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If you’re new to chameleon care, you may be surprised to see your pet leave a dish of standing water untouched. Unlike many other types of pets, chameleons are instinctively unlikely to drink out of a bowl of water. This is because chameleons in the wild get their hydration by licking moisture from leaves that gets left behind from either dew or rainfall.
Delivering a proper drinking method is essential to prevent dehydration, which is one of the most common health problems among captive chameleons.
Dehydration – What to Look For
If you’ve ever been dehydrated, you know it doesn’t feel good. You probably had a headache and low energy levels. Similarly, if you notice your chameleon is lethargic, that could be a red flag he is dehydrated.
Here are some other warning signs that a chameleon is suffering from dehydration:
- Sunken eyes
- Yellow or orange urate
- Lack of appetite and weight loss
- Lack of skin elasticity
If you notice any of these symptoms in your chameleon, consult with your reptile veterinarian as soon as possible to find out exactly what is wrong. Your vet should be able to evaluate the severity of the dehydration and recommend the proper amount of fluid based on your chameleon’s body weight and stomach capacity.
Fortunately, preventing dehydration in your chameleon may be as simple as diligent care techniques. You can simulate the natural drinking habit of wild chameleons and avoid dehydration by misting your pet’s enclosure at least twice a day.
In addition to providing your pet’s essential water source, misting also helps maintain humidity levels in the chameleon enclosure. Most chameleon species are native to areas of high humidity, so a relatively high humidity range helps keep them happy and healthy.
For those who have chosen to use live plants in a chameleon’s cage, misting also has the added advantage of keeping the greenery watered.
You have several different misting options. The simplest, of course, is a spray bottle of water. Some chameleon owners prefer a pressurized plant sprayer, and some use an automatic misting system.
Automatic misting systems operate on a timer, which is excellent for forgetful chameleon owners or those who regularly go out of town and don’t want to hire a pet sitter. However, keep in mind that these misting systems can harbor bacteria. If you choose to use an automatic mister, make sure to thoroughly clean and disinfect it monthly.
Knowing how to properly care for a chameleon is essential for making sure your pet lives a longer, healthier life. Remember to regularly mist your chameleon’s enclosure to keep your pet hydrated, and look for any changes in your chameleon’s appearance or behavior.
Disclaimer: This blog post is not medical advice. Consult an experienced reptile veteran right away if you notice any indicators of dehydration or any other signs of illness in your pet chameleon.