Chameleon means Earth Lion. They are one of the most fascinating species of animals. Their ability to change their color has intrigued many of us around the world. Chameleons do not get accustomed easily to captivity. So proper care should be taken while choosing a chameleon as your pet. Let us see how to do this, and also the things to keep in mind regarding its care.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Pet Chameleon
Chameleons are arboreal. They are meant to live on the trees, and in the wild. So before you actually bring home a chameleon, you need to make sure that you have enough space to accommodate a cage which has enough room for the chameleon.
- Try making the interior of the cage resemble its natural habitat, by adding branches and foliage. Chameleons are ectotherms, which means that they control their body temperature through external means. So it is important to regulate the temperature of the room where the chameleon is kept. They need warmth. Without warmth, they can not even move their body.
- For beginners, the veiled chameleon will be the best option. They have the ability to adapt easily to the captive environment. The Jackson and Panther chameleon are 2 of the other alternatives. Choose a chameleon that has already bred in captivity. Chameleons are easily prone to stress, and moreover, a wild chameleon will already be under stress due to its shipping from its natural habitat, and are prone to parasitic infections. So you should avoid choosing a wild one.
- When you go to buy a chameleon, check whether its limbs are straight. If they are not straight, you can infer that they have a problem with their limbs. Observe their eyes, they should be bright and not be sunken. If their eyes are sunken, it indicates that they are dehydrated. They should have bright coloration with healthy skin. See that they do not have any bruises.
- Always buy it from a place which has an expertise in the trade of exotic animals.
Caring for a Chameleon as a Pet
- After you have bought a chameleon, taking care of it is a major task. Chameleons take time in adapting to the change in habitat. So you should be patient with them. Give them time to adjust.
- There should be proper ventilation in their cage. Try providing them with a variety of branches in their cage. This will help you replicate their natural habitat to a certain extent.
- Their cage should be subjected to the optimum amount of sunlight exposure. This will help in the smooth functioning of their body. A full spectrum lighting adjustment should be made if required.
- It is recommended for the beginners to go for a male chameleon. Males are sturdy and comparatively have fewer needs.
- Chameleons generally live in solitude, so it is advised that you should restrict the number of chameleons in a cage to just one. If you can't restrict that, then you should never put 2 males in the same cage. The males in the same cage will be extremely aggressive.
- Their cage should be screened from 3 sides. Chameleons only consume water in the form of the droplets on the leaves. So you should sprinkle water in the cage at regular intervals.
- Non-toxic foliage should be provided. They generally prefer insects. Crickets, wax worms, and meal worms, can be some ideal choices for their food. The prey should be gut loaded and should be dusted with supplements of calcium and vitamin A. Chameleons may be suspected to hypervitaminosis A, so regulate the amount of the vitamin A supplement. During pregnancy, the female requires a higher dose of calcium, and this should be provided accordingly.
Care should be taken that chameleons are kept in a quiet environment. They can be great pets. Observing them while they change their color is amazing. You just have to choose the right one and take adequate care of it.