One of my friends was planning to raise a pet to spice up his otherwise uneventful life. He wanted a pet that was different from what others owned. So, cats and dogs were out of the equation. He also did not have the courage to own a python. So, the choices were filtered based on the uniqueness of the creature and the risk of injury.
Being a close friend of his for years, I decided to help him in finding the right pet. Since his priority was to have an exotic pet that is quite different from what other pet lovers did, we had to do some bit of searching. There began our quest to find an exotic pet that is both tameable as well as fascinating. The thought of having chameleons as pets came up and we did give it due consideration. So, here I am to share my bit of thoughts on having chameleons as pets.
Chameleons are solitary animals that belong to the family of lizards. They are quite distinct due to the specialized range of colors they come in, and the ability of some of them to even change their body color according to the environment. Other factors that can allure you to opt for chameleons as pets are their ability to move their independently mobile eyes, curved tail ending, and hunting prowess using their special tongue.
The carvings on their skin and the unique eyebrows are bound to catch the attention of the onlookers. Your chameleon can make you a unique pet owner award winner! While I can go on and on about this admirable creature, let me stick to the core topic of this write-up.
Yes, having chameleons as pets is indeed a wonderful idea, but let me throw a word of caution that this pet is not for casual or inexperienced pet owners. Agreed that they are unique and interesting, but they are not for everyone as they require a good amount of cage space and time to be invested to be kept well.
Apart from the thrill of having chameleons as pets, maintaining chameleons can be quite a difficult task, especially for inexperienced reptile pet owners. I would advise that if you have not owned a reptile pet earlier, it’s best that you reconsider your decision.
One of the reasons why chameleons are among the most sought after exotic pets is their ability to change colors. The change in color can be due to many reasons. Traditionally, it has been believed that they change color as part of their camouflage so that they can prey on insects in a stealth mode.
However, recent studies have revealed that the color may also be an indication of their emotional levels. They can be a trigger when the chameleon is excited, under stress, senses a temperature change or even to communicate with its own kind. It has also been revealed that brighter colors are an indication of good mood while the dark ones hint at the reptile being under stress.
Chameleons prey on insects. Their favorite insects while in captivity are cricket, silkworms, dubias, hornworms and of course flies. Among the wild species, the larger ones even prey on other lizards and birds! Their unusually long tongue is one and a half times longer than their overall body length helps them in hunting from a fair bit of distance.
What you cannot expect when you have chameleons as pets is holding them in your hand like a Chihuahua or any other dog. They just are not meant to be cuddled.
You will also have to consider the habitat that your pet chameleon should be subjected to. The factors to be considered include temperature, lighting, and humidity. Before, you build its habitat look for a solitary place where it has privacy. If you have another pet, take caution to ensure that the chameleon is not placed in its vicinity.
If you are a first-time chameleon pet owner it is best that you choose a species that are captive bred and are accustomed to a moderately humid environment. The advantage of bringing in captive bred chameleons as pets is their ability to adapt. Moreover, they are more likely to be healthy and would be less stressed. Check out our chameleon buying guide.
Another interesting aspect you need to consider is that chameleons prefer to live alone – they are solitary creatures. Moreover, having two or more chameleons as pets can cause territorial disputes and competition among them – so go solo. This applies only if you have two male chameleons as pets. Males of the species have longer life spans than the females and are hence mostly preferred.
Most chameleons are not poisonous, at least the ones that are made pets. They are not known to be aggressive. However, situations and the way you handle them can determine their aggression. Forced handling or unwanted handling can make these reptiles nervous. This can result in hissing and biting. Though, their bite is not toxic (at least to humans), it is quite painful. So, if you plan to own chameleons as pets you need to learn to handle them well.
There are over 150 species of chameleons that have been identified. This gives you a lot of choices to opt from for adoption, but not all chameleons can be domesticated. If you are a first-time reptile owner go for the veiled chameleon, Panther Chameleon, or Jackson’s Chameleon. Just be sure that they are healthy – look for signals mentioned above such as bright colors and reflexes.
To conclude, chameleons as pets is a good choice. Just like any other pet, you need to be really serious about owning it. It is like raising a kid. You need to have time and patience and of course some money too. Do your bit of research before deciding to bring one home and I am sure you would soon realize that you had made a wise choice.
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.