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 #2234397


Atrax27407
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 Anole Care Sheet (Final?)

PLEASE DO NOT POST OR ATTACH QUESTIONS TO THE END OF THIS CARE SHEET. IF YOU CAN NOT FIND AN ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION HERE, START A SEPERATE MESSAGE THREAD

This care sheet applies to all small/medium sized Anoles.

Research!

The time to do research is BEFORE you buy an Anole and bring it home. You should have a proper enclosure ready for it when you walk through the door.

1) Know the basic requirements (i.e., space, temperatures, lighting, diet, etc.). As with most small animals, the cost of the animal itself is not going to be your major expense. Housing an Anole in improper conditions is tantamount to animal cruelty.

2) Know what the lifespan of your intended purchase is going to be. Small species routinely live 4-6 years in captivity and the larger species 10-15 years.

How many times do you see an article in the newspaper where some idiot has had to try to have a zoo take his "pet" that has outgrown its enclosure or the ability of the "owner" to care for it? It applies to small animals as well. If you aren’t prepared to offer proper conditions for the life of the Anole, you probably shouldn’t have bought it in the first place. Never release a non-native Anole into the wild. Outside of their natural range, they are ALL invasive species.

Choosing Your Anole

Choose a healthy Anole. It should be active and have no visible injuries or fecal discharges from the vent. Small reptiles are difficult (and expensive) to treat. You aren’t doing the Anole a favor by "rescuing" it. With a slow metabolism, by the time the serious symptoms appear, it is often too late for treatment.

Environment

Enclosures - By far, the best enclosure to house an Anole in is an aquarium with a screen top. They maintain temperature and humidity better than anything else. The MINIMUM requirement is 10 gallons of space per Anole. It doesn’t matter whether the Anole is an adult, juvenile, or hatchling. This applies to small/medium Anoles (A. carolinensis, A. sagrei, etc.). Of course, if you can afford it, a larger enclosure would be better. Also, the high or tall versions are preferred since Anoles are arboreal.

Just because you can house a small Anole species in a 10-gallon enclosure doesn’t mean that you should. The 10-gallon per Anole requirement is a minimum and bigger is always better. Likewise, you should allow at least 30-gallons per Anole for the larger species (A. equestris, A. garmani, etc.).

Substrate - The first rule is NEVER use a substrate that contains indigestible material. This includes such things as sand, ground Walnut hulls, corncob refuse, moss, bark products, pebbles, gravel, etc. These materials can cause impaction and death if ingested along with a prey item (Anoles often get a mouthful of substrate when hunting on the ground). DO NOT use unsterilized substrates of any kind. You risk importing all sorts of insect pests, slugs, and weed seeds when you use such materials. All of these pests can be difficult to eradicate. Believe me, over the years I have had experience with most of them. DO NOT use any substrates containing Pine, Fir, or Cedar shavings or bark. Conifers produce chemicals that can cause nerve damage in reptiles.

Also, avoid using moss, pure Peat moss and other fibrous, stringy substrates. They can have bad effects on your Anole’s digestive system. It is much like eating string!

Also, be aware that if you plan to use reptile carpet or paper, you might unwittingly be causing another problem. If you have a gravid female, you must provide a place for her to bury her eggs. If she can’t dig in the substrate, she may become egg-bound and die (see the Breeding section).

What can you use? Two of the best are organic potting soil (without Perlite or fertilizer) and organic compost. Both are absorbent and digestible and can be found at most garden supply stores for a few dollars. Unless you go crazy misting and watering, they will be fine WITHOUT any gravel for drainage. Besides, you can plant live foliage directly into the substrate.

Heating, Lighting, and Humidity - You don’t need any of the specialty bulbs that you see in the pet stores except for one. You will need a fluorescent UVB TUBE (not coil) and fixture. They come in lengths from 8-48". A 5% is sufficient and ReptiSun or ReptiGlo are the best of the lot. Anoles need the UVB as found in natural sunlight to synthesize calcium. Avoid coil UVB bulbs, they only provide UVB in a small area. Mercury Vapor and Halogen bulbs are generally used for very large enclosures and can cause blindness in reptiles. Besides, they can be difficult to dispose of since some (Mercury Vapor in particular) contain hazardous materials. UVB only penetrates 6-12” into the enclosure so you need to mount them as close to the screen top as possible. Follow the manufacturers recommendations for replacement – usually every 6 months are a year at most.

Heat can be supplied by a regular light bulb (which also produces UVA). You will need to have a warm and a cool side of the enclosure so the Anole can move about and thermoregulate (adjust his internal temperature). The cool side should be 75 degrees and the warm side should be about 82 degrees. You will also need to provide a basking spot of 85 - 92 degrees (90 is ideal). The lights should be on from 12-14 hours a day and turned on and off at the same time each day. A timer will take care of this. Unless your house gets lower than 60 degrees at night, you won’t need any nighttime heating. If it does, a Ceramic Heat Emitter is the best way to go. They produce heat without any light. Remember, they get VERY hot.

Since Anoles are arboreal, they like to bask in heat from above. All of the lighting should be mounted above the enclosure. Remember, glass and plexiglass will filter out 95% of the UVB so DO NOT put the fluorescent on the side of the enclosure but rather over the screen top and NEVER mount the light inside of the enclosure. Also, NEVER use Heat rocks since they can cause burns. Get a couple of thermometers to check the temperature and a hygrometer to check humidity. Place one thermometer at each basking spot to check the temperature there and one at the farthest point from the basking area to check low temperature.

The humidity should be about 50% and can be maintained by misting a couple of times a day. Green Anoles come from temperate environments and 50% might even be on the high end of the natural conditions. This also provides drinking water for the Anole and they will lick the water droplets off the foliage and sides of the enclosure. Use distilled or filtered water to avoid hard-to-remove water spots on the glass sides of the enclosure. The hygrometer placed anywhere in the enclosure will allow you to check the humidity. If you have trouble maintaining a proper humidity level, cover 1/3 of the top with clear plastic (but not under the lights).

Furniture - Anoles love to hide. Their natural body color range of greens and browns will blend into the foliage to become almost invisible. You can use either real or artificial plants. Artificial plants have the advantage of not needing any care and not being subject to insect infestations. Real plants will help keep the humidity in the enclosure up. When you think you have enough plants in the enclosure, add a couple of more. You can use almost any houseplant that is rated for low or moderate light conditions. The ones to avoid are those with milky sap. They are usually toxic or contain an irritant. I have used Diffenbachias, Aralias, Scheffelaria, Crotons, various ivy vines, and many others over the years with great success. I have also used wild Violets successfully. The white and purple flowers provide a bit of color.

You should also supply some branches for the Anoles to climb on. You can use dead branches from outside that have been sterilized in the oven for 30 minutes at 300 degrees to kill any mites or other "nasties". The branches should be at least as big around as the Anole’s body. Artificial caves or other ground shelters are not needed. The Anole will be happy to hide and sleep among the plants. Remember, Anoles are arboreal.

If you wish to change the appearance of the enclosure, do it in stages. Anoles become stressed and dis-oriented if their environment is totally changed suddenly. Make sure that they have some points of refernce. For example, switch a Diffenbachia with another plant. Wait several days and change or add another plant, etc. until you have the enclosure to your liking.


A well-planted enclosure

Cleaning - A few minutes spent on a daily basis will delay but not eliminate the inevitable thorough cleaning. If you remove any feces and dead prey items daily, you should only have to do a thorough cleaning about every six months. You can use a Vinegar-based glass cleaner between major cleanings to remove any water spots on the glass.

For a major cleaning, remove the Anoles to a temporary enclosure and empty everything from the enclosure. Clean everything with a dilute solution of bleach, rinse everything thoroughly and let it dry before you put it back. Replace all of the substrate as well.

Adding new Anoles

QUARANTINE all new arrivals for 30 days before introducing them to an established enclosure with “inmates” to prevent the spread of disease or parasites.

Male or Female - Some Anoles (A. sagrei) are dimorphic. That is, the female is a different pattern than the male. Cuban Brown Anole females (A. sagrei) have a diamond shaped pattern from the back of their neck to their tail. Males don’t – their pattern is random. Green Anoles (A. carolinensis) of both sexes look the same. Juvenile and mature males have a pair of enlarged postanal scales (just past the vent) that can be seen with slight magnification. Even mature male embryos in the egg have enlarged post-anal scales. Mature males also have a hemipenile bulge at the base of the tail. So, if it has either or both, it is a male. Otherwise, it is a female. Dewlaps, white lines, head shape, etc. are NOT RELIABLY ACCURATE. This is particularly true in immature specimens.



The female is on the right - note the absence of enlarged post-anal scales

Male Anoles of all species are highly territorial. If you give them enough space to be comfortable, they will try to establish their own territory. They will fight with any other male who appears – sometimes to the death! They will also exhibit an aggression/challenge display to any perceived threat - like a their own reflection in the glass. This consists of rapid “push-ups”, extending their dewlap, flattening their body laterally, and erecting their mid-dorsal crest that extends from the back of the neck to the hindquarters and is found in most large males. They will turn sideways toward their foe to present the biggest profile to the threat. They may also have black post-orbital eyespots during the confrontation. In such a confrontation, the male who shows his eyespots first usually intimidates the other and wins the day. Since these encounters are potentially so violent, only place one male per enclosure unless the enclosure is the size of one of the rooms in your house.

Female Anoles are a bit more sedate. They will also extend their dewlaps and flatten their body to appear more intimidating to their rivals females. They may have some brief skirmishes and squabbles to establish and maintain a “pecking order” and may even chase each other around in the enclosure but the encounters are nowhere near as violent as those of the males.

Feeding - Anoles are opportunistic feeders. They will eat as much as they can whenever prey items are available. They are insectivorous. That is, they eat live insects. Some will eat baby food fruit (peach or apricot) from time to time but it should be used as an emergency food rather than a staple part of their diet and removed from the enclosure after an hour or so since it will spoil rapidly. A varied diet will produce the healthiest animals. Crickets are probably the easiest staple to find but you can feed them roach nymphs, flies, and a variety of wild caught insects from a pesticide free area. You can even find suitable prey items to feed to your Anoles in the dead of winter if you know where to look. They love moths and other flying insects as well as cabbage worms. One of their favorites are waxworms but these are relatively high in fat content and will cause obesity if fed in excess.

Feeding every day or every other day works out fine. They will usually have a marked increase in appetite in the spring and a decrease in the fall. You should also dust the prey items with a calcium supplement once a week. You can use any of the commercial products that don’t contain D3. One of the best sources is to go to your local health food store and get either calcium carbonate or calcium lactate capsules or tablets. You can empty the capsules or grind the tablets into powder and dust the prey items. Put a small amount of the powder in a small plastic bag, add some prey items, and gently shake until they are covered. Then, dump them into the enclosure. It does not work to put calcium supplements in the water. All you accomplish is to create hard water spots on the glass. Mealworms are generally NOT a good food choice for small reptiles. They have a hard, chitinous exoskeleton that can be difficult for the Anole to digest.

Color - Green Anoles are mistakenly called "American Chameleons" because of their ability to change colors from brown to green and vice versa. Anoles change color for a variety of reasons not all of which are stress related. The statement "a Green Anole is a happy Anole" is not accurate. The converse is also not true. As long as the Anole is active and eating and drinking, color is not a significant concern. In the almost 45 years I have been keeping them, I have had Anoles that were Green 90% of the time and others that were brown 90% of the time and both lived a long and active life. Most changed color frequently. They do not change color to match their surroundings. They will be darker when they are cold simply because the dark colors absorb heat more efficiently. Almost any color in their palette will blend in with their environment and they will change randomly as they move from one temperature gradient to another or their stress level changes as they travel through the enclosure. The only time a Green Anole will be green for certain is when they are asleep and can’t control their pigmentation.



This is a color variant - the connected dots form a series of varied lines or "reticulations".

Morphs – Green Anoles appear in several color morphs. There is also a reddish color morph present in Brown Anoles. Green Anoles have three strata of chromatophores (color cells) arranged in layers. The base layer is brown (melanochromatophores), the middle yellow (xanthochromatophores), and the top layer blue (cyanochromatophores). The combination of blue and yellow give the Anole its green color. The absence of yellow produces a blue color morph. The absence of blue produces a yellow morph. The absence of all three would produce an albino. Varying concentrations would produce different shades. Anoles have the ability to turn these layers “off” and “on” and thus, change color.



A yellow color morph hatchling – now about three years old.





As an adult - note the gold patches even when he tries to turn brown!

Social Structure - Green Anoles (Anolis carolinensis) have an interesting social structure. They are not really social animals except during the spring mating season. They live in loose communities dominated by a single male and multiple females. The male has a territory that he defends vigorously and within that territory are the separate territories of 2-6 females. The females establish a “pecking order” with the most dominant getting the best territory in terms of natural resources and food. However, all of the females are subordinate to the male.

The male Anole spends most of his time patrolling his established territory, displaying his dewlap and head-bobbing every foot or so to make sure that any other Anoles in the area (both male and female) will see how big and tough he appears. Except during mating season, even the females will hide from him as soon as he appears on his rounds.

Male Anoles do have one weakness. Although they have a “harem” of females, they prefer non-resident or “novel” females to the ones living in his territory. So, whenever a female that has reached sexual maturity wanders into a male’s territory, mating season has commenced for him regardless of the time of year.

Courtship - Courtship is always initiated by the male. He will extend his dewlap and start a series of head-bobs. If the female is not receptive, she will immediately run away and it is not likely that he will be able to catch her to mate (this might be a problem in a small enclosure). If she is receptive, she will make a half-hearted effort at an escape and the male will catch her. At this point, things will get a bit violent. Anoles are hardly romantic. The male will bite the female on the back of the neck and attempt to hold her still (it might take a bit of effort). He will then maneuver so that he can mate with her. Struggling females may be injured or even killed during mating. The actual mating usually lasts 10-15 minutes. So, unless you watch your Anoles all day, you are likely to miss them mating. The first time I saw a pair of mine mating, all I could see was their tails sticking out of the foliage in the enclosure.

Biology and Breeding - Usually all that is required is to put a male and female in the same enclosure. Male and female Green Anoles are sexually mature at 8-9 months of age. If they are older than that, they are ready to breed.

Green Anoles usually start their mating season shortly after they come out of their winter quarters (they don’t hibernate). Anoles can also be brought into breeding condition with brumation. Reduce the nighttime temperature to right at 60 degrees and decrease the photoperiod to 8-10 hours a day for 2-3 months. Then, when you lengthen the day and slightly raise the temperature, they will think it is spring and mating will occur. This is usually not necessary, though. You could always remove the female temporarily (for a couple of months) and then re-introduce her. Given the male’s propensity for "novel" females, breeding should immediately commence.

Males, like most reptiles, have two sex organs - the hemipenes. The males will also alternate their use but will usually show a preference for one over the mating season. In captivity, mating season is any time you put a male and female together. Males show a marked preference for "novel" females. That is, any new female that wanders into his territory. When that happens, it is "instant" mating season - something to remember when you consider adding another female into the enclosure with your male.

After mating, the female will start producing eggs at roughly two week intervals some 2-3 week, until a total of 10-12 eggs have been laid. The best indication that she has produced an egg is a sudden weight loss around the middle. Often, though, the first indication that she has laid an egg is when you see a hatchling scampering around the enclosure!

Eggs are produced one or two at a time. The female has two ovaries and will usually alternate fertilized eggs from each. Some females have a propensity for "twins" and will produce a pair of eggs separated by a couple of days at roughly 10 day intervals (two weeks if you count from the day the first one in the pair was laid). Often the last couple of eggs are infertile.

The female Anole will bury or partially bury the eggs in the enclosure usually at the base of plants or in the corners. If you see one on the surface of the substrate or in a water dish, on a leaf, etc. it is very likely infertile.

Female Anoles have the ability to store sperm for up to 7 months. This way, they can avoid unsuitable conditions and produce a full clutch once the weather warms (in the case of a fall mating) or when conditions improve.

If you use a paper or reptile carpet substrate, place a large container of a moist, suitable substrate in the enclosure for her to use in egg laying. If you choose to incubate the eggs outside the enclosure, remove them taking care not to turn them from their original position. The scientific studies are inconclusive on this point but why take the chance.

You can incubate eggs in a large deli dish or other plastic container. By doing so, and controlling the incubation conditions, you will get a slightly increased hatch rate - about 10%. Fill the deli dish about ¾ full of Vermiculite that you can get at a garden supply store and add enough water to make it nice and moist (a 1:14 ratio of Vermiculite to water is about right). Make a depression in the Vermiculite with your thumb. Place the egg in the depression taking care NOT to turn it from its original position. Cover it lightly with Vermiculite. At a temperature of 85 degrees at 70% humidity, the egg will hatch in 35-40 days. Make sure the deli dish has a cover and punch some small holes in it for ventilation. Also make sure that the Vermiculite doesn’t dry out but stays damp. Check the container daily! If you choose to let any eggs remain in the enclosure, follow your usual misting schedule just make sure to moisten the substrate as well as the foliage so it stays damp. Make sure that it is damp but not wet. Left in the enclosure, the eggs will take about a week longer (42-48 days) to hatch.

Hatchling Care - If you are fortunate enough to have a successful breeding program, you will soon have multiple hatchlings. The care for hatchlings is similar to that of adults. They will need their own 10-gallons of space and the temperature gradient, humidity, etc. will be the same as if they were adults. You must feed them smaller prey items, however, in the form of flightless fruit flies, pinhead crickets, aphids, or leafhoppers or any suitably-sized, safe insect.

Shedding - Anoles shed when their skin is restricting their growth. The interval depends on their age and eating habits. They will usually have a dull appearance just prior to the shed. White patches resembling blisters will appear and the skin will then begin to slough off. Anoles are master recyclers. They eat the skin as it is shed to reuse the nutrients. Shedding usually takes about an hour and they might even do it in stages with the head or body first followed in a couple of days by the other body part. Unshed bits of skin are NOT a problem UNLESS they are constricting a limb or other appendage. You may be able to remove the problem bits by GENTLY rubbing the dry skin with a Q-tip soaked in warm water. NEVER forcibly pull off a bit of unshed skin!

Lifespan and Health issues - Small/medium Anoles routinely live 4-6 years in captivity. That is longer than mice, rats, gerbils, and hamsters. Large species live 10-15 years. So you have taken on a long-term commitment.

Minor cuts and abrasions can be treated with human medications. For example, Neosporin will keep a wound from becoming infected and eye drops will take care of eye infections.

Mites can be treated with one of the commercial miticides designed for reptiles. Just follow the directions on the package. Mites appear as reddish or white specks that move about on the Anole’s body.

Two serious health issues are Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) caused by a calcium deficiency, and prolapses. Anoles need UVB to synthesize calcium. A calcium deficiency results in curved spine, deformed limbs, and nerve damage. It is preventable by providing the correct lighting and dusting the prey items with a calcium supplement.

Prolapses are a condition where either the intestines or reproductive organs protrude from the vent. A prolapse is usually fatal and virtually untreatable in all but the largest species.

Another is mouth rot. The mouth will become black. It is usually the result of a cut or injury sustained during eating. Take the Anole to a vet immediately.

Anoles will sometimes get respiratory infections as well. The symptoms are gaping and strenuous breathing with the mouth open. Raise the temperature to an overall 85+ degrees in a QUARANTINE enclosure and remove the sick Anole to it. If things don’t improve in a day or so, see a vet.

Anoles sometimes have a white powdery substance around their nostrils. This is how they normally excrete excess salt in their bodies. It is completely normal and no cause for alarm.

Postorbital eyespots are used to express extreme anger or stress. These black spots frequently appear in males during Aggressive/Challenge displays. If they don’t go away in 20 minutes or so or after the encounter or if they are present in a female, they are cause for alarm.

Keeping Anoles with Other Species – The simple answer is DON’T MIX SPECIES! Even two species of Anoles should NOT be kept in the same enclosure. Why? Besides that fact that different species generally have different environmental requirements, each reptile species has its own parasite load. Some parasites are beneficial and some are harmful but all reptiles and amphibians have some microbe or parasite living in their digestive tract. What is completely benign and innocuous to one species might very well be fatal to another. If you mix species, you will shorten the lifespan of both.

Should you be in the unfortunate position of having to euthanize a terminally ill Anole, the most painless and quickest method is cranial destruction. If you are adept at "pithing" a small reptile(i.e., inserting a needle into the brain at the base of the skull), you can use that method. Otherwise hammer or brick serves the same function. It is much more humane than freezing or lethal injection.



08/26/11  01:15am

 #2235845


Atrax27407
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  Message To: Atrax27407   In reference to Message Id: 2234397


 Anole Care Sheet (Final?)

Bump



09/06/11  04:43pm

 #2239554


Atrax27407
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  Message To: Atrax27407   In reference to Message Id: 2235845


 Anole Care Sheet (Final?)

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10/07/11  01:54pm

 #2239856


Atrax27407
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  Message To: Atrax27407   In reference to Message Id: 2239554


 Anole Care Sheet (Final?)

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10/10/11  08:17am

 #2240556


Atrax27407
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  Message To: Atrax27407   In reference to Message Id: 2239856


 Anole Care Sheet (Final?)

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10/15/11  07:49am

 #2240760


Atrax27407
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  Message To: Atrax27407   In reference to Message Id: 2240556


 Anole Care Sheet (Final?)

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10/16/11  06:38pm

 #2241040


MissYouGeico
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  Message To: Atrax27407   In reference to Message Id: 2234397


 Anole Care Sheet (Final?)

Love Anoles, beautiful lizards they are.
Do i need i mister??????



10/18/11  05:09pm

 #2241381


Atrax27407
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  Message To: MissYouGeico   In reference to Message Id: 2241040


 Anole Care Sheet (Final?)

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10/21/11  08:00am

 #2242802


Atrax27407
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  Message To: Atrax27407   In reference to Message Id: 2241381


 Anole Care Sheet (Final?)

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11/02/11  08:58pm

 #2243486


Atrax27407
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  Message To: Atrax27407   In reference to Message Id: 2242802


 Anole Care Sheet (Final?)

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11/08/11  06:39am

 #2243771


Atrax27407
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  Message To: Atrax27407   In reference to Message Id: 2243486


 Anole Care Sheet (Final?)

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11/10/11  08:41pm

 #2244259


Dino Dan
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  Message To: Atrax27407   In reference to Message Id: 2243771


 Anole Care Sheet (Final?)

Thank you again atrax for your helpfull info. :D



11/14/11  09:48pm

 #2244270


Atrax27407
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  Message To: Dino Dan   In reference to Message Id: 2244259


 Anole Care Sheet (Final?)

Bump



11/14/11  10:48pm

 #2244357


Dino Dan
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  Message To: MissYouGeico   In reference to Message Id: 2241040


 Anole Care Sheet (Final?)

i guess atraxs is saying.
B=bump
U=up
M=my
P=post



11/15/11  05:20pm


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