Giant Blue Beauty Anole Care Guide (Anolis equestris potior)
These striking anoles truly live up to their name, Giant Blue Beauty. They are amongst the largest anole species and by far the bluest! Anolis equestris potior is a sub-species of the Cuban Knight Anole (Anolis equestris equestris) is only found on the small island of Cayo Santa Maria, just a few kilometers north of the main island of Cuba.
In the Giant Blue Beauty’s native habitat, they can be found on tree trunks and branches in the canopy foraging for insects, small lizards, and other invertebrates. Some omnivorous behaviors have been observed in Blue Beauty Anoles including eating fruits and even Pangea Gecko Diet. Their native climate is warm and humid, typical of the Caribbean tropics.
These gorgeous lizards have easy-to-moderate care requirements for most keepers. While Giant Blue Beauty Anoles can be more handleable then some Anolis species, they should be considered display species with limited handling.
Anoles are medium bodied arboreal lizards that spend most of their time in trees. Choosing a front-opening enclosure with a screen-top that favors height over floor space is the most appropriate enclosure design for these beauties. A pair of Giant Blue Beauties will do well in 18" x 18" x 24" enclosure but more room is always better. Juveniles can be housed in a 12" x 12" x 18" enclosure for several months.
Glass, PVC, ABS, or HDPE can all work as enclosure materials. Depending on the manufacturer, you may need to seal the seams to prevent leakage. Screen tops or other ventilation should be present to facilitate airflow. A front opening option will allow for easier access for cleaning, feeding, maintenance, etc., but will also help alleviate some of the lizard's stress when hands are in the enclosure because most predators’ anoles face come from above.
Being arboreal lizards, the most important items in your anole's enclosure are climbing surfaces. Branches, like Pangea Ghost Wood Branches, of different diameters that include multiple options of branches as thick or thicker than the lizard's body will facilitate their arboreal tendencies. Pangea Cork Backgrounds and cork flats can be incorporated as well. Branches should be placed vertically and diagonally with basking spots in mind. As you can see in the picture to the right they really enjoy the Pangea Ultimate Vine.
A variety of substrates can be used but we recommend coconut coir like Zoo Med Eco Earth or a soil blend with some sand like Zoo Med Reptisoil. For example, a 50/25/25 mix of coconut coir, organic topsoil, and washed play sand can be used. The substrate can be 1” deep since these anoles will spend very little time on the ground, typically only when hunting. If you plan to incorporate live plants, plan on using deeper substrate.
Plants are another critical item to include in your Giant Blue Beauty Anole’s enclosure. Foliage provides cover for the animal, assists in the formation microclimates, and adds a pleasing aesthetic for you. You can choose to use artificial plants for your enclosure but an excellent option for these anoles is a bioactive enclosure with live plants.
To learn how to set up a bioactive enclosure, check out our blog (coming soon!).
Coming from a small tropical island in the Caribbean, these anoles like it hot and humid, especially during the summer months. While Cuba is not equatorial, a day-night cycle with 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark can work for them year-round, but seasonal simulation should be attempted when possible.
In the wild, these beautiful lizards have a humid environment and receive regular rain, especially from May-September. To achieve similar conditions, the enclosure should be misted multiple times a day, including the morning and evening, with a hand mister or automatic mister. Misting should be thorough and if you are in a drier climate, then you may need to mist more often to achieve appropriate humidity levels.
In captivity, these anoles will often be seen basking, so it is important to set their lights up properly for healthiest animals. This can be achieved with 2-3 lights. These beauties require fairly high levels UVB for adequate D3 synthesis. Anolis equestris are in Ferguson Zone 3 with an ultraviolet index (UVI) of 1.1-3.0. To achieve this UVI you can use a 10.0 UVB bulb from Zoo Med, a 12% bulb from Arcadia or a Zone 3 bulb from Reptile Systems. The necessary UV output increases as distance increases, adjustments to the bulb selection or basking spot should be made to accommodate the required UVI.
In addition to UVB, these anoles require UVA and Infrared wavelengths from lighting. The best way to achieve this is with a low-wattage halogen bulb like the 50-watt Pangea Halogen bulb or the 35-watt Zoo Med Nano Halogen bulb for smaller enclosures but may need to be upgraded for larger enclosures. You should choose a bulb that is appropriate for your enclosure size. You may adjust the height of bulb or the basking branches to achieve a basking temperature around 95°F but we expand on the topic of temperatures further down this care guide. Mercury Vapor Bulbs like the Reptile Systems D3 UV Basking Lamp can be used for both UV and Heat and work great for larger enclosures.
The following parameters should be used in the summer and winter, respectively, with a 1–2-month gradual transition for spring and fall.
The summer months in Cuba (June-Sept.) come with heat and heavy rainfall. To accomplish this, we recommend these parameters:
Light: 14 hours of daylight - 10 hours of darkness
Basking spot of 90°F - 100°F
Ambient temperatures of 73°F - 80°F
Relative Humidity of 60 - 100%
Mist Daily (3x)- in the morning, mid-day, and evening.
The winter months in Cuba (Dec-March) are a little cooler with a little less rain. To accomplish this we recommend these parameters:
Light: 10 hours of daylight - 14 hours of darkness
Basking spot of 80°F - 90°F
Ambient temperatures of 70°F - 75°F
Relative Humidity of 60 - 100%
Mist Daily (2x) - in the morning, and evening.
Most common feeder insects will be great for Giant Blue Beauty Anoles. Crickets, roaches, hornworms, silkworms, and other live insects can all be fed to these lizards. Feeder items should be able to pass through a space as wide as the space between the anole's eyes. Prior to feeding your anole, the insects should be fed an appropriate gut-load like Pangea Insect Grub 24-hours in advance. Feeder insects should be dusted with a calcium supplement at least every other feeding and a multivitamin once a week. Based on our experience observing basking behavior and research from other keepers in the hobby we believe that using Calcium with D3 is more beneficial than without.
Following these guidelines will certainly set you up to have success with Giant Blue Beauty Anoles but we recommend using multiple sources and continuous research as reptile husbandry and research continue to advance. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out to us and we will do our best to help you.