If you have made the decision to keep a chameleon as a pet, you have to have some knowledge about them. You have to research about their habitat, diet, and types of chameleons available on the market.
Chameleons are a distinctive and specialized clade of lizards and till now 202 species are described by zoologists around the world. However, here we will see types of chameleons that can be bought from pet shops.
Veiled Chameleon (Cone-head chameleon)
In the types of chameleons, the veiled chameleon is the most commonly used species. They can be found in Yemen and Saudi Arabia and are also known as Yemen Chameleon.
The male can grow up to 61 centimeters but the female veiled chameleon will not grow more than 35 centimeters. This species has a casque on their head and can grow up to 5 centimeters.
Adult veiled chameleon can have different colors of stripes on green color.
There is also the difference in female and male.
Their lifespan is up to 5 years.
You have to be careful about the temperature in their habitat. The temperature should be around 80 oF and humidity 70%.
This chameleon species that is small in size (17 to 25 centimeters) is a native of Madagascar. They are known for adjusting to robust conditions and are ideal to keep as pet chameleon.
The ideal temperature and humidity for these types of chameleons are 75 oF and 65%.
They have a short lifespan of 2 to 3 years.
They can change colors and they start the day with dark colors to warm their body.
Among the types of chameleons that can be kept as pets, Fischer’s chameleon is a good choice. This species is endemic (unique habitat) to Tanzania.
These chameleons need special care, so if you are buying a chameleon for the first time opt for another species. These are very rare and you may not get these in all pet shops.
Fischer’s Chameleon can grow up to 38 centimeters long.
Ideal temperature is 75 oF.
Keeping humidity in between 75% to 85% will make the atmosphere perfect for this type.
Another species of chameleon that is commonly used as a pet. Originally they are native of East Africa and also found in Hawaii.
These types of chameleons are also known as three-horned chameleons because they have three horns on their head. Just like the veiled chameleon, Jackson’s chameleon is also a great choice for a beginner.
These will grow up to 33 centimeters long and have a longer lifespan when compared to some of the other chameleons (8 years).
They need a humidity of around 65% and the temperature range is 75 to 80 oF.
A unique species in the types of chameleons that can be kept as pets. They are the smallest of pet chameleons which grow only up to 7 centimeters long.
The unique nature of these chameleons is that you can keep more than one chameleon in a cage. You can keep one male and two females in a cage without them causing any problems.
They resemble a leaf that is on a branch.
Just like the other common types of chameleons (Veiled and Jackson’s) that are kept as pet, the panther chameleons are also easy to maintain. This species can become a great pet for the beginner.
Panther chameleons are native of eastern and northern parts of Madagascar. They are considered as the most colorful species and color can vary from red, blue, yellow, orange, and green.
The maximum length they can attain in a life span is 51 centimeters and can live up to 5 to 7 years.
The temperature should be around 80 oF and humidity should be around 70%.
Oustalet’s Chameleon (Malagasy giant chameleon)
Oustalet’s chameleons are considered as the largest chameleon species and are endemic species of Madagascar.
They can grow up to 76 centimeters long and can live up to 12 years.
The ideal habitat of these types of chameleons should have a temperature of 80 oF and the relative humidity should be around 70%.
These types of chameleons are found in East Africa. They are also known as Giant one-horned chameleon.
The Meller’s Chameleons need a temperature of 80 oF and the humidity level should be 70%.
They have a lifespan of 12 years.
There are reports saying that Meller’s chameleons can reach up to 76 centimeters in length and are a good competition to Oustalet’s Chameleon.
They are known for their aggressive nature and are not a good choice as pets if you do not have experience.
Four-Horned Chameleon (Cameroon bearded chameleons)
Just like the name depicts, these chameleons have four horns. They can grow up to 36 centimeters and have a life span of 5 years.
These chameleons can be healthy in a habitat with high humidity (85%) and a temperature of 75 oF.
Although they can be found in Cameroon, Africa, this type of chameleons like cool weather. If you do not have experience, I will not suggest this species as a pet chameleon.
Among the types of chameleons that can be kept as pets, Senegal chameleon is also included. Their natural habitat is in West Africa (Nigeria, Cameroon, Senegal, Mali etc.).
Contrary to other species, male Senegal chameleons are usually smaller than females. They can grow up to 30 centimeters and have olive brown color.
Above are the types of chameleons you can consider while searching for a pet chameleon. The temperature that I have mentioned for each species is the daytime temperature.
Consider your experience, budget and nature of habitat before buying a chameleon as a pet for yourself. If you have experience you can buy any of these species and if you do not have much experience, buy a species like veiled, Jackson’s or Panther.
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 http://chameleoncareguide.com
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