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Our home seems to be slowly turning into the reptile house of the local Zoo. We now have three bearded dragons, one leopard gecko, a gorgeous Iguana called Bill and our latest addition, a female Yemen chameleon that I have named Kiwi.
Kiwi was 'rescued' from a lady who advertised her for sale on a local internet advertising site. Poor Kiwi was decidedly underweight and her home was totally inadequate for her. She is now in a proper vivarium designed for Chameleons. As they love to climb they require more upward space than lengthways and this should be well ventilated with lots of branches, platforms and leaves for them to hide in. Live plants are great for them but take care that they are suitable for chams as they will often have a nibble, fiscus Benjamin is ideal. A varied diet of bugs is a good idea, chams don't seem to be too fussy, we tend to go with locusts and the occasional worm or 3 as a treat. Make sure live food is dusted with calcium powder three times a week. As chams can't recognise running water it is essential that you set up a drip system or mist the enclosure a couple of times a day, so the water drips down the plants enabling it to be seen.
They require a proper basking light with UVB to keep their bones healthy and to enable them to digest their food adequately. Since we have had her she has grown beautifully, the spines on her back which were stunted are starting to come through properly.
She is usually a bright green (the same as all female chams. The males change a more extensive range of colours) when she is most content, often after finishing her meal or basking in her favourite spot but when handling her i.e. when moving her to clean her out she will very often start showing darker spots or stripes - often looking a little like a cheetah pattern on her skin.
Chameleons are not social creatures and cannot be housed together at all, even being able to see other chameleons when housed separately can cause stress and displeasure. When breeding, the female should be brought to the male and then removed as soon as the 'act' is over. They show their displeasure at being handled by puffing up and will hiss, some bite although luckily I have not had this trouble with Kiwi, generally I would recommend keeping handling to a minimum. Although there are some individual chams that seem to enjoy human contact and 'ask' to come out by scratching at the front of their enclosure, on the whole they are display creatures only.
Hi there i have been keeping chameleons for nearly three years now, in this time i have owned and bred pygmy chameleons and have a slightly deformed vieled chameleon that i rehomed. I no longer have the pygmy's i sold them after breeding them for me to focus on Oscar my vieled chameleon.
vieled chameleon- These tend to be non-social chameleon's and would rather be left alone than messed about with. I am lucky that mine has become used to me and see's me has no threat to him rather than some chameleons i know that stand there and fight, i have seen many that will become quite aggresive and go to bite you everytime you put you hand in there tank.
Care- These originate from the mountains of Yemen south of Saudi Arabia i believe. This is very mountainous area and is extremely hot in the day and very cold at night which makes vields/yemen chameleons a very hardy reptile , due to the change of weather and winter and summer there isn't always a readily supply of water and so vieleds rarely need water and get most there water from moisture in there food.
They are a aboreal species and so there vivariums should be taller rather than wider and set up with loads of places to hide and loads of brances and logs to climb, Flexariums or vivexotic vivariums i like to use. These need to be at least 36x18x18 big but it is recommended that you provide as much space as you can. They will need a uv tube of 10% strength due to them living in desert like conditions and there vivarium tempratures need to be 80-85 f and basking spot of 90-95f, night time temps can dop down to 60-70f but dont stress if it gets little colder in your house in the winter than the above tempratures because like i said in the wild there night temps can drop to -4. Vieled chameleons need to be misted twice a day for humidity which should be at 70% and feed on diet of live insects such as crickets and locusts. There food will have to be gut-loaded and then dusted with good calcium product before feeding to you chameleon. Besides this you will need to do the normal checks to make sure they are shedding there skin tidy and that there no physical problems or anything wrong with there stools. Also something that iv forgot to mention these need ventilation into there tank to stop the air from becoming stale and live for 7-10 years
Bearded Pygmy chameleon- Now these are quite alot easier to keep and can be housed in exo terra 45x45x45cm. They are social creatures and can live happily in group of four in the above tank. They only grow to size of 7cms and so the majority of there food will have to be micro-crickets. These do not need any lighting or uv tube as they dwell in the leaf litter of forests or in shrubs and so little sunlights gets to them. Tempratures need to be about 70f but not much higher as they are fragile little creatures and can die of heat stress. Low ventilation is needed due to them living in the leaf litter and direct misting is recomended twice a day.
Pygmy Chameleons originate from Tanzania in mountains of usambara. These will then need forest type set up with lots of shrubs and leaf litter, there is no need for much height as they differ from there cousins and rather stay close to the floor. livespan is about 5-7 years, these are destinguishable by there little beards under ther mouth that is like flappy piece of skin.
I definately recommend chameleons as they are so interesting to watch and care for. For instance when i rehomed Oscar he had slight MBD and had managed to burn away the top of his mouth has he got to close to his spot bulb, since i have had him that his mouth has totally healed and you cannot tell that there was a problem before. Also he can now climb has good as any of the chameloens iv seen which he couldn't even go much higher than the floor without falling off.
Pygmy's are similar to fish in the way they are great to watch but are not the pet to handle and have a relationship with. Having reptiles is great way of having responsibility and nothing is more rewading than knowing you've got a happy-healthy pet because you have taken the time to research its care and provide it correctly.
Vieled chameleons cost around £60 to £80 pound and Bearded pygmy chameleon's cost about £30.00.
I had only owned a chameleon for 2 weeks before she died. She was a tiny Panther Chameleon and was a lovely pet. I called her Zoe, and this review is in memory of her. She tragically died due to some eating disorder and the annoying fact that it was hard to get her to drink as Chameleon's can only drink from a drip!
She was very small and green, although she had the ability to change her colour as most chameleons do. She had a tail that curved up into a spiral shape, and she used this to hold onto branches and for balance. Her feet were the cutest things - very small and like little pinchers. When she climbed up my arm, she pinched me lightly as she climbed. It was very cute and she was a lovely pet. She had a long bright pink tongue that was used for watching insects that she never ate...
The Panther Chameleon should mainly eat locusts, crickets and small mealworms and maybe waxworms too. Their diet requires a lot of vitamin supplement and mostly crickets as they love to eat these. This can leave a big hole in your pocket as constantly buying crickets is expensive stuff! They also need a dripping water system that they can drink from, because in the wild they will drink from dripping leaves in the rainforest.
Their natural habitat must be emphasised on their tank if you own one as a pet. There must be many branches and leaves, even if they aren't authentic. Their turf should consist of bark, but they will never be on the bottom of their tank as they climb plants and trees. They will need quite a warm tank too, which can be done with a heat lamp.
They can be a pain to feed and water (not literally water them), because of their diet needs and need for dripping water. To feed them, you need to buy the crickets, which cost enough themselves. Then you need to shake some out the plastic container into a bag (with no holes)! After that, you need to add some vitamin supplement powder. Then you must give the bag a rough shake to get the powder all over the crickets. Finally, you can shove the crickets in the tank. They are very fussy little things and require a lot of time. The dripping water can be done with a special bottle that you can buy for chameleons, but you must make sure it is always topped up.
Apart from that, they are lovely pets and perhaps one of the best for reptile lovers. They are very cute and very entertaining. They only have a lifetime of up to 10 years, which is a bit sad, but at least the lucky ones live more than two weeks unlike Zoe.
Overall, I would highly recommend a chameleon to any reptile lover. They are fantastic pets that provide great entertainment. They can be expensive, as mine cost me over £200 with the tank and everything else costing more. They are really fun to watch sticking their long tongues out and catching their food too!
Thanks for reading,
- Recon -
Eric is a pygmy chamelian, one of the smaller ones he is only 7cm long fully grown and cost me £34
chamelians are usually very sociable animals and work better in groups but eric is a grumpy old man and doesnt like any thing or any one not even me.
Naturally eric would live on the forest floor so i have peat, bark and dead leaves in the bottom of his tank with twigs going up his tank and plastic plants hanging from the top of his tank.
His tank is kept at 20 to 22'c in the day and can drop as low as 18'c at night
He has a uv light in his cage.
Eric is not the prittiest thing you will ever see, he looks a bit like a dark brown shriveled up dead leaf but blends in lovely.
He eats crickets, waxworms and fruit flys but these have to be dusted with vitamin suppliments before feeding.
The biggest battle with chamelions is that they only drink running water so a water bowl is useless, i have got a ceramic water fall in erics tank which he likes to climb all over and drink from.
He is very entertaining to watch as he rocks backwards and forwards anticipating actually moving and when you see them doing this all the way along a branch you would think they were slow but boy can eric move when he decides he is going to bite you and a right nasty pinch he gives.
Me and eric have come to some what of a mutual understanding, he doesnt like me and i detest him so i wont be buying anymore.
A chameleon, its cage and the cages contents may cost you up to and even more than $300
(CANADIAN.) But trust me... its well worth it.
Chameleons generally live in the rainforest so you may want to put stuff like foggers and bark chips in the cage. Chameleons like to be as high up as possible. So the cage should be around 3-5 feet tall and high off the ground. On a table or something.
Chameleons eat a widevariety of things. You can feed them basically any bug you find in your house. YOU JUST HAVE TO MAKE SURE THEY DONT HAVE ANY DISEASES. I feed mine chrickets, meal worms and silk worms. Chameleons eat alot and if you were to buy theese bugs for it you would be paying about $6-8 (canadian) and need to eat every 3 days. AND I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH...CHAMELEONS WILL ONLY DRINK MOVING WATER AND NEED SOME SORT OF FOUNTAIN OR THEY CANNOT SEE THE WATER. buy a fountail from your local pet store. they would range from $20 to 50 canadian.
*WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW*
Chameleons are very shy creatures and can adapt to being handled alot but take it slow.
you will know when they are getting agravated, they will puff up, stick thier chin out and hiss but just take it slow and they will rarely do that.
*WHEN DO THE CAGE AND CHAMELEON NEED TO BE CLEANED*
Well the cage should be cleaned every 2 weeks or else your chameleon will not be happy. If you keep the chameleons cage clean enough you will not need to bathe the chameleon but if the chameleon starts to smell then i would say a little soap in some luke-warm water should do the trick.
*WHY A CHAMELEON*
A chameleon is the best reptile. Although not that easy to care for the chameleon is the best pet for an intermediate reptile pet lover. DO NOT GET A CHAMELEON IF IT IS YOUR FIRST REPTILE. if you have any questions do not hesitate to ask me any questions. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading!!!