Tips to Keep Your Female Chameleon Healthy

Females can make the best pet chameleons, but they do have specific health needs that differentiate them from males. They typically require a more complex diet, and have particular concerns around egg laying. This blog post provides some tips to keep your little lady happy and healthy.

You may be surprised to learn that female chameleons can and will lay eggs even without the presence of a male. Like chickens and many other birds, female chameleons of egg-laying species will start producing clutches of infertile eggs regularly throughout their lives, even without having a mate. Female chameleons become sexually mature around six months old.

In some cases, a female chameleon might be unable to lay the eggs by herself, retaining them inside her body. This is known as egg binding, and it’s a serious medical condition requiring veterinary intervention. That’s why it’s so important to know what to look for so you’ll be able to tell when your baby girl is ready to lay eggs.

Signs a Chameleon Might Be Ready to Lay Eggs

A gravid female veiled chameleon.
Source: Chameleon Forums

When getting ready to lay a clutch of eggs, a female will gain weight, even if you haven’t changed her food intake. She will also start to look rounded, and she’ll usually begin to get restless as she looks for a place to lay her eggs.

In addition, female chameleons change their colors to show they are receptive to mating, and will also display a different coloration when carrying a clutch of eggs.

Visual stimulation may be all it takes to begin the ovulation process in a female chameleon. If you have both a male and a female chameleon and you don’t intend to breed them, make sure you keep them separated and set up visual barriers so they can’t see each other.

A Healthy Female Has Fewer Risks When Laying Eggs

An unhealthy or malnourished female will have much more difficulty laying eggs because she’ll lack the ability to contract her uterus appropriately. Providing your female chameleon with a balanced diet that includes plenty of calcium and other vitamins and minerals is the key to helping her produce eggs safely and with less risk to her own health. It’s also important to include a UVB bulb in her habitat to help her absorb the calcium.

Provide your chameleon with adequate opportunities to exercise, as well. One way to do this is by forcing her to hunt for her food. A fit female with strong bones and well-developed muscles will be better equipped to lay eggs without problems.

Creating a Nesting Environment

When a female is ready to lay eggs and there is nothing to lay them in, she might retain them. As mentioned above, this is a serious and potentially life-threatening medical condition. The best practice is to provide your little girl with a nest at all times.

A top-down view of a sand-filled nesting box.
Source: Chameleon Forums

To create a laying bin, fill an opaque container at least 12″ deep with moistened sand or soil. In the wild, female chameleons dig tunnels to lay their eggs, so make sure the sand or soil is moist enough to retain the shape of a tunnel without collapsing, but not soaking wet. Some females will not feel comfortable with a laying bin containing only soil. Use a small (6” to 8”) potted pothos so your chameleon can lay her eggs around and under the roots of the plant.

How to Begin Handling Your Chameleon

Each chameleon has its own unique personality, and regardless of what you do, your chameleon may never be fully tame. However, that doesn’t mean you should give up hope on ever being able to handle your pet chameleon.

Getting a chameleon comfortable with regular handling is important beyond just wanting to interact closely with your pet. If your chameleon is used to being handled, it can make all the difference if he ever gets sick. Taking a terrified, struggling animal to a vet’s visit compounds the stress for everyone involved. And needless to say, if the time comes when you need to give your chameleon medicine, it can be potentially life-saving if he’s already used to being handled.

Image source: Flickr

Here are some tips to make it easier for you to begin handling your chameleon.

1. Give him time to get acclimated to his environment.
Chameleons are highly sensitive to changes in their surroundings, so being in a strange new home will be a major source of stress for the first several days. When you first bring home a new chameleon (regardless of age), give him at least 2-3 weeks to become familiar with his new cage, home and routine.

2. Be patient and work on steadily building trust.
Even if you’re being gentle, your chameleon will initially see you as a stressor and threat to be afraid of. Initially, you can try spending a lot of time in the same room as your chameleon’s habitat, so that he gets used to being around you. Eventually, you can open the cage door and begin by offering your chameleon a stick to climb on. Once he finally does come out, you can offer your hand as another surface to explore. This eliminates the “scare factor” of reaching directly into the cage, in addition to helping your chameleon begin to bond with you. Handle your chameleon in brief intervals to let him get used to the experience. Over time, you can build trust with your chameleon and help him become accustomed to being handled.

3. Hand feeding is your best tool.
If your chameleon sees you as the bringer of tasty treats, he’ll begin to expect positive things from you, rather than defaulting to a fear response. Again, as with any stage of this process, patience is the key. Don’t expect your chameleon to immediately take the treat. It’s a good idea to try hand feeding as your chameleon’s first meal of the day; if he’s hungrier, he’ll be more willing to take the food from you. Hold the food for a few minutes, and stop for the day if he doesn’t seem interested. It may take weeks or even months before he goes for the food, but don’t get discouraged – just keep trying daily and you’ll see your efforts rewarded.

4. Associate handling with positivity.
Over time, your chameleon will learn that whenever you open the cage, you either bring a snack or are planning to take him out for some independent exploration. It’s worth restating that each chameleon will respond to handling differently, depending on personality. Though not all chameleons become friendlier with handling, that doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of building a trusting, accepting relationship with you. Patience and positive reinforcement are essential to developing a good bond with your pet chameleon.

A Rare Hatching! Canvas Welcomes Baby Jeweled Chameleons

While every successful birth is a wonder to behold, Canvas Chameleons had the opportunity to welcome a fairly rare event at the beginning of the month: the hatching of a few Jeweled Chameleons (Furcifer Campani). This is only our fourth line of unrelated captive births of these wondrous creatures. So, in celebration, we thought it was appropriate to bring additional information to our readers about this unique event.

Getting to Know Furcifer Campani

Furcifer Campani, also known as the Jeweled Chameleon, is a native to the country of Madagascar, living within an approximately 5,600 square mile section from Ankaratra to the Andringitra National Park. Traditionally, these chameleons are fairly small. At birth, they are often a bit less than an inch long and only reach around 5.5 inches in length once full grown. They also feature distinct coloring and markings that make it fairly unique within the chameleon family.

Most Jeweled Chameleons vary in color from a pale green to a dark brown, with three well-defined lighter bands running along the length of the body. Along with the bands, these chameleons feature numerous light-colored spots across the body and, in some cases, a section of red spots on the head.

The successful hatching of Jeweled Chameleons is a rare event in captivity. Part of the reason for the rarity is the fact that the export of these chameleons from Madagascar is no longer permitted, so not many breeders have the opportunity of enjoying the company of a Jeweled Chameleon, let alone the chance to witness a successful birth. Additionally, the incubation period can reach around nine months, which is a long period of time for maintaining the ideal conditions required for the young to be born.

Status of Jeweled Chameleons in the Wild

At this time, the Jeweled Chameleon is considered vulnerable as a species based on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This is partially due to the fragmented nature of the population as well as the decline in the quality of their habitat. Much of the area where these chameleons are found naturally is subject to slash-and-burn agriculture, causing some habitat to be lost to the associated damage while the rest is lost to development.

Additionally, the population is still considered to be decreasing. This means it risk level could change in the future should the number of Jeweled Chameleons in the wild continue to decline.

With that in mind, we are honored to be able to bring information about this magnificent species to our visitors and hope you get a chance to appreciate one of the newest additions as shown in the video here.

 

 

http://reptile-database.reptarium.cz/species?genus=Furcifer&species=campani

http://www.arkive.org/jeweled-chameleon/furcifer-campani/

 

Naming Your Chameleon: Sci-Fi Edition

Every pet deserves a great name, and your chameleon is no exclusion. But what exactly makes a great chameleon name? Sure, you can choose a variety of standby options, but isn’t it better to have a little fun?

With that in mind, we present the first part in a chameleon naming series geared to those with specific interests. And, in this case, we are referring to science fiction.

While there are certain classic options included in this list, we have also added some that might not be as well known as others. If these specific names don’t meet your needs, we hope they inspire you to consider all of the options available to you when it comes to naming your chameleon. So, without any further ado, let’s get started.

Admiral Ackbar – Star Wars

Admiral Ackbar is a classic Star Wars character, most famously known for identifying the trap at the Battle of Endor (and the classic line of dialogue “It’s a trap!” that has made itself known across a wide range of popular media).

Aside from being a well-recognized character in the franchise, the character also has a look that shares some similarities to chameleons. His eyes provide a wide range of vision, and the character has no obvious external ears. He also has an appearance that resembles that of a reptile or amphibian species.

But the best reason to choose this as a name is really the fact that it’s fun to say Admiral Ackbar in serious tones.

Keenser – Star Trek

Now, it wouldn’t be appropriate to have Star Wars represented without also finding a suitable name from another great sci-fi franchise, Star Trek. And that is where Keenser comes in.

Keenser is the small alien best known for his connection to Montgomery Scott in the newest iterations of the Star Trek movies. His skin texture has a reptile-like appearance, and his eyes lack discernable irises. Additionally, his character lacks dialogue, meaning all of his emotions require reading his body language, not unlike dealing with a pet chameleon.

Ocheeva and Teinaava – Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

For those who are fans of the Elder Scrolls video game franchise, you may appreciate naming your chameleon after a well-known Argonian from the games. In this case, we settled on Ocheeva, a leader of the Dark Brotherhood in Oblivion, as well as her twin brother, Teinaava. These characters play notable roles for anyone who followed the Dark Brotherhood storyline within the game and, since the Argonian race is reptilian in nature, their names make excellent choices.

Greedo – Star Wars

Another Star Wars character that has reptilian characteristics is Greedo, the Rodian bounty hunter most known for his part in the infamous showdown with Han Solo that continues to prompt the debate of who shot first.

While Greedo’s eye placement, and the presence of discernable ears, don’t necessarily mirror a chameleons, the fact that the eyes don’t display traditional irises around pupils can be seen as a similarity. And, if your chameleon is one that happens to have a voracious appetite or is particular defensive regarding his or her personal space, the fact that “greed” is part of the name may make it even more ideal.

Honorable Mentions

Some other characters within the larger sci-fi universe worth mentioning include:

  • Dachande – Predator in Alien vs. Predator mythology that is best known for being the first Predator to face a xenomorph in unarmed combat and survive.
  • Jeriba and Zammis Shigan – aliens in the film Enemy Mine
  • Dr. Lazarus – fictional name of the sci-fi character played in Galaxy Quest by actor Alan Rickman

There are likely many more potential names from sci-fi to choose from, but hopefully, these options gave you some inspiration. Look for future installments in the “Naming Your Chameleon” series for inspiration taken from other areas of literature, television, film, and more.

Pets and Improved Mental Health: It’s Not Just for Cats and Dogs

It is fairly well-known that having a pet can provide significant mental health benefits. But, when we read the studies or see the news clips, the coverage mostly relates to owning cats or dogs, and not often more exotic pets like chameleons. However, owning any pet can be beneficial to your mental health. And that includes our unique chameleon friends.

So, how can owning a chameleon help your mental health? Let me count the ways!

1. Pets Soothe and Relax

Most studies show that pet owners have lower blood pressure and heart rates when dealing with challenging mental stresses. This could pertain to everyday situations like paying bills, helping children with their homework, or watching your favorite sports team getting knocked out of the playoffs. Just their presence can relax and soothe their owners, regardless of whether they are of the furry variety or not.

In fact, one piece of research demonstrated a connection between lower stress and simply watching a fish tank, even when the fish didn’t belong to the individual being observed. And, if you want to talk about a pet that can’t provide physical affection, then a fish is likely the epitome of that. Yet, their presence is enough to cause a positive reaction.

2. Pets Don’t Judge

Another benefit that applies to any pet, including chameleons, is that they don’t judge their owners. There is no negative feedback about the decisions you made, the clothes you wear, or the quality of your resume. And that means we can say anything in their presence without fear of ridicule or reprisal. In some cases, that is more than we can say of our closest friends, so it’s no wonder so many people cite feeling as close to their pets as some of their friends and family members.

3. Pets Give Us Purpose

Research on depression has shown that the responsibility of owning a pet is beneficial to mental health. We develop skills in caring for our animal brethren, and we know that we are being relied on for their care. By managing the tasks successfully, our self-esteem can improve. It also ensures that we maintain a particular schedule, as not getting out of bed and skipping a feeding, misting, or cleaning isn’t necessarily an option.

4. Chameleons Help Fill a Gap

Therapy animals have been on the mental health scene for some time. But that doesn’t mean everyone wants to own a traditional fuzzy creature like a cat or dog. In fact, someone suffering from serious allergies to cats or dogs may actually find their mental state worse with this form of animal companion and not better. And that’s where some of the more exotic choices come in.

Chameleons, snacks, toads, and other reptiles and amphibians give options to those who aren’t as enthusiastic about owning a furry friend. And that means those individuals can get the companionship they need to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression in the same way that many others do.

And that, my friend, is a beautiful thing.

http://usherp.org/tag/therapy-reptiles/

https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/health-benefits/index.html

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/05/19/6-ways-pets-relieve-depression/

How to Introduce a Child to Your Chameleon

Whether you have your own children or have friends or family members with kids, introducing a child to your chameleon for the first time can be a stressful experience for everyone involved (including your chameleon!).

It’s only natural that children would be curious about your chameleon, as they are truly fascinating creatures. But young kids don’t always understand that how they treat their dog or cat and how you handle a chameleon is different.

To help you make the introductions a pleasant experience for all parties, here are some tips to manage their first hello.

Step One: Make No Promises

You know that chameleons are not always the most fond of being handled, and are generally not considered to be physically affectionate at all. However, kids who aren’t familiar with reptiles might not realize this fact.

If a child asks if they can touch (hold or carry or hug) you chameleon, your first step is to make no promises. Whether any physical contact will be possible depends on how your chameleon reacts as the introduction moves forward. Obviously, if you chameleon exhibits signs of stress while within the safety of their habitat, it isn’t wise to push your luck. Chameleons may bite when scared or threatened, so it isn’t a good idea to rush contact if your chameleon doesn’t seem game.

Step Two: A Sight-Only Introduction

The first step to introducing a child to your chameleon needs to involve the eyes only. Allow them to observe each other while your chameleon stays in his or her enclosure. Make sure that the kid keeps their hands away from the habitat, avoids quick movements, and that they maintain a reasonable volume.

This step helps you gauge your chameleon’s response to a new person in your space. It also lets you see how the child will react as they get closer.

Some kids will have issues containing their excitement, which may cause them to move unexpected or exclaim their enthusiasm. Since children can be as unpredictable as your chameleon when exposed to something new, it is better to take the slow and steady approach.

Step Three: A Chance to Touch

If your chameleon is keeping a fairly calm demeanor, then it might be possible for the child to touch the chameleon, but only if you can safely remove your chameleon from the enclosure. Use whatever handling technique traditionally works best, and make sure the child stays back a bit while you see if your chameleon is up for some handling.

Once (or if) your chameleon is safely removed, continue keeping things slow. It will help kids keep themselves calm if you keep your level of energy down. Monitor your chameleon’s reaction as you bring them closer, and make sure to reverse course if signs of stress appear.

If everything continues favorably, then you can invite the child to gently touch your chameleon. Make sure they keep the pressure light, and that their hand is clearly within the chameleon’s view as they move forward. Additionally, have the kid keep their motions slow to avoid starting your chameleon along the way.

Once a short contact has been made, you can determine whether any additional handling is an option. Stay with them both to make sure everything remains calm and peaceful. After a few minutes, even if things still seem to be going well, feel free to bring your chameleon back to the enclosure.

With any luck, by taking things slow and steady, you’ll have a successful introduction. Just remember, you have a duty to your chameleon as well as the child during this meet and greet. Ultimately, the most important part is to keep everyone involved safe and secure and, if that means cutting an introduction short, then that’s for the best.

 

 

http://www.muchadoaboutchameleons.com/2012/04/to-handle-or-not-to-handle.html

http://www.reptilesmagazine.com/Lizard-Care/Handling-Chameleons/

http://thereptilereport.com/how-to-handle-a-chameleon/

Oh, You Shouldn’t Have: Reasons to Think Twice Before Giving a Pet as a Gift

With the holiday season in full swing, you may be running out of steam when it comes to gift ideas. Then, you remember that friend or family member that expressed so much interested in your chameleon and you wonder, “Should I give them a chameleon as a gift?”

While the idea of giving someone a chameleon (or any pet) as a gift initially seems like an awesome idea, it is better to think twice before going forward. To help you determine if giving a pet as a gift is a good idea, consider these points first.

Do They Want a Pet?

The first step before giving a pet as a gift is determining if the recipient even wants one in the first place. Just because a person admires and enjoys your pet doesn’t mean they want one in their own home. Some people aren’t in the best place for bringing an animal into their lives, while others may have no interest in actually owning a pet at all. You don’t want to give a pet to a person that doesn’t actually want one, as that can be unfair to both the recipient and the animal for which they will soon have to care.

Are They Allowed to Have a Pet?

Rules about pets in rental properties can be very strict. Some types of pets will be banned outright, while others must meet certain restrictions. Sometimes, the information is covered clearly in a person’s lease, especially when it comes to common pets like cats and dogs. However, more exotic pets, including chameleons, may not be covered as explicitly. That means a call to the landlord may be in order. Since it would be inappropriate for you to take this on yourself, it is better not to surprise any renter with an unexpected pet.

Can They Afford the Costs?

A pet costs more than its purchase price. You may need to get a suitable habitat, and you will definitely need to pay for food and other basic necessities. While relieving someone of the cost associated with buying a pet can be helpful, the gift essentially saddles the person with a long-term financial obligation. If you don’t know for a fact that this is a burden they will happily take on, then bypass this gift idea, at least for the time being.

Do They Have the Time?

Even if they want a pet and are allowed to have one, that doesn’t mean the timing is right. If someone travels a lot for work, having a pet at home may not be practical. Even though some pets, like chameleons, don’t require a lot of interaction, that doesn’t mean it should be left unattended long-term. This is particularly the case if the local climate doesn’t resemble the chameleon’s natural climate, as greater care is required to ensure the environment meets their needs.

Similarly, if the recipient may be moving soon, giving them a pet may make that process more complicated. This is especially true for anyone who may move to a state or country where exotic pets aren’t allowed or people who may find themselves in a college dorm soon.

Did You Check with Them (or Their Parents) First?

Before giving a pet as a gift, it is better to get permission than to hope it will work out. For adult recipients, consider asking them directly. While you may think it spoils the surprise, they will be elated if the gift is the right choice for them and their life now, and may be relieved that you didn’t surprise them with a pet if it isn’t a good time.

When it comes to giving pets as gifts to children, always check with the parents before going forward. While a child may promise to manage all of the associated care, unless they have their own source of money, at least some of the support will be coming from another member of the household. You want to make sure that they are onboard with the idea before even suggesting it to the child.

The Decision

If everything reviewed above checks out, then giving a pet as a gift might be the right choice. However, if there is any hesitation, it is better to go with plan B. A pet is a huge responsibility, and it shouldn’t be given to another person lightly. When in doubt, consider giving a book about the care of their ideal pet, or a gift certificate that can be used to help them prepare for bringing a pet into their lives. This is an area where it is better to be safe than sorry.

 

 

 

http://www.petguide.com/tips-advice/dog/why-you-shouldnt-give-pets-as-gifts-this-christmas/

http://www.bhg.com/pets/adoption/the-best-gift-you-can-give-waiting-to-adopt-until-after-the-holidays/

https://www.paws.org/get-involved/take-action/explore-the-issues/pets-as-gifts/

 

No Place Like Home | Creating Your Chameleon Habitat Part 4

This is part four of a multipart series about creating an ideal habitat for your chameleon. The previous parts covered choosing an enclosure, selecting a room for the habitat to reside, and the addition of plants.

In this section, we will provide an overview of lighting needs (for more complete information, see the Let There Be Light post) as well as watering and misting systems. Additionally, appropriate climate control monitoring equipment is explored to make sure the environment is comfortable for your chameleon.

Lightingchameleon-1240928

To ensure the health of your chameleon, certain lighting must be included in the enclosure. Aside from having enough light in the space to simulate the changes between night and day, your chameleon’s enclosure will likely need a UVB light and a basking bulb.

Chameleons, like people, need vitamin D. The easiest way to meet this need is through contact with UVB light. While UVB light naturally occurs in sunlight, having an enclosure indoors may limit the amount that the chameleon actually receives. By including a UVB light that is focused on the enclosure, you can make up for what is not present in the space.

Your chameleon needs approximately 10 to 12 hours of exposure to UVB on a daily basis. Often, the easiest way to meet the time requirement is to have the light on during the day and simply turn it off at night. If you want to make the process easier, you can event set the light on a timer, so that it automatically turns on and off at the correct intervals even when you are not home.

Basking bulbs provide an additional heat source in the enclosure. While you should ensure your room is kept at an appropriate temperature at all times, the basking bulb gives your chameleon an extra warm spot to help regulate their overall body temperature. In contrast to the UVB light, which should cover the vast majority of the space, a basking bulb only needs to heat a specific area.

As with the UVB bulb, basking bulbs should also be turned off at night. This allows your chameleon to feel the extra warmth traditionally experienced during the day time, while also simulating the cooler nights they would have in the wild.

Watering and Misting

If your enclosure includes live plants, then you will need to make sure and meet their watering needs. Each type of plant may have different requirements, but care instructions are often included when the plant is purchased. You can choose to hand-water plant soil as needed, or check into automated watering systems.

Misting systems benefit your chameleon directly. Unlike many animals that drink from water bottles or dishes, chameleons get their water off of the environment. In the case of enclosures, this often refers to droplets collected on plants and surfaces as the result of misting the space. Not only is this required for needed humidity, but it also provides a necessary source of fluids for your chameleon.

You can mist an enclosure by hand using a suitable spray bottle, but investing in an automated misting system may be wise. This ensures that all of the misting needs are met whether you are home to manage the task or not. You can set the misting system to spray at specific intervals, creating a routine upon which the chameleon can rely.

Climate Controls

It is critical to check the temperature and humidity levels on a regular basis to ensure all of these needs are being met. This means you will need to invest in a thermometer to watch the temperature, and a hygrometer to monitor humidity.

thermometer-428339While most home heating and air conditioning systems have thermostats, you still need to check the conditions within the enclosure itself. This helps you compensate for variances based on the enclosures exact locations within the home. For example, a habitat near a window with direct sunlight might actually get warmer than the temperature set on a thermostat. Investing in a high-quality thermometer specifically for the enclosure ensures your chameleon’s precise needs are being met at all times.

Once your lighting, watering and misting, and climate control systems are in place, you have all of the components required for a suitable chameleon enclosure. Research the specific needs of your chameleon’s breed to ensure the environment is kept in a way that meets those standards. Monitor the status of the habitat on a regular basis, especially when there is a significant or seasonal change in your home area. Then, you can simply enjoy your chameleon knowing that everything is set how it should be.

 

 

http://www.reptilesmagazine.com/Reptile-Health/Habitats-Care/Create-a-Habitat-for-your-Chameleon/

http://www.muchadoaboutchameleons.com/2012/04/how-to-set-up-proper-chameleon.html

No Place Like Home | Creating Your Chameleon Habitat Part 3

This is part three of a multipart series about creating an ideal habitat for your chameleon. The previous parts covered choosing an enclosure and selecting a room for the habitat to reside. This section is going to review how to “decorate” the space with branches, vines, and plants based on your chameleon’s needs.

Can You Take Me Higher

animals-1098679The majority of chameleons are arboreal; they feel safest when they are up high amongst the tree branches. That is why chameleon enclosures focus on height over width, and why you need to give them branches upon which to climb.

When it comes to climbing surfaces, you generally have two choices. You can go with real branches or vines and live plants, or their manufactured counterparts. Which method is best for you can depend on a number of factors which we will explore below.

The Genuine Article

If you want to help your chameleon feel at home in their enclosure, then having real branches and plants is a great way to go. Often, you can find suitable branch sections from a nearby tree, or at a suitably equipped pet store. Make sure the branches have a suitable amount of width, as tiny twigs won’t provide the support or gripping surface needed for your chameleon to climb, especially once they are full grown.

Branches

Before placing a new branch (that you find yourself) into the enclosure, thoroughly clean and sanitize the surface. You want to remove and dirt and debris, as well as loose bark on the surface. Additionally, you want only to include branches from trees or shrubs that are known to be NON-TOXIC. That means you may need to do some research before grabbing just any stick off the ground.

Once cleaned, you can cut the branch to a suitable size. In some cases, you can simply wedge them in place. At others, you may want to secure them to the enclosure with appropriate hardware. If you use hardware (like screws), make sure that they are not accessible to the chameleon. You wouldn’t like stepping on a nail sticking out of the floor, and your chameleon likely feels the same way.

If you choose to purchase branches from a reputable supplier, they will often be sanitized and scrubbed before you receive them. Some places will even cut the branches to length for you, saving you the trouble (especially if you don’t own suitable tools).

Vines

Vines provide additional climbing surfaces but are more flexible. This means you have more options in how they are placed. Finding suitable vines in your local environment may prove challenging, but long, flexible branches can also do the trick. As with the branches, cleaning and sanitizing are important, as well as confirming the vine material is non-toxic. For example, grape ivy may be a suitable choice, as well as flexible branches from a willow tree.

Plants

chameleon-384964When possible, using live plants is the way to go. Not only do they provide your chameleon with the shade and camouflage they may crave, but they can help hold humidity in the enclosure. They are also great for the air, especially when dealing with small spaces.

There are many suitable plants for use in chameleon enclosures. Some of the most popular choices include Ficus Benjamina, Umbrella Tree, and Pothos Plants. These may even be available at your local hardware or home improvement store, depending on your location and the current season.

When choosing plants, you want to make sure they are free of pesticides and fertilizers. You may have to repot the plants in a new planter with organic soil, and the exposed surfaces will need to be properly cleaned and sanitized. Often, this can be done with a clean bucket full of water that has a squirt of anti-bacterial soap mixed in.

Place the plant into the water “head down” without putting the roots in the solution. Swish the plant to make sure the solution reaches all of the surfaces, and leave it to sit for around five minutes. Then, thoroughly rinse the plant with clean water. Repeat the processes AT LEAST two more times before repotting the plant.

A Suitable Facsimile

Sometimes, managing live plants is overly complicated. For those occasions, fake plants can work as a suitable substitute. When choosing fake plants, make sure you pay attention to the quality. Often, it is unwise to simply grab some from your local craft store, as these were not designed for the rigors of having your chameleon walking all over them.

If you do want to work with fake plants, consider options designed specifically for reptile enclosures, and purchase only from reputable dealers.

Coming Soon!

This is part 3 in a multipart series focused on creating an ideal environment for your chameleon. Come back for additional advice to help you build your chameleon’s perfect home.

 

http://www.muchadoaboutchameleons.com/2012/04/how-to-set-up-proper-chameleon.html

http://www.reptilesmagazine.com/Reptile-Health/Habitats-Care/Create-a-Habitat-for-your-Chameleon/

http://www.chameleonsonly.com/index.php?p=page&page_id=Plants/Branches

http://www.tikitikireptiles.com/pages.php?id=8

 

No Place Like Home | Creating Your Chameleon Habitat Part 2

chameleon-63148This is part two of a multipart series about creating an ideal habitat for your chameleon. Part one focused on selecting the proper type of enclosure based on your local climate and chameleon’s need. This section is going to review where to place your enclosure once you have it purchased.

Choose a Room

Your first decision regarding the placement of your enclosure is the room in which it will be setup. While many people would initially think a common living area is the best option, it is not always the case.

First, you need to understand that chameleons can become agitated by their environment. Rooms on the main floor that are either high traffic or that allow outside noise to carry into the space can cause your chameleon to feel nervous or threatened. Repeated disturbances make it difficult for your chameleon to settle, and the constant stress can have a negative impact on his or her health.

If you have a multistory home, then selecting a low traffic room on the upper floor is ideal. Not only does the increased height help your chameleon feel more secure (this is based on the location of a window, which we will explore later in this piece), it likely has these auditory or visual disturbances. This means your chameleon is less likely to experience unnecessary anxiety based solely on the environment.

Second, you need to make sure the temperature in the space is well controlled. Chameleons are highly sensitive to temperature, and you need to make sure the room can provide the temperature range your chameleon needs to thrive.

Keep it Up

The base of your chameleon enclosure should not be on the floor. If you purchase a glass or screen habitat that does not come with a set of legs to raise it off the floor, then you will need to put the cage on a table to lift it off the ground. Make sure the table is broad enough to support the weight of the enclosure and provide reasonable stability based on the fact that the chameleon will move throughout the space and may cause the weight within the enclosure to shift slightly while doing so.

Find a Window

lobby-797961Just as you wouldn’t like to stare at the same four walls all day, every day, for the rest of your life, your chameleon wouldn’t like it either. To help create a more engaging environment, it is best to pick a room with a window. This also gives your chameleon the opportunity to experience sunlight on a regular basis.

East-facing windows receive the morning sun which can provide a gentler warmth, while west-facing windows will brighten up in the afternoon but often get warmer. Depending on which option you choose, you need to make sure the temperature needs of your chameleon are met throughout the day. Getting too hot or too cold is not a great way to live, so take care to monitor temperature changes so you can provide him or her with the extra warmth or shade your chameleon may require.

If you live in North America, south-facing windows actually get the most sunlight throughout the day. However, on hot summer days, it may make the temperature in the space uncomfortably high. You will need to take extra care to ensure your chameleon can escape from the heat of the sun when required to make a south-facing window work.

Coming Soon!

This is part 2 in a multipart series focused on creating an ideal environment for your chameleon. Come back for additional advice to help you build your chameleon’s perfect home.

 

http://www.reptilesmagazine.com/Reptile-Health/Habitats-Care/Create-a-Habitat-for-your-Chameleon/

http://www.muchadoaboutchameleons.com/2012/04/how-to-set-up-proper-chameleon.html