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 #2318755


AmbuBadger
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 Caring for an emaciated anole.

Aloha from Hawaii. I caught an anole on Friday, June 10, and would’ve released him after taking photos if not for the fact he was very emaciated and dehydrated. I watched him try to catch a crane fly earlier, without much success, and he tired very easily when he tried to run from us. The area we caught him in is currently undergoing construction, so it is much drier than usual, and I suspect the insect activity has dropped off as well. We brought him home and set him up in a vertically mounted 5.5 gallon tank. While this is far from ideal, it was the only suitable tank available and we didn’t want to violate quarantine procedures by placing him in another tank with our other anoles. I knew that this guy had a slim-to-none chance, but being a FF Paramedic, I figured I had enough know-how (and a willing girlfriend) to take car of the little guy. We named him Slim Shady. I decided to document his progress here since I don’t have a website to blog from. Hopefully someone out there can earn from our experiences.

Day 1, Friday, 6/10/2016

Brought Slim home. He appears to be a juvenile male, very emaciated. Snout to vent length about 2.5", legs are very thin, ribs/spine/hips plainly tenting through skin. Spine is also visible from the belly, skin is retracted and tight against the body. Slim has coloration indicating stress as well; post-orbital spots, black mottling spots on belly, and scattered black and bright green spots on his back. I usually see this coloration when they are initially caught or challenging another male in their territory, but basically it’s very bad to have an anole present like this as his everyday appearance. His respiratory rate was also elevated, even when resting. He would just hang there, breathing heavy as if had just run down some prey, his chest heaving. Not good. Because of the stress of capture, I decided not to weigh him, and just leave him to acclimate to his new home. The tank was misted, and he readily took to lapping up the water-- a promising sign. Another good sign was that he could maintain vertical posture and appeared mentally alert to his surroundings. Because of his severely dehydrated state, we didn’t feed him. The digestive process requires body fluids, and that could either strain his frail body too much or cause incomplete digestion, leading to bacterial growth. I saw many accounts online of sick anoles that looked marginally better than Slim who still perished, and one common denominator was passing away after feeding. I suspect they were fed too large a meal, too soon, with inadequate hydration. Pic below shows Slim on his first day.



06/14/16  02:11pm

 #2318756


AmbuBadger
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  Message To: AmbuBadger   In reference to Message Id: 2318755


 Caring for an emaciated anole.

Day 2, Saturday, 6/11/2016

Slim is still alive, that’s a relief. I moved his tank to take better advantage of the warming and UVB lights, and he now basks in the warmth when we’re not too close to the tank, usually on the bamboo or the mat that serves as the background for the tank. He often hides between the glass and the mat, not sure why. I attached a pic of him from this day, as well as the tank so you can see his setup. My girlfriend fed him two batches of flightless fruit flies, morning and afternoon, while I was at work. She states he had no trouble chasing them down, so a good sign! He still has the post-orbital spots, indicating stress, and hides when we get close to the tank. Still very alert, but no change in his physical condition. Also, he had his first shed with us today. Didn’t eat much of it at all, still seems a little lethargic, but the girlfriend says he was moving around the tank more. Good signs.



Day 3, Sunday, 6/12/2016

I emailed the guys over at Anole Annals as well as a researcher at UH Manoa here in Hawaii, sent them pics as well as details of Slim’s condition. The replies weren’t too promising, both researchers said Slim looked near death. One did say that the details of Slim’s condition looked good-- in fact, if not for Slim managing being vertical, alert, and feeding, he would’ve most certainly thought Slim was on his way out! So despite how bad he looked, the fact he is alert, eating and drinking, and able to stay vertical are all good (anoles are arboreal, and seeing one laying around sick at the floor of the tank is never good!). Today he seems more comfortable around us, and clings to the mesh of the tank to get closer to the heat and UVB. He ate fruit flies again today, appetite seems good. Today’s pic shows him on the mat again, but the post-orbital dark spots are gone and he is starting to fill out slightly more. There is a piece of shed stuck to his back left toe though, will remove that later. As long as he stays hydrated, I think it will be safe to try feeding him a tiny cricket soon. The UH researcher stated that he will need to move up to bigger prey if he’s to sustain himself.



06/14/16  02:39pm

 #2318758


AmbuBadger
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  Message To: AmbuBadger   In reference to Message Id: 2318756


 Caring for an emaciated anole.

Day 4, Monday, 6/13/2016

I bought some Pedialyte from WalMart the night before, plain and strawberry flavor. I’ve used the plain one for my Gold Dust Day Gecko (phelsuma laticauda) and Brown Anole (anolis sagrei), both soaking them and spraying them with it when they were dehydrated. I decided to buy a flavored one too, since my geckos and anoles enjoy the occasional mashed fruit or honey treat. Slim didn’t lap it up, preferring the water instead, but I figured I’d go ahead and soak a small cricket in it before dusting it with some Tetra Reptical. He took the cricket off of a BBQ skewer! I also observed him taking a dump-- usual size and color, albeit slightly drier and rougher in texture than a healthy anole would produce. He does look a little more filled out in his pics, and the stress spots are all but gone. I also pulled the stuck shed from his toes, had to be sneaky about it because he’s so skittish when my hands are actually in the tank. Still misting often, and he still laps it up, so dehydration is a threat. I waited three hours and gave him another small cricket, no problems. I don’t want to stress his body, so I’ll need to resist the temptation to feed him more than that. Only day four, but he seems healthier and not so close to death’s door! Fingers crossed... pics below show his first cricket and later than night, sleeping in his tree. You can’t tell from the pics, but from the side his belly is still very sunken in and the front of his pelvis pokes forward. He occasionally cruises behind the mat, but isn’t spooked by our presence. His spine doesn’t tent out of his back as much, so the food is slowly filling him out.




06/14/16  03:08pm

 #2318772


AmbuBadger
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  Message To: AmbuBadger   In reference to Message Id: 2318758


 Caring for an emaciated anole.

Day 5, Tuesday, 6/14/2016

Still alive! He took a cricket in the morning and the afternoon, still lapping up water, and still active. We were out all day, so not much to add in this update. He’s chilling on the mat, and will likely be asleep soon. Still green, and still alert... Knocking on wood.



06/14/16  10:59pm

 #2318781


Atrax27407
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  Message To: AmbuBadger   In reference to Message Id: 2318772


 Caring for an emaciated anole.

It sounds like you are doing all the right things. Make sure that he is defecating normally as well. They are difficult to nurse back to health.



06/15/16  11:49am

 #2318798


AmbuBadger
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  Message To: Atrax27407   In reference to Message Id: 2318781


 Caring for an emaciated anole.

Day 6, Wednesday, 6/15/2016

Yes, he appears to be pooping well-- I would like to see it as moist as my other anoles, but given how far he’s come, I’m not complaining! He is filling out more and his legs look a little thicker. One good thing about smaller animals is that changes manifest sooner, allowing you to better trend their recovery. I decided to give him a break from the crickets today and went back to the fruit flies. I was really happy with what I saw-- he was alert and able to spot them from afar, and chased them down eagerly! He was also coordinated and able to jump from the mat to the plant without falling or missing any branches. I missed the tank with a 2:3 mix of water:Pedialyte, but I didn’t observe him drinking any of it. I’m on duty tomorrow for my usual 24hr shift at the station, and seeing him this improved over the first day we brought him home certainly makes me feel better about leaving for work-- although my girl will be home to watch over him and let me know if any problems pop up. Sleep tight, Slim Shady...



06/15/16  11:35pm

 #2318799


AmbuBadger
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  Message To: AmbuBadger   In reference to Message Id: 2318798


 Caring for an emaciated anole.

Here’s his day six pic, didn’t load for some reason...



06/16/16  01:03am

 #2318829


AmbuBadger
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  Message To: AmbuBadger   In reference to Message Id: 2318799


 Caring for an emaciated anole.

Day 7, 6/16/2016

I checked on Slim Shady before work, offered him a cricket too. He didn’t take it, possibly thinks it’s too big... I’ll have to locate pinhead crickets to try. The girlfriend tried giving him a cricket while I was at work, same thing, no-go. He still looks skinny compared to a normal anole, but the spine sticks up less...



Day 8, 6/17/2016

Back from work, checked on Slim-- he is alert and tracks us when we are around his tank. He laps up water and moves around a lot more than the first day, all good signs. I found some drain flies at work, brought them for Slim since I figured he could use the variety and added exercise of something moving a little faster. Maybe it would bring out that hunting instinct in him and get him in the mood to chase down bigger game. He does the usual head bob before taking a fly, I guess that’s a territorial thing to mark what he’s gonna take. He’s also sticking to the glass more-- signs that he is not only becoming stronger and healthier, but also that his shed was complete and no dead skin remains on his toe pads.



06/17/16  03:32pm

 #2318835


AmbuBadger
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  Message To: AmbuBadger   In reference to Message Id: 2318829


 Caring for an emaciated anole.

Day 9, 6/19/16

Well, I got him to take a part of a cricket today before work-- just the head. I dusted it in Reptivite, so I’m happy with it. I also sprayed some watered-Pedialtye in there and he lapped it up. I also let some fruit flies out in there, he’s still a little skinnier than I’d like. Yeah, yeah, only day nine, but I have no idea how long it takes to rehab an anole, and at least three people told me it’s a pretty long, difficult process. Comparing him to his older pics, it looks like the area around his "waist" is a little more filled out, but he still looks malnourished. I caught some Small Blue (cupido minimum) butterflies at work, maybe he’ll go for one of them. We’ll see when I get home.




06/19/16  10:48am

 #2318854


AmbuBadger
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  Message To: AmbuBadger   In reference to Message Id: 2318835


 Caring for an emaciated anole.

Day 10, 6/20/16

Well, I got him to take some more today-- the end of a cricket. Okay, I didn’t see him actually eat it, but it was on the bamboo one minute and gone the next, with Slim licking his chops. From the top view, he looks pretty skinny still-- I’m hoping some more small butterflies will pique his interest in hunting down something bigger than fruit flies, we’ll just have to wait it out and see though...



06/21/16  01:43am

 #2318870


AmbuBadger
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  Message To: AmbuBadger   In reference to Message Id: 2318854


 Caring for an emaciated anole.

Day 12, 6/22/2016

I decided the daily updates aren’t really showing anything new, so an every-other-day format would suffice unless something major comes up. I brought home some small blues (butterflies) yesterday after work, but because I had a recertification class, I got home in the early evening. I put one in Slim Shady’s tank, and found it had died overnight. I stuck it to a skewer with honey, and dangled it around him. He tracked it but didn’t give chase, then when I got closer, he gave a few head bobs and ate the butterfly. Nowhere near the intensity of my other anoles-- they’ll trip over each other trying to chase down a butterfly! Also, he still doesn’t seem to associate me with food yet-- everyone else, on the other hand, will come to the front of their terrarium and give me that anole stare like, "did you bring food, or did you forget again?" Hang in there, Slim. I’ve also got a baby day gecko with shedding issues, taking care of that guy too...



06/22/16  02:17pm

 #2318880


Tanole44
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  Message To: AmbuBadger   In reference to Message Id: 2318870


 Caring for an emaciated anole.

You should try using small meal worms or wax worms and see if he takes an interest to those, my past anoles loved them but the four I have now don’t seem to care for them very much



06/23/16  07:06pm

 #2318901


Icearstorm
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  Message To: AmbuBadger   In reference to Message Id: 2318755


 Caring for an emaciated anole.

Nice thread; you certainly seem to be caring for him well! I’ve had experiences with several emaciated anoles (most of which had ran inside the house and been without food for probably around a month), but unfortunately I have never been able to save them, as they always seem to die from dehydration before I can help them... Anyway, good luck (though I don’t think you’ll need it as he is still alive and getting better)! :D



06/24/16  07:29pm

 #2318917


AmbuBadger
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  Message To: Icearstorm   In reference to Message Id: 2318901


 Caring for an emaciated anole.

Tanaole and Icearstorm: thanks guys. I’m glad someone is tracking this thread as well as Slim’s recovery! I’ve given him a few mealworms, but I have been careful to chose only freshly mottled ones that will fit in his mouth. Fortunately, he doesn’t seem to have the problem most anoles do-- having eyes bigger than their mouths! All of my anoles will try to eat anything, regardless of size. Slim is a little hesitant with larger game, which may be better for him. Bigger food-- and especially stuff with a shell-- may be harder on his digestive system at this point. Given that it’s been about two weeks with only minor improvement, I wonder if he has a parasite or something. It’s hard to rehab an anole when you find them near death, you win some and you lose some..

Saturday, 6/25/2016, should actually be day 15. Lost count somewhere along the way.

Slim is doing a little bit better, but still not as aggressive as my other anoles when it comes to taking down prey-- he will usually wait until I get the food close to him rather than run it down, and he won’t even go for small crickets unless I cut them in half. He looks a happy shade of green, but still skinny. He took about five pinhead crickets and just the head of a freshly molted mealworm (my Golddust Day Gecko ripped off the rest of the body earlier) along with the usual droplets of water. I’m not sure if all anoles take this long to recover, but he seems happy, so I’ll take that over a dead anole any day!



06/25/16  12:53pm

 #2318959


AmbuBadger
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  Message To: AmbuBadger   In reference to Message Id: 2318917


 Caring for an emaciated anole.

Wednesday, 6/29/16, Day 19

Well, Slim is doing better-- today he was more aggressive taking a cricket and mealworm, and his tail looks a little more filled out. He’s also making better use of his toes-- wrapping them around things fully instead of just kinda resting it there with a half-assed grip. I’m still not seeing anything in his poop that would indicate parasites, but I’m not going to introduce him to the others any time soon. He eagerly takes water sprayed on the branches, which is good. Also, no post-orbital eye spotting, but he has turned brown when the other anoles made their way to his tank.




06/29/16  11:45am

 #2319002


AmbuBadger
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  Message To: AmbuBadger   In reference to Message Id: 2318959


 Caring for an emaciated anole.

Sunday, 7/3/2016, Day 23!

Well, Slim has been with us for three weeks! He took a mealworm and a cricket two days ago, but didn’t want anything yesterday-- I was worried that maybe he was going start that downward spiral and require force-feeding, but today he eagerly took a small cricket. The pic shows him two days ago (top left), today (right), and yesterday (bottom left). His rear legs look a little bit fatter, and they’re denser, too-- you could easily see through them before, visualizing the femur and major vessels. I’ve also been leaving the screen off the cage lately to see how adventurous he gets, but he hasn’t left the tank yet. He’s less skittish around us, but not to the point where he’ll come to the front of the cage for meals like the others. Hang in there, little buddy...



07/03/16  10:48am

 #2319004


PuppyLizard
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  Message To: AmbuBadger   In reference to Message Id: 2319002


 Caring for an emaciated anole.

This is a GREAT thread! Thanks for sharing and thanks for caring for the little guy!!



07/03/16  03:20pm

 #2319047


AmbuBadger
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  Message To: PuppyLizard   In reference to Message Id: 2319004


 Caring for an emaciated anole.



07/08/16  10:53am

 #2319048


AmbuBadger
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  Message To: PuppyLizard   In reference to Message Id: 2319004


 Caring for an emaciated anole.

July 8, 2016.

Well, Slim is still chugging along-- she had a freshly-molted mealworm this morning. Still alert, acting properly, and no post-orbital eye spotting since the first two days. I see a little bit of a ridge along her flanks, almost looks like she needs to fatten up some more. For hydration: I’m considering installing a home brew water dropper system made from IV bags and drip sets-- I’ll post pics of it if I do, but my concern is that the tank is a bit small to risk having water collect in there.



07/08/16  11:26am

 #2319085


AmbuBadger
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  Message To: AmbuBadger   In reference to Message Id: 2319048


 Caring for an emaciated anole.

6/11/16, Day 31!

Woke up to find her doing push-ups and showing off her tiny dewlap-- that’s a first! Maybe she’s equating the tank with being her territory, or finally feeling strong enough to challenge rivals-- like the brown anole in the next tank! I heard some shuffling around and looked up to see that our brown anole, Ms. Anole, had jumped into Slim’s tank (the cover was off for feeding and watering). No fighting or further displays, but I was still quick to remove Ms. Anole just in case Slim does have a parasite.
Well, as far as feeding goes, Slim still prefers smaller game-- but I’ve learned that it’s best to offer her bigger items first thing in the morning when she’s eager to take them. Like small (1/4"-3/8") crickets versus pinhead crickets-- she will take a small one first thing in the morning, but leaves them alone after that. I can get her to take a pinhead or two after, but if I want her to get the nutrition she needs, that small cricket has to go down first. She does seem to like small mealworms, and I’m always sure to give her the smaller and freshly molted one (pale white) to avoid causing constipation. I’ve heard mealworms called the junk food of the reptile world-- your pets will love them and could get spoiled into not eating anything else, but they’re not the best source of nutrition! I look at mealworms and crickets as a vector that simply carries button to my anoles and geckos, which is why it’s important to make sure you’re feeding the "food" something nutritious that’ll be passed to your anole. I’m currently feeding slim mealworms, small butterflies, and crickets.



07/11/16  10:28am

 #2319122


AmbuBadger
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  Message To: AmbuBadger   In reference to Message Id: 2319085


 Caring for an emaciated anole.

Day 35, Friday, 7/15/2016.

Slim has been with us for five weeks now! She’s not too crazy about the taste of calcium powder, so I have to coat a mealworm in it to get her remotely interested. She has filled out a little more, but I still see that crease or ridge along the flanks on her body. It’ll disappear if she has a big enough meal that fills her out, but it’s enough of a concern to me that maybe she has something internal that’s keeping her from putting on weight. Today she took a mealworm while pooping, her feces looks good-- decently sized, well formed, and moist. Better than before. I’ll check it out for anything crawling inside, but I’m still not at the point of seeing a vet just yet and I’m not sure if they’d even treat her since Hawaii considers them an invasive species. Anyway, here’s today’s pic, complete with the -end of a mealworm stick out of her mouth and a huge poop coming out the other end!



07/15/16  10:23am

 #2319163


AmbuBadger
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  Message To: AmbuBadger   In reference to Message Id: 2319122


 Caring for an emaciated anole.

Day 45, July 25, 2016

Slim is doing well, but she has had a tank mate for a few days now-- a Gold Dust Day Gecko that I found after cleaning another terrarium. The gecko has signs of being attacked, probably by his/her larger tank mates, as evidenced by bite marks on the body and lower body weight, which indicates he/she was bullied away from food. The gecko’s color was also less vibrant. While Slim has been eating regularly and enthusiastically chases her prey, the gecko remains shy around us and hasn’t taken food yet. The gecko will lap up water, which is encouraging, and the color has certainly brightened up. The two seemed to get along until I checked the tank today and saw the gecko flattening its body and sticking it’s tongue out, the gecko equivalent of head bobbing and dew lapping. Slim responded, but nothing physical has happened and they seem to give each other room. If the gecko starts eating, that may change: food will become something to fight over, and I’ll have to relocate someone. I’m working on a huge wall-mounted terrarium, and hopefully Slim can move in there one it’s complete!



07/25/16  05:01pm

 #2321093


Wildling
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  Message To: AmbuBadger   In reference to Message Id: 2319163


 Caring for an emaciated anole.

Hi there,

Thanks for writing this blog - I have just inherited a tiny and possibly very underfed anole and found it really super helpful! I tried to message you directly but I just set up an account so I don’t have that ability yet - I was just wondering how many pinheads you would recommend feeding an anole of that size at a time? I put 8 in this morning and he ate all of them so I’m wondering if I maybe didn’t give him enough... he’s still far too tiny for even the smallest size of regular cricket so I’m not sure how much to feed him until he’s big enough to tackle those.

Any advice you might be able to give would be much appreciated! I hope Slim is doing well!



08/19/17  06:19pm

 #2321094


AmbuBadger
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  Message To: Wildling   In reference to Message Id: 2321093


 Caring for an emaciated anole.

Thanks for reading the blog, I’m happy it helped! Slim turned out to be a female, and she’s back out in the wild now :) We have three hatchlings to care for, and their snout-to-vent length is about an inch (the tip of the nose to their poop chute, or just past the pelvis). They were all born earlier this month. If yours is that size, then eight pinheads split in servings a few hours apart should be fine-- just make sure he’s got enough water available and a nice, warm bulb to give his body the heat i needs to digest food.



08/19/17  06:39pm

 #2321173


Bill McNuggets
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  Message To: AmbuBadger   In reference to Message Id: 2321094


 Caring for an emaciated anole.

Try feeding him waxworms, they are full of fat, my anole loves them! although don’t feed to many...



09/01/17  09:45am

 #2321261


ScooterAnoles
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  Message To: AmbuBadger   In reference to Message Id: 2321094


 Caring for an emaciated anole.

On my old account I was following the amazing recovery of this lizard! And I have to thank you for taking him in :)



09/13/17  08:00am


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