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Thread: sheltering wild anoles from cold, please advise.

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    Default sheltering wild anoles from cold, please advise.

    I'm hoping to get some input from you anole experts out there to assist in guiding us here. I now have numerous guys in my garage and 2 in my house so just want to give them best possible care through winter. I also don't want to stress them as I know they belong in my yard but it's so cold right now I fear they will die out there.

    The background I'm giving should help as this was an accidental process I began when I moved to Florida this summer. I was thrilled about my new yard pets so I did tons of research and when realized they were territorial, I began to talk to them (even named a few I recognized popping out often) so they would get accustomed to my voice. After a few weeks and several actually becoming curious about me (I'd actually been able to pet the backs of a couple at this point without them running away) and showing themselves to me very often, I thought supplimenting them with a few crickets would be fun so headed to pet store, got a few to see how it would go and was quite entertained when 4 fav's came out and were thrilled with their special treat. This turned into a fairly regular event, about once every 2 weeks or so as I didn't want to disturb their regular hunting habits in case I wasn't there. Four of these anoles got accustomed to my voice and would appear almost as soon as they'd hear me talking, probably wanting food but it thrilled me. When 2 of the males actually ran out of bushes to bite at carrier while it sat on the ground between hubby and I, I could think of no greater reward. Needless to say, I became quite attached to my little friends. We also set up little water source out of bottom of plant pot so they could drink and take a dip if they liked that we made sure stayed approx 1/2" full and I was so tickled when watching them run to it for a drink. You have to understand that everyone has told me this type interaction isn't possible.

    During the fall I accidentally set up a winter hut when I started putting the weeds I pulled in a small plastic trash can I could hide in the corner of my sheltered porch. Although I'd empty it twice a week initially, when I realized the little guys were having a ball playing in it I decided to leave it for slightly longer intervals. Come Oct I realized they were settling in it for winter, it was in a great spot to brace for cold and wind so decided I'd just leave it for the winter. At this point, I'm guessing at least half a dozen had moved in and I continued providing a few cricket treats to fatten them up as much as possible for the colder months. Well, here's what's happened now.

    Several days ago, my husband was pulling out of driveway and I was watching as they like to climb on the tires and we worry about them getting hurt. His ritual is to intially check underneath but as they're so good at hiding, he'll also go a few inches, I check, again a few inches, etc until he's out of driveway and usually anything will jump off by then. So, as he's pulling out this day, one does jump off and I go to check that he's okay. He's not hurt but is so cold he's barely moving. I rub his back, he won't move more than fraction of inch and I realize he's so cold he'll probably die if I leave him there. Either that or be run over. Although it's Florida, it's been record cold and I know it's hard on these little guys. He actually stays in this spot while I go into my house & clean out an empty coffee can for a temp container then return to him and very easily coax him inside. Again, he's half froze with no shelter. I add some foilage, put in a cricket in case he's hungry when he gets a little warmer and bring him inside. We get a larger container, set up anole hospital and in a very short period he is thawed and perked right up but I'm afraid releasing him back out will only lead to initial dilemma so decide we'll keep him in house til this cold snap breaks. This is also when I get the great idea that when the sun goes down I'm also going to carry weed can from porch into garage as they're calling for freezing temps thru the night and I can't stand the idea of finding them dead in spring. So, hubby brings them into garage, we're not sure who's in there but are hoping at least my fav guys have bedded down deep inside. Meanwhile, my half frozen guy inside house has really perked up and is very curious about his new digs and doing well. I am waiting for cold spell to break before releasing him again.

    So, yesterday we move weed can next to garage door as it's heating up and figure it'll give extra warmth inside can. I also left the light on to give them some semblence of a normal day. As the day wears on and they warm up, out appears my baby dragon and ghost (my 2 big males) and 1 other small male and a little girl. I can also hear rustling so know there are others inside so am happy they've made it thru the night and garage is protecting them from cold and wind. Now, here's where I start needing you experts out there to give me some input.

    During the day, baby dragon and ghost decided to explore and set up camp elsewhere in the garage. Baby dragon is on the wall, ghost is somewhere on the other side of garage. Then early last night, when I'm walking into kitchen, there's an anole in the middle of the floor. I think this one is one that had been living on our back screen and I hadn't seen for week or so. Since his color was so great, I have a feeling he got in earlier than we think, probably when this cold snap began. So we catch him and put him in gecko hosp with other one, that's where 2 in the house have come from. He seems quite content and curious.

    So, here's my concerns, questions. I know stress can be very dangerous so want to avoid at all costs. I surely don't want to kill them with kindness, this is not my intent. I plan to release both in house as soon as cold snap ends, I may even release them into can in garage sooner if it appears their stay in house is becoming stressful. Then, ultimately, what's the likelyhood that my garage visitors are going to want to set up house in there for good. We have water down and will release little crickets if they seem hungry but I really want them to be healthy and happy and want to make sure my garage won't have opposite effect. I'm thinking trying to catch them might not be the easiest thing so could try to coax them back outside with food but yesterday when I had garage door open Ghost was sitting right there, looked outside and then went behind box instead, he was not at all interested in returning to the outdoors. I don't mind if they choose to stay but I want them to thrive, make babies and have a wonderful life and don't know if that's possible if they do. Please advise on my possible next steps here, the last thing I want is for them suffer in any way and I know this is not natural for these little critters. The food suppliments, shelter, water dish, etc. Am I doing harm here or is this okay? I've read about lots of folks trying to save them so just want to be sure I'm actually helping them and not hurting them. Sorry for such a long post but I thought all info was pertinent so you'd know we have a little different circumstance going on here and that I've actually befriended several of these guys. Has anyone else out there done same thing with good results? Thanks for any advice you can give me.
    Last edited by mustangsally; 12-08-2010 at 11:39 PM. Reason: corrections

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    I'm sorry but I can't read threw all that. Mind splitting it up into paragraphs?

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    I'm sorry, just corrected. Hope this helps. Thanks so much.

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    If they are wild... just leave them outside in the cold. Its nature. Let it takes its course.
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    Or buy a 55 or 75 gallon terrarium and set it up as winter housing for your favorites...

    We used to do this with our pond fish... we had orandas that we found out the hard way wouldn't survive the winter like the hardier koi, so we'd bring the sensitive ones inside every winter...
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    A friend of mine set up an outdoor heater/heat lamp over her hummingbird feeder to help keep the food thawed during a deep freeze. Maybe getting a small outdoor heater that radiates, and then putting their winter dwelling near (not on though) it so they can thermoregulate as needed during the very low temps?
    I would also just make sure the garage is not as enticing as living outdoors come springtime, that way they'll naturally want to be outside.
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    or you could put a space heater in the garage, put a small tub that u put crix in occasionally and if you have a window in youre garage than maybe crack it open a bit so that they can come and go! im glad you are caring, but it seems like youre trying to save the world! do you have a vent for youre dryer? you could build a little "dog house" styled enclosure and hook it up so that the hot dryer air is blown into it heating it throghout the winter and when it becomes summer again you can move it to the side! just a few possiblities i can think if more but they are not really practical =D good luck saving the world! you have a large heart maybe too large but atleast you care!
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