday morning. He was green n stayed green in his passing. I read they r green when sleeping n believe he died in his sleep. But w/ one eye open as he looked for me. He had big eyes n would look at me when I talked to him. He was tame n would stay on my hand n liked the water. Towards the end my female turned vicious n was attacking him n had to remove her . She was stressing him turning him brown n hiding . He slowed down over the next 4 weeks staying on the ground . Was hand feeding cricket till he no longer would eat the night before. I will miss him but know he had a good life… I’ve been told 10 years for an anole is unbelievable . He was happy

    1. 10 years is an extraordinary life for a green anole! I’ve never heard of an anole making it to be a decadanarian. I’m sorry for your loss, but it seems like Mojo had a wonderful life.

    2. Hi,don’t be sad .Its a long and good live.

      I have a pair Anolis valencienni more than 13 years old.Female often on ground and shows thats for her heavy to climp up branches…….

      I hope the best

      other anoles of mine sleeps. I think all ok. But no, they have gone…….

      best regards

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