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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone out there any experience with group dynamics with green anoles? I have a small colony of green anoles and I'm having difficulty with the group dynamics. The submissive females are not doing well and I think they're losing weight. This is despite an abundance of hides and sight barriers and numerous basking spots, and the vivarium is very large (100 gallon). It's hard to tell, but the male just seems too full on for the submissive females to settle in. As soon as he sees one of the submissive females he will chase her until she hides from sight. It's also breeding season and there is mating going on. I'm just wondering if this is a common problem and if there are any solutions. In particular, is it necessary to remove the male from the enclosure altogether? Any help would be hugely appreciated.
 

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I don't know anything about it, but if in doubt separate the bully into a different enclosure for now. Better to be safe than sorry. Maybe post some pics of your vivarium, numbers of anoles etc might help others when they are reading this and advising

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This is a highly territorial species that needs lots of space.

It could be that your females are actually young males!

But, regardless, if the enclosure is not big enough the male will do what natural selection dictates and that is to project is genes into as many generations as possible in what it expects will be a short life (Wild predation, weather and so on)

For a such a small species they really are highly developed.

The best Anole system I saw was 8' long and 6' high and 4' deep. All live planted with free running water

It had 2 males and around a dozen females. They lived and reproduced well but young males would have to be caught and removed.

John,
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks a million John, that's really helpful. Just a bit of clarification. I have one male and three females, they are in a large vertical exo-terra viv (90cm x 60cm x 90cm). So it's a pretty big space. There is quite a lot of sight barriers, two basking spots and several natural plants (although the plants are still a bit small cause it's a new set up).

I'm slightly worried that one of the submissive females might be male, but I think it is unlikely as I got them from a reptile specialist who sexed them.

I feel like I have three options, but I'm not sure which is best:

1) remove the male

2) remove the affected females (disadvantage is moving might stress them even more!)

3) get more females. It has occurred to me that if there were more females each one would get less attention from the male and the alpha female. On the other hand, the last thing I want to end up with is even more unhappy females!

I'd really appreciate any additional advice! (will try to upload a photo at some point).

Thanks again,
Mick

p.s. if i remove one of them I will have to bring them to the reptile shop for their 'hotel service' (util I can set up a second viv). So this would add to the stress for whoever I move out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I guess part of solving this puzzle for me is understanding if the male's territorial nature is the main factor or if the dominant female might be just as much of an issue
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks a mil guys.

Just to add some more details, I have one male and 3 females in a 90 x 60 x 90 exo terra viv. I'm pretty sure the three females are all female, I got them from a specialist reptile shop and had them sexed (although I know it can be difficult).

I guess I have two main options:

1) Take out the male and hope everything calms down

2) Take out the affected females and hope they recuperate

The difficulty with option two is that if I take them out I will have to bring them to the reptile shop for their 'hotel' services as I dont have a second viv right now.

Any more help appreciated, will upload photos later
 

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I'd remove the male, that will give you time to watch the other 3 and see if one of them actually turns out to be a young submissive male as well.

Sexing when they're young is never an exact art - I've just had to seperate a group of 5 young day geckos for the same reason, the dominant male was chasing anything as soon as it moved. The first dominant male came out (I thought I had 4 females left in the tank), a week later another one became dominant - turns out that's male too so he's had to come out, now I have a happy trio of 1.2! (or at least I hope.....!)
 

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I'm not an anole keeper myself, but I know a few people that do keep them. They all pretty advice they should only be kept in pairs. Even females are known to show aggression towards each other and do not get along very well.

According to them the reason why groups of these animal 'work' is because they are often kept in a very little terrarium or in a group. This will prevent the animals from forming territories and will keep things peaceful. I personally would rather keep a pair in a single terrarium, then overcrowd it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks guys.

My thinking now is that I'll take out the male, following Nathan's advice.

But Creed's point is interesting too, maybe a pair would work better. Most of the stuff I have read online suggests that groups work well (as long as there is only one male), but maybe the large size of my terrarium is working against me here!
 

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Going by what John has said i would say you should either limit it to a pair, or get a bigger vivarium.

90cm by 60cm by 60 is not a huge space. John mentions the system he saw was 8ft long 6ft high and 4ft deep, this is very much larger than yours.

You vivarium would fit into this space roughly eighteen times! And even with that, additional males had to be removed.

I think if you are going to have males and females together you need to provide large enough space that they can comfortably avoid each other, a pair of females in this space might be ok but i would think carefully about a male and female.

I would say that for the size you have it is overcrowded, which is why you are getting the issues you have. Confining them to a smaller space is not the answer, this would make it far too easy for the male to get to the females and he would likely overbreed them creating more issues for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
To be honest I dont think size is the problem. They're a tiny lizard and from what I've been reading on the internet the vast majority of keepers keep them in much smaller vivariums. It's strange cause the norm seems to be to keep them in a colony set up with one male and serveral females. Maybe one of the submissive females is actually male. The mysteries of lizards!
 

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You may also just have a pain in the @*** of a male that's just a bully and doesn't want to play nicely!
I've seen that before in my day geckos (in females as well - I had one large female madagascan and I couldn't put her in with anything as she just beat it up!)
If that's the case you may need to consider keeping him seperately and getting another male to put in....
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Update: I have removed the male and the effects are pretty noticeable already. The two submissive females have stopped hiding all the time, are more active and are challenging the alpha female a little bit.

They seem to be a bit more interested in food, but I'm hoping that withina few days they will be eating readily.

I don't know what I'll do with my male long term, maybe I will reintroduce him when the females are fully grown and well established. Or maybe Ill leave them for a while and then introduce a new, juvenile male at some point.

Anyway, thanks a million for all your help. It is much appreciated!
 

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I still think that at least one of these is a juv male! time will tell
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I've been watching out for that and nothing conclusive so far. I'm not an expert though so I don't really know what I' l looking for. I have seen at least one of what I think are the females doing a bit of dewlap displaying and back arching, but as far as I understand it both females and males do this.

Two of the females now appear to have established their own mini-territories, and the most submissive one is still getting a bit of harassment although she has come out of herself a lot since I removed the male.

Time will tell as you say!

P.S. I have a green tree frog in the tank with them. Could he be stressing them out? he's fairly big (prob fully grown) but I dont see any sign that they are bothered by him, for example they sometimes hang out quite close to him when he's sleeping during the day.
 
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