If you ever thought about owning a chameleon as a pet, you’ll need to know the basics first. Chameleon is an exotic pet, which means they require different care than dogs and cats. These lizards are from the small county of Madagascar, an island on the coast of Africa. Chameleons are easy to care for and by knowing some simple chameleon care basics, you should be able to keep your chameleon healthy and happy for a long time.
While a chameleon that is in great health and cared for will live for a long time, sometimes a chameleon will be born with some kind of health problem. Therefore, it’s very important to always buy a chameleon that is healthy and has no health issues. A sick chameleon will cost you a lot of money not just caring for them but taking them to the vet and getting medicines to help them get better.
Below are some of the basic things that will need in order to stay healthy and live a long life:
Provide Plenty Of Water
Like any other living thing on this planet, it needs water to survive. With chameleons, the way they drink water is different from other lizards. Since chameleons spend most of their time in the trees, they get their water source from there. In the wild, chameleons drink water from the droplet on the leaves of the tree. Since their natural habitat is in the rain forest, the air will usually be moist and have water droplets on the leaves at all times.
In order to provide water for your chameleons properly, you’ll need to mimic exactly how they get their water in their natural habitat. What most people do and what is recommended by experts is to drop droplets of water on the leaves near the chameleon. When they get thirsty, they will start to drink water from the leaves. You should put droplets of water on the leaves daily and a couple of times during the day.
However, if you don’t feel putting drops of water daily, there are a couple of companies that make automatic water droplets. What these systems do is drip droplets of water onto the leaves periodically. Some system allows you to adjust the timing for the water to drop onto the leaves. There are different types of systems available ranging from small size to large size. This all depends on your enclosure size, chameleon species type, and how many chameleons are in each enclosure.
Provide Adquent Amount of Food
Depending on what species of chameleon you have, the food they eat will vary from species to species. For most species, they prefer food such as mealworms, crickets, roaches, and maggots. Smaller species of chameleons will eat small insects such as crickets and roaches. On the other hand, larger species of chameleon such as the veiled chameleons, they will eat almost anything that can fit in the mouth! This includes a mouse, small bats, and even small fish.
Mimic Their Environment With Trees and Plants
In their natural habit, chameleon spends more than 95% of their time in trees. Trees provide them protection from predators, as well as the heat from the sun. Most of the chameleons are arboreal (living in plants or trees), they need large plants to climb. The trees you choose should be something closely related to their environment. Also, the trees and plants help create a fresh, tropical atmosphere.
It is best to not use artificial trees and plants as it can cause stress for the chameleons. Artificial trees and plants do not provide comfort as real trees and plants do. Also, some species of chameleon eat plants and leaves of trees as well. For that reason, it’s a good idea to use real trees and plants.
Dracaena Marginata aka Dragon Tree is a popular type of tree for chameleons. They are easy to care for and the Dragon tree is found naturally in the habitat. Other types of trees that make a good home for the chameleons are Ficus Benjamina, Hibiscus, Schefflera Arboricola, and many more.
Put The Correct Lighting In The Cage
When it comes to lighting, it’s best to use the light from the sun. By placing their enclosure close to the window of your home, they can get ample natural sun lights. Since chameleons usually require a large enclosure, most people put wheels on the enclosure so they can move them around from one place to the next.
However, if your home doesn’t have a location for the enclosure that can get sun exposure, the next best option would be to use UV (ultraviolet lighting. UV lighting provides the same lighting as the sunlight. With UV lighting, you’ll need to mimic the sun. This means at night, turn off the light and in the early morning, turn on the light. Some UV lights have auto-timer which allows you to set the time for the lights to come on and turn off.
Basking lights are also needed for a chameleon to be healthy. What these lights do is help the chameleons maintain their optimal temperature. When they are cold, they will move closer to the basking light for heat. When they get too hot, they move further away from the basking lights.
Above are simple chameleon care tips, which anyone ranging from kids to the elderly can handle. Just like any other pet, they need to be cared for correctly to live a long and happy life. In return, chameleons will give you many years of enjoyment and happiness.
Dan got started with his first reptile, which was a green iguana, at the age of 10. From there, he has raised many different species of reptiles. Besides caring for reptiles, he enjoys woodworking, playing basketball, and spending free time with my 4 wonderful kids.