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Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11071
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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My green anole skin is turning gray on its head and is spreading.

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My green anole skin is turning gray on its head and is spreading. No it is not shedding. what could it be ?

I'm sorry to see that no one has responded to your question earlier. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online and saw your question.

Some additional information will be useful.

What brand/size of UVB light do you have? How old is the bulb?

What substrate do you use on the floor?

What temperatures do you maintain on the warm and cool sides of the cage?

Is your anole eating well?

Does the gray skin look like shedding skin, or is it a different kind of gray?

Is it possible to post a photo? If so, you can upload one by clicking on the little green tree icon in the tool bar.

Thank you.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
The bulb im using is a 60W less than a month old. The substrate is eco peat that expands in water and becomes dry. The warm side of the 20G tank is between 80 and 90 degs. The anole eats 1 to 2 crickets every couple days and the skin is definitely light ash gray and is not shedding skin. This happened to my last anole. The head started out gray and then progressed towards the tail and she eventually died a week or so later. I now have a timer hooked up that turns the bulb off at 11p and then turns it back on at 4am.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Has anyone been able to diagnose the problem or have any ideas
Thank you for getting back to me. I'm sorry for the delay. There was a glitch in the system that caused me to not receive notification that you had responded to my information request. While it's impossible to be certain based only on an online description, it is probable that this is a fungal infection. Because your other anole died so quickly from this condition, I suspect it is a type called yellow fungus, despite the fact that it's often other colors. It is often quickly fatal.

This fungus is difficult to treat. Some of the best results have been obtained using colloidal silver water and Nolvasan. You can buy Nolvasan in some pet stores, from vets, and online. Dilute it 3 ounces to a gallon of water. It should be kept away from the eyes. You can read more about it here:


Colloidal silver water is available in health food stores. Bathe your anole 2-3 times a day, alternating between the colloidal silver water and the Nolvasan.

You can then rinse your him and coat the affected areas with an antifungal medication - the type women use to treat yeast infections. It would also be helpful to give him some probiotics (beneficial bacteria). Here is an online source:


If your anole is eating, add the probiotics, 2 mls. daily of the silver water, and some bee pollen and royal jelly to his food. If he's not eating, mix those supplements into some chicken baby food, and drop a tiny bit at a time onto his snout. Most of the time, they'll lick it off. Don't try to force feed. Here's an online source for the pollen and royal jelly:


There are two aspects of your husbandry that need to be changed to help him recover. Use a solid substrate, such as ceramic tile or reptile carpet. It's very important that your anoloe be kept clean and dry, and that's much easier with a solid substrate. I am especially concerned that you may not have a UVB light. Full spectrum and UV or UVA are not the same thing, and will, over time lead to a serious health condition called Metabolic Bone Disease. It causes a slow and painful death. It also affects the skin. If your lights don't specifically say UVB, you'll need to get a UVB light as soon as possible. A Reptisun 10.0 is a good brand.

Treatment for yellow fungus has to be long-term; otherwise relapses are likely.

If you have additional questions, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope you're able to clear this up. (Thank you to Joan, for her invaluable tips. Joan has successfully treated yellow fungus using these methods).


(If you find my answer helpful, please click on ACCEPT. Thank you.)

Edited by MsAM on 1/14/2010 at 12:27 AM EST
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
What is the difference between UVB and other lighting. The pet store told me I didnt need a UVB light. I use the bulb I have to heat the warm side. Is a UVB bulb used for the same purpose or just to provide artificial sunlight ?
The pet store was wrong. It's very common for pet store personnel to be poorly informed. Most of them are young and are barely paid minimum wages. It would be hard to hire true experts for that. Many reptiles die each year because of information given out by pet stores.

Natural sunlight consists of many different types of light. UV stands for ultraviolet. There are different types of UV light. Reptiles need UVB light to manufacture vitamin D in their bodies. Without it, they can't metabolize calcium, and a calcium deficiency results. Calcium is leeched from the bones, and that leads to easily broken bones and weakness. Eventually, other organs are affected, and the illness will be fatal.

Regular light bulbs and heat bulbs put out visible light, and some UVA. Special bulbs are needed to produce UVB rays. UVB bulbs put out almost no heat. They produce UVA rays, as well as UVB. After 6 months of use, they are no longer producing enough UVB to be effective, and must be replaced. Here is a link where you can read in detail about light and reptiles:

UV light

If you have more questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Edited by MsAM on 1/14/2010 at 1:15 AM EST
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