If you are seriously looking for a chameleon care sheet, you have reached your destination. Chameleons are exotic creatures that are quite different from your regular pets. Of course, owning them gives you a sense of pride and brings you that much hyped “Wow” factor among your friends and relatives which great.
However, with the esteem of owning an exotic pet comes the added responsibility of taking great care of them. Unlike other creatures, if the chameleon is not well taken care of it can severely impact its health and life span. So here I am yet again with my simple and minuscule effort on helping chameleon owners take good care of their pets.
Chameleons are solitary animals that have special needs and thrive in the wild. So, domesticating a chameleon that has been brought from the wild would be an uphill task even for experienced reptile owners. It is best to get in touch with a reputed chameleon breeder to bring your pet home. Captive bred chameleons are best suited as pets due to their ability to adapt and lower stress levels.
Let us take a closer look at the chameleon care sheet.
Species – which one to buy
The chameleon care sheet should differ according to the species. Some are easier to handle while some may need a herculean effort to maintain. So, be sure about the kind of money, time, and effort you are willing to put even before you buy the pet. The cost involved would be for the habitat, food, supplements etc.
Jackson’s chameleon, Veiled Chameleon, and Panther chameleon are the most common ones that are owned as pets. Do your research and get the one that you are confident to raise. Also, consider the lifespan of the species that you are intending to bring up.
Habitat – the dwelling place
Chameleons require specialized habitat. They cannot be just brought home and left along just like a puppy or a kitten. Chameleons have to be kept individually in their own houses!
The size of the enclosure varies depending on the species, age and sex of the reptile. Females are relatively smaller in size and have a shorter lifespan than their male counterparts. It would be ideal to have the biggest cage possible that gives the reptile ample room to move around. Typically, if you consider the length of the chameleon to be X, it is best to have an enclosure that is 2X/3X/3X in dimensions.
A ficus tree that has many branches (both horizontal and vertical) and leaves can give the chameleon a close to home experience in the cage. The bottom of the cage should be covered with newspapers, eco-earth, soil or even tissue papers.
Chameleons are cold-blooded, so they cannot regulate their body temperature by their own. Hence, your chameleon care sheet should also include installation of a UVB tube or bulbs across the length of the cage. A basking bulb or a heat emitter would complete the habitat. To prevent the chameleon from getting too close to the bulbs make sure that light fixtures are used.
If the environment is not moist enough, your chameleon care sheet should include a dripper, mister, or fogger to supply water and create a humid environment. If you are willing to stretch your budget a bit, you can also install a humidity gauge and thermometer to monitor the humidity and temperature levels of its habitat.
You can attach a food bowl to the branch of the ficus tree or to the side of the cage.
Food and Nutrition – what they eat?
The chameleon care sheet should include food specific for the species that you have brought home. While all chameleons are insectivores, they should also be given a bit of greens to ensure proper health.
Larger chameleons can be fed even a pinkie mouse. For the not so bigger ones food supplies – worms, insects etc. – can be procured from a pet supplies shop.
If your chameleon pet readily eats plant matter, you can feed it with mustard, collard, turnip & dandelion greens, or lettuce. Else, you will have to gut load them. Gut-loaded insects like flies, crickets and mealworms help the chameleon gain nourishment from the food that the insects or worms have eaten.
Supplements – What more?
Just like humans, sometimes the regular food that is served to the reptile does not completely meet the nutritional requirements. Chameleons may need calcium and vitamin D supplements. Do include them in your chameleon care sheet.
However, be careful not to overfeed them with these supplements as then they may prove to be detrimental. You get multivitamins specific for chameleons at local pet supply stores.
Water – the elixir
Chameleons require water, like all other animals or reptiles. However, you are not supposed to offer them water the way you do it for other pets. Use a mister, dripper, or fogger to create droplets of water on leaves that it can drink. This will ensure that it drinks water in the right quantities and in the way it is used to. So, include the dripper or a similar item in your chameleon care list.
This should end my list in the chameleon care sheet. Besides these, the other thing that you really need to be wary of is not to cuddle this reptile like your dog or cat. They are just not meant to be handled that way. Just leave them in solitude and they will remain active.
Also, do not put more than one male chameleon in the same cage as the competition can raise their stress levels, significantly affecting their health and life span.
For a complete step-by-step guide on how to care for your pet chameleon and what to consider before you even get one, check out Robert Jone’s “Chameleon Care Guide” at chameleoncareguide.com which is an 83 pages ebook full of detailed information.
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