Skip to Content

Monkey Anole (Berthold’s Bush Anole)

Monkey anoles (Polychrus gutturosus) are neither monkeys nor anoles. So far the phylogenetic position of Polychrus gutturosus is poorly resolved.

In fact, Monkey anoles are not as closely related to anoles as they are to other lizards.

They actually are their own family of lizards and as lizards, they are part of the suborder Iguania which does include the anoles’ lizards but it also includes a lot of other animals like the iguanas and the chameleons.

One of their distinctive sign is their very long prehensile tail (probably ⅔ the length of the body) one of the longest tails among reptiles. Monkey Anoles are very good climbers and their very long tails are probably used in their climbing. They can actually rely on their tails the total weight of their bodies.

Quick Reference Section

  • Scientific name: Polychrus gutturosus
  • Synonyms: Polychrus (Chaunolaemus) multi carinatus, Polychrus spurrelli, Polychrus gutturosus spurrelli
  • Alternate name: Berthold’s bush anole and forest iguana
  • Family: Polychrotidae
  • Genus: Polycrus
  • Size: It can reach up to 70 cm (2.3 ft) in total length, including its very long tail
  • Diet: Insectivorous
  • Behavior: Diurnal
  • Environment: Tropical

Interesting Facts About Monkey Anoles

Polychrus Gutturosus
Polychrus Gutturosus

According to The Reptile Database, the name gutturosus is Latin meaning ”with the enlarged throat,” and alludes to the extensible, saclike dewlap of males of this species.

It is controversial whether they drop their tails to escape from a predator or not as other lizards do.

In any case, it’s interesting to learn that researchers have found that the regenerated tail of a lizard is dramatically different from its original.

The tail that grows back, however, is composed of a rod made of cartilage and long muscle fibers that stretch the length of the regrown appendage, not the original design of small bones and short muscles.

Although it doesn’t have the function of the original, Tail 2.0 is nonetheless the result of genetic skills humans would like to learn more about. Especially if scientists could one day be able to use them to treat spinal cord injuries and diseases like arthritis.

Monkey Anoles can change color from green to brown and vice versa. The color changes are caused by hormones and can be triggered by temperature, background color or mood.

A hormone called intermedin secreted by the pituitary gland is responsible for these changes. Interestingly enough, they resemble Old World chameleons in both morphology and behavior.

These are slow-moving lizards with a laterally compressed body and cone-shaped eyes with partially fused eyelids.

But with that said, the monkey anole is just as apt to sit quietly and depends on its camouflage to avoid detection.

What Does The Monkey Anole Look Like?

Forest Iguana
Forest Iguana

Monkey lizards are unique among Neotropical arboreal lizards in having strikingly long whip-like tails, as well as long limbs and digits.

They have a laterally compressed body and cone-shaped eyes with partially fused eyelids.

Their color is some shades of green (occasionally blue-green) and there are broad paler bands that are edged in black.

As adult size they get up to around 14 inches, but the semi-prehensile tail accounts for two-thirds of that length Males are considerably smaller than females.

Where Can Monkey Anoles Be Found?

Monkey Anoles live in the jungles and forests of Central America and South America. In particular, they range from the Pacific coast in Ecuador and Colombia into Central America as far north as Nicaragua.

What Kind Of Habitat Does The Monkey Anole Live In?

This species is highly arboreal living its life in the trees and fauna of the forest.

What About Egg Hatching?

Eggs typically hatch in around 35 days, and hatchlings will start eating a few days after they have emerged from their egg.

What Does The Monkey Anole Eat?

They love bugs! And they particularly love crickets and hornworms!

How long does the Monkey Anole live?

Berthold's Bush Anole
Berthold’s Bush Anole

With proper care, monkey anoles can live between 8 – 12 years in captivity.

What Predators Does The Monkey Anole Have?

The Monkey anole has many predators like birds, cats, and snakes; according to Herpetology Notes there is a published study about Monkey Anoles being predated by the parrot snake (Leptophis ahaetulla).

Where Can I Buy My Monkey Anole?

Unless you live in Florida and can get one from the wild (which we don’t recommend), you will have to buy one.

Monkey Anole Setup Checklist

As follows here is a checklist of relevant things you will need if you decide to get a monkey anole

1. Enclosure

Exo Terra High Glass Terrarium, 36 by 18 by 36-Inch

To properly accommodate your pet Monkey Anole you will need at least a 20 inch tall tank (yes the enclosure should be large and tall!). The one pictured above is a the “Exo Terra High Glass Terrarium“. You’ll need a few additional items as well.

2. Substrate

Zoo Med Eco Earth Loose Coconut Fiber Substrate, 24 qts.

A substrate is what goes on the bottom of the tank, and is also relevant. Eco Earth Coconut fiber is a great option. There are other brands available as well.

3. Lighting

WACOOL Reptile Fixture Deep Dome Dual Lamp Fixture, UVA UVB Light Reptile Heat Lamp Bracket Holder, Premium Reptile Light Reflector with 2 Indenpent Switches

Monkey anoles need UVA/UVB as well as heat. Getting a dual fixture like the one pictured above by WACOOL is a great option. You can add a WACOOL full spectrum UVA/UVB bulb along with an Infrared bulb spot bulb to ensure the heating is enough.

4. Temperature & Humidity

Zoo Med Labs Digital Thermometer Humidity Gauge, Single (TH-31)

Be sure to monitor the temperature and humidity using a hygrometer and add a thermostat to the infrared bulb to ensure the enclosure doesn’t get too hot.

5. Humidity

BETAZOOER Reptile Humidifiers Mister Fogger with Extension Tube/Hose, Suitable for Reptiles/Amphibians/Herps/Vivarium with Terrariums and Enclosures (2.5 Liter Tank)

Monkey anoles need 60-70% humidity constant in the cage to stay hydrated. Dehydration is one of the largest causes of reptile death. So, keeping humidity is more than relevant. Be sure to pick up a reptile humidifier like this one from BETAZOOER for it.

6. Accessories

Fluker's Food and Water Reptile Corner Bowl, Medium 6" - colors may slightly vary

Like any other reptile you should have a water source available for your pet. This one from Fluker’s is a nice option. You can also get some branches or other things as accessories to fill the enclosure out more.

7. Supplements

Zoo Med Reptile Calcium with Vitamin D3, 12-Ounce

Ensuring your monkey anole has all the needed vitamins is crucial for its health. ZooMed has a great option that includes vitamin D3 (or you can choose it without).


Monkey Anoles make great pets, but even if they are good at interacting with humans, due to their delicacy, they are not advisable as pets for families with small children.

Another thing to take into account before acquiring a Monkey Anole is that even if they are relatively inexpensive pets, to care for them properly you would need to make some relevant investment for accommodation and maintenance.

More lizards

Click to rate this post!
[Total: 3 Average: 5]