With really young baby chameleons the best place for the little ones is a 10-20 gallon aquarium or a small mesh cage. The tanks should have a mesh top so the chameleon can’t escape. The environment should be furnished with branches of different diameters so that the chameleon can easily navigate the entire cage. Live plants will provide good hiding places and add to the beauty and humidity of the enclosure. Because some chameleons are known for eating vegetable matter, only non-toxic plants should be planted in their enclosures. The most common choices among chameleon breeders are Pothos and ficus plants. Plastic plants can also be used with or instead of real plants and have the advantage that they are easily cleaned. The arrangements of lights, plants and branches should be such to allow for at least one basking site where the temperature will reach the upper limits of the animal's comfortable temperature range. The temperature in the rest of the enclosure should be lower allowing the animal to thermoregulate (chose its own temperature) by moving around the cage Do not use substrate ( except coconut fiber) with chameleons as it can sometimes get it stuck in their digestive track causing problems. Once the chameleon become older, it will need a very well ventilated cage or simply a nice silk tree to live in. All my adult chameleons live on silk trees in the house that are simply boarded of so the chameleon can’t wonder. I find that works the best and they get more freedom. Poor ventilation, like that found in a typical glass aquarium, will allow the air to become stagnant and provide an opportunity for fungus and bacteria to grow which in turn will effect the health of your chameleon (and may even kill it).
Veiled chameleons, coming from Saudi Arabia and Yemen, need hot temperatures during the day. The basking area should be around 90ºF to 95ºF. At the opposite end to the basking spot the temperature should be at least 10ºF lower than the basking spot. With a mesh door it's relatively easy to achieve this. Standard 40 /60 watt light bulbs can be used to create a basking spot. The basking spot light should be on for 10- 12 hours a day. Veiled chameleons are very hardy chameleons that can withstand a large range of temperatures. At night, it is necessary for them to experience at least a 10ºF to 15ºF drop in temperature so NO LIGHTS ARE REQUIRED. Please do not allow the night time temperatures to drop below 70 for babies and 65 for adults. In a normal house, no heating is required at night. This allows better resting and simulates their natural habitat where temperatures drop significantly at night. A great tool to use is a light timer so the lights can turn on and turn off at the same time. You can purchase those at walmart, our chameleons are use to 8am-8pm.
Lighting is very important for all chameleons. Veiled and Panther chameleons should be provided with a UVA/UVB producing light source and a basking light. UVA and UVB exposure allows chameleons to synthesize vitamin D3 into their skin. The synthesis of vitamin D3 allows the absorption of calcium which is critical for all chameleons.
The recommended lights to provide sufficient UVB/UVA exposure are ZooMed's ReptiSun 5.0, ZooMed's Iguana Light 5.0, Arcadia D3 Reptile Light, Interpet Triton Reptile D3 Light and Repti-glow 8.0 Reptile Light. When you get a baby chameleon and purchase a baby cage, make sure the uvb bulb is not higher than 15watts and it's elevated above the cage with the clamp provided with the dome fixture. As babies, their eyes are very sensitive.
No tungsten light produces UV light (even so called full spectrum or Reptile basking lights). They are perfect however for basking lamps.
The light should be on for 10-12 hours a day. All Chameleons love natural sunlight. On hot summer days take your Chameleon outside and put it on a bush to bask. No artificial light can really duplicate the full effects of the suns rays on a sun loving reptile like the Veiled Chameleon. Obviously make sure your Chameleon can't escape or the local cat or bird of prey does not fancy a quick meal first! An outside aviary with a dripper system is Chameleon heaven on a summer day if you have the space. Always make sure the Chameleon can get out of the sun if it wants to though.
In the wild, chameleons lick dew and rain droplets off of leaves, or are attracted to moving water. This means that in captivity, special watering techniques need to be used to keep chameleons healthy and hydrated. Panther chameleons are a little harder to take care for because they require higher huminity( 70%-80%) but this can be accomplished by spraying the cage twice or three times a day for about 20 seconds in a small cage and 1 minute in a large cage. Please do not over mist as it causes respiratory infections do to way too much humidity. The best way to keep up with the humidity and make sure the baby gets a drink is to get an automatic mister. We sell top of the line MIST KING misters with very fine nozzles and powerful pumps. These can actually run up to 10 cages and it also includes a seconds digital timer. Another great things about this product is that you can go away for a few days and not worry about someone coming everyday to mist you chameleon. This is the best purchase you can get for your chameleon. Not only does it allow the chameleon to drink everyday and keep the humidity perfect, but it also makes your job alot easier. There are a few misters on the market that are other very expensive or don't work well.These are strongly recommended, please check my webstore for details. Some Veiled chameleons rarely drink water however that does not mean it should not be available regularly. Chameleons like clean warm drinking water and not cold.
Chameleons will eat a bit of vegetable matter, along with their diet of live insects. You may find that the plants in the enclosure gradually get eaten by the Chameleon (although some never eat vegetation at all). Try watercress, grated carrot (or sweet potato) and chopped spring greens. Dandelion leaves are an excellent replacement for spring greens and watercress. Just make sure you pick them from areas that don't use pesticides and wash them first.
All captive chameleons require calcium and vitamin supplementation. The specific reason for this is beyond the scope of this document. But in short, chameleons need vitamin D3 in order to metabolise calcium for growth and proper nerve functions. Many 'basking' reptiles naturally produce vitamin D3 in their skin when they bask in the sun and are exposed to UV radiation. Since the UV output of most human-made full-spectrum lights do not provide the same UV exposure as the sun, additional supplementation is ESSENTIAL. Please change your UVB bulbs every 6 months as they do lose their strength in UVB/UVA rays.
Feed your chameleon(s) daily by placing live insects with the fresh vegetables into a plastic container which is large enough to prevent the insects from escaping. For my adult chameleon I attach a big deli cup to the silk tree and put the insects inside. I do this everyday so the chameleons eat as soon as they get fed so it prevents any crickets from jumping out (some can jump that high) Vitamin &/or mineral supplementation when required can then be sprinkled on the insects and vegetables. Shake the container to evenly coat the vegetables and insects with the supplement. For very young hatchlings, a baby food jar makes a nice food dish. When the babies are very little simply coat your crickets with calcium and vitamin supplementation and drop them all in the tank. The baby will just feed itself and when it gets older you can get a little dish to put his worms in. Don’t be afraid to feed him waxworms from your hand, they will get use to you better and become more tame. Crickets – Are one of the best foods you can feed your chameleon. These insects when fed small slices of sweet potato (or carrot) and fresh greens they are nutritious and can comprise up to 80% of your chameleons total diet. Crickets however have a low Calcium/phosphorus ratio so additional calcium supplementation should be included with most cricket meals. Supplement lightly with pure calcium powder, not one with vitamins. At first you want to start feeding your baby chameleon little crickets about 1-2 week old. After the chameleon is about 3-4 months old you can start feeding larger crickets. Make sure you feed your animal a variety of insects.
I also supply great quality bugs for my clients such as silk, horn, wax, butter worms which make a huge difference on the life of your chameleon. I started shipping in silk worms when I lost a few chameleons due to parasites. These came from crickets that were over package and kept in dirty environments by the breeders. Now 80% of my diet is silk and horn worms and occational cricket, wax and king worms to avoid any more deaths due to parasites. The small crickets don't have this problem so you don't have to worry about those when you first purchase your baby chameleon. If your interested in getting these worms from me, please email me for more information. Once I started feeding my chameleons these worms, I noticed a major difference in behaviour, colours, breeding and overall happiness of the animal. You can check out our website at http://www.bugsgalore.ca/ for our great supply of bugs.
It's important to give your chameleon a variety of bugs. This will stimulate their appetite as well as give them the perfect essential balance of nutrients. Each worm is different, please check the information on our bug website. These are the amounts you should be feeding your chameleon, plnease switch it around as much as you can. We give our chameleons 6 different types of bugs, silk worms are the healthiest.
Small silk worms- 4-6 a day
phoenix worms- 6 a day
Butter worms- 4 a day
Wax worms- 4 a day
Meal worms- 4 a day
Crickets- 8-10 a day
Medium silk worms- 4-6 a day
Medium horn worms-1-2 twice a week
phoenix- 8 a day
Butter worms- 6 twice a week
Wax worms- 6 twice a week
Meal worms- 6-8 day once a week
Crickets- 10-12 a day
Large silk worms- 6-8 a day
Large horn worms- 1-2 twice a week
Pheonix worms- 10 a day
Butter worms- 8 twice a week
Wax worms- 8 twice a week
Meal worms- 8-10 once a week
Crickets- 12-15 a day
Tip: Crickets should be gut loaded (fed) for at least a day prior to being used as food. Put a slice of carrot and a dandelion leaf (washed, or spring green/cabbage) into the cricket tub. Leave them for 24 hours if possible before feeding to the Chameleon
The following supplement schedule is recommended for your adult chameleons:
Calcium: Most feedings can include a light dusting of a pure calcium supplement although if all food is well gut loaded every other day is fine. Make sure your calcium dust is without vitamin D3, you only need to supplement vit D3 twice a week so you can do that with the vitamins. If you use vit D3 more than twice a week, your chameleon will end up with kidney failure. Babies need their calcium 3-4 times a week.
Multivitamins: Add a good dose of multivitamin twice a week. Make sure your multivitamin dust has vitamin D3.
Female Chameleons - Egg Laying
As with all egg laying lizards, females can have a tendency if not looked after properly to retain eggs, which can eventually kill them. A common misconception with Chameleons is that if a female Chameleon is not mated she will die egg bound. This is not true. If however she is not given a suitable place to lay her eggs then this is possible. Female Chameleons will produce eggs 2-3 times a year whether they have been mated or not. A suitable egg laying site is a real plant with a fairly large pot inside the cage. It’s good to put a real plant in their cage anyway so that will also allow her to lay her eggs inside the dirt. Females usually won’t lay their eggs till at least they are one year old or even later. You will know your female is carrying eggs because she will usually stop eating a couple of weeks before she lays them and will start wondering at the bottom of the cage looking for a place to lay them. At this time make sure that you give her lots of water and even dissolve calcium powder in the water so its nice and white when you give it to her. I use little drip bottles so I can mix both and give it to the girls manually. When she is ready she will dig a tunnel and lay her eggs before filling it back up again. Its important that she gets lots of water because she can get dehydrated very easily as the eggs take moisture from her body to expand. Whilst a bit more effort is needed around egg laying time to look after females they do tend to be naturally tamer and more likely to interact with you than the males. There is also the option of spaying your female so she will never lay her eggs. If you give your female a place to lay her eggs and give her all the attention she will be just fine.
Accessories for the babies
10-20 gallon tank with a mesh top or a small mesh terrarium.
Heating lamp (50-60 watts) and a fixture.
UVA/UVB light ( nothing stronger than 13 watts) and a fixture.
Sticks and vines to put inside the tank for the baby to climb on.
Ivy plastic vines to decorate around the sticks or a small real plant like a ficus or pothos.
Timer for the lights to turn on and turn off.
Calcium and multivitamin dust for the crickets
Reptile carpet to put at the bottom of the tank. NO LOOSE SUBSTRATE!!!
-For my customers convenience, I also supply the larger cages with accesories for when the babies reach adulthood. Just get intouch with me and I will place an order for you from my supplier for a great price.
-Since chameleons need a variety of bugs to eat, I also supply quality worms such as silk, horn,butter,wax,phenoxix at cheap prices. Please check out my website @ http://www.bugsgalore.ca/
-I also offer babysitting services if you are planning to go on holidays.
- If for any reason you can not take care of your chameleon any longer, I will adopt it and give it a great new home.
-If your chameleon gets sick, stops eating, or acts differently as usual, please take him to the vet. Here is the information to my vet, she's wonderful and will all do her best.
Dewinton Pet Hospital