To continue our series on lab anole husbandry, let’s talk food! We feed our room full of hungry anoles Acheta crickets ordered from Fluker Farms. We house crickets in 21-gallon plastic tubs (bought from places like Target or Home Depot) that have been modified for ventilation – we cut holes in the lids and glue wire screen on top. We provide egg layer mash for food, water crystals (usually used for plants) on a small deli cup lid for water, and egg crates to give them places to hide.
During our breeding season, when we try to emulate the summer season (room temp: 83F, light cycle: 14 light:10 dark), we feed our Anolis distichus adults two week (1/4”) sized crickets three times a week. During our “winter” cycle (room temp: 80F, light cycle: 10 light:14 dark), we feed twice a week. Hatchlings up to about a month old are fed pinheads (3/16”) daily, and then are big enough to eat two week crickets on the same feeding routine as the adults.
On a thrice-weekly feeding schedule, we dust with calcium powder (Rep-Cal) once a week. At one stage, we were dusting more often with calcium powder, but had a few problems of anoles getting enlarged endolymphatic sacs. While calcareous accumulation in these sacs seems to be a good sign in geckos, all anoles that have developed these have died shortly after. Has anybody else seen or had problems with these?
As we also had a bout of problems with Vitamin A deficiency, we dust crickets at every feeding with multivitamins (Rep-Cal Herptivite). This powder doesn’t seem to stick on the crickets as long as the calcium does, so we also supplement the crickets’ diet with sweet potato, which turns the crickets a nice salmon colour when they’ve consumed it!
I’m keen to hear whether people do things differently to us. What do you gut-load your crickets with? How often do you feed your anoles?