FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions 

General Information

No species of chameleon is considered being friendly verse another species. Each chameleon has their own personalities and moods which can change from day to day and over the span of their lifetime. Some chameleons will tolerate being handle more than others but it is specific to that individual chameleon.

In general, we find most of our chameleons will go through a phase we call their teenage months. They will learn that they can defend themselves and see you as something that could hurt them. It requires a lot of love and patience during these months to work with your chameleon and develop a trust over time. In the end, all the hard work can develop a very rewarding relationship between you and your chameleon.

There is no guarantee that a chameleon will become friendly, it is up to your chameleon and their personality. Holding them while younger does not ensure they will be friendly but we do recommend handling them as they are growing up to have the best chance of them becoming friendly. Another great exercise to win their hearts over is hand feeding. We find the key to gaining their trust can be achieved through their feeders.

However each chameleon is different and no two are the same so some will take to being handled better than others. There are some chameleons that refuse to be handled.

It is a long standing myth that a chameleon will change its colors to match a background. In reality, chameleons will change their colors in order to express their moods as well as regulate their body temperatures. They have a set limit of colors that they can achieve depending on the particular species of chameleon.

When a chameleon is stressed or scared their coloration tend to become much darker and in some cases even black. Their brightest colors are usually only displayed when in the presence of another male or female to express aggression or courtship.

They will change from lighter to darker colors to regulate the amount of heat/sunlight they wish to receive. While sleeping, chameleon will generally become much lighter in color and almost glow in the night.

Chameleons do not have external ears like most animals but they do contain internal ear structures similar to other reptiles. Therefore, they can’t hear noise as humans would but they can pick up vibrations.

Two priceless investments we highly recommend are a timer for your light as well as a misting system. These can give you the peace of mind that your chameleon will have both light and water without having to plan your schedule around them.

If you are going to be away for a day, your chameleon will be fine without being fed. We recommend giving them a few extra feeders the day prior to keep them full as well as upon our return.

If you will be away for longer than a day, we recommend you have a close friend or family member chameleon sit. Throwing 7 days of crickets into the cage and filling up a dripper all the way to the top does not count. You will need someone to stop by in order to feed them and make sure everything is ok.

It is a long standing myth that a chameleon will change its colors to match a background. In reality, chameleons will change their colors in order to express their moods as well as regulate their body temperatures. They have a set limit of colors that they can achieve depending on the particular species of chameleon.

When a chameleon is stressed or scared their coloration tend to become much darker and in some cases even black. Their brightest colors are usually only displayed when in the presence of another male or female to express aggression or courtship.

They will change from lighter to darker colors to regulate the amount of heat/sunlight they wish to receive. While sleeping, chameleon will generally become much lighter in color and almost glow in the night.

Health and Illness

Metabolic Bone Disease is unfortunately a common disease in chameleons due to lack of dietary calcium, imbalanced nutrition and/or lack of UVB rays. Just one of these things can cause serious disease even if the other aspects are all present. UVB rays are needed in reptiles to produce Vitamin D3 in the skin, which is necessary to absorb calcium from the food. Without UVB rays from either unfiltered sunlight or a UVB producing bulb then your chameleon cannot absorb the calcium you are giving it.

Signs of MBD include stunted growth, bent legs bones, fractured bones, grabbing at its own legs, tongue not shooting as far, a soft jaw, and mouth doesn’t close all the way.
Damage from MBD cannot be reversed completely but the process can be stopped and the bones can heal if proper UVB is supplied and the imbalance of dietary calcium is addressed. It is extremely important to address MBD as soon as symptoms are noticed. 

The color red means it is some type of internal organ that has prolapsed. A prolapse is a medical emergency and needs to be addressed asap. If the tissue dies or dries out it is very susceptible to infection that can then spread to the rest of the body. If the tissue dies then your chameleon will not survive, as there is no way to fix that.

If this would ever happen to your chameleon, keep it clean with warm water and moist with ky jelly to keep the tissue alive and get your chameleon to a vet with reptile experience immediately.

Chameleons have slad glands near their nose in order to release excess salt from their diet or water source. This can cause a white crusty build up around the nose which is completely harmless to your chameleon. You may gently rub this building with a mosit Q-tip in order to remove it.

A common myth is that this building up is extra calcium which is not the case

No, we do not recommend helping your chameleon remove their shed. Attempting to remove skin that is not ready to fall off naturally could cause a lot of pain and even damage the new skin below. If you wish to help, increasing the humidity or misting during the day will help the skin shed easier.

Lighting

Natural sunlight is by far the best lighting for all living creatures. However, in captivity this might not always be a viable option so we recommend using a full spectrum lighting environment that mimics naturally occurring sunlight. This can be accomplished with a lighting double bulb lighting fixture. A T5 high output double light fixture equipped with one 6.5k daylight bulb and one 6% UVB Arcadia bulb will provide one of the best lighting environments you chameleon can have while in doors.

There is no one answer for this question. The correct UVB bulb is based off many factors surrounding your chameleon and your chameleon’s cage. We recommend a double T5 lighting fixture with one 6% Arcadia UVB and one 6.5k Daylight bulb to achieve the correct amount of UVB for our panther chameleons with our cages and complete setups.

If you are concerned about your lighting or wish to have us suggest a UVB bulb for your cage please contact us directly.

Unfortunately no. Windows today are constructed with multiple layers of glass and contain different gases between the layers which filter out almost 100% of the natural sunlight’s UVB rays. Therefore, a UVB light is always required.

The lifespan on a T5 Arcadia bulb is 12 months. Even though the bulb itself may work for many years, the amount of UVB it is producing diminishes over time and must be replaces every 12 months.

Yes. Chameleons will regulate the amount of UV they are getting as well as the amount of heat. Therefore, you do not want to force them to basking in both at the same time if all they want to do is warm up.

We recommend just a regular basking bulb. The required wattage depends on your ambient temperatures so you will have to adjust your wattage to achieve the correct basking temperature. For the vast majority, a 50 or 60 wattage bulb works perfect.

Mother nature answers this question. In general you want to have your lights on a 12 hour on and a 12 hour off cycle. However, we adjust our lighting with the season and attempt to lengthen and shorten to amount they are on to better match the natural sun rise and sun set. We set the upper limit at 13 to 13.5 hours and the lower limit at 11 to 10.5 hours.

Chameleons require completely darkness at night in order to sleep peacefully. They can be irritated by any light while sleeping including red and blue lights so be sure to give them complete darkness.

You must always keep your lights outside of the cage. There will never be a situation where the lighting can be placed inside their cage. Chameleons do not sense heat as humans and other animals do. They will get as close to the light as possible without understanding they are being burned. If possible a chameleon will rest themselves again a light bulb to increase their body temperature so it is extremely important to always keep your lights outside of the cage.

Some plants will grow with just a basin UVB bulb and basking bulb setup but most require full spectrum lighting. To achieve this a 6.5k daylight bulb or grow bulb is required. This is another reason we use and highly recommend a double fixture containing one UVB bulb and one 6.5k Daylight bulb for your enclosure.

Nutrition

Some excellent feeder insects include crickets, silkworms, hornworms, dubia roach, and superworms. Other feeders such as butterworms, waxworms and mealworms are high in fat and harder to digest so they should only be fed a treats and not as a main source of food. Please note that stinkbugs and fireflies should never be fed to your chameleon.

Gut loading is the process of providing your feeder insects with the correct balance of nutritious food and vitamins. The feeders insects must have the proper diet in order to keep your chameleon healthy as inadequate diet can lease to severe health problems.

We use Resphasy “Bug Burger” to gutload our feeder insects. It is packed full with all the valuable nutrition your feeders need to survive and to give to your chameleon. It also acts as both a food and a water source for your feeders so there is no need to supply them with dry food and water anymore

Dusting is the process of coating your feeder insects with powered calcium and vitamin supplements.  Chameleons in captivity are not offered the wide range of insects they would encounter in the wild so dusting your feeders with the proper supplements is imperative to your chameleons health.

We use Resphasy Calcium Plus “All in One” on every feeding!  We see amazing results with this method.

We found the easiest way to dust your feeders is in a cup with a small amount of powered in the bottom. Just place your feeders in the cup and swirl the cup around a few times until everyone is lightly dusted.

We feed our chameleons in for morning shortly after lights come on. This give them plenty of time through the day to hunt down their food and eat as well as be able to digest their food during the day where temperatures in the cage remain higher.

Age: 3-6 months, 12-15 small crickets a day

 

Age: 6-12 months 10-12 medium crickets a day

 

Age: >12 months 8-10 large crickets every other day

 

These are only guidelines for feeding. When they are younger and growing up fast, they may be eating more than 15 crickets a day. Feel free to give them as much food as they will eat in a day.

Feeding is cut back on adult males once they reach over 12 months in age. By feeding every other day this will help prevent them from being overweight. Same goes for females unless they are actively breeding in which case their diet is not reduced.

Caging

Unfortunately the answer is one.

Chameleons are solitary creatures and in the wild can easily leave the area if another chameleon is present or fight to defend their spot. In captivity they are easily stressed by another chameleon being in the same enclosure without a form of escape. This can lead to fighting and one chameleon becoming more dominant over the other. The signs of this happening can be obvious or sometimes very subtle and you may not notice a problem until one chameleon has become ill or even passes.

Pygmys are the only exception to this rule here as they can easily tolerate living in small groups provided ample room is available for everyone.

Breeding and Egg Laying

Yes Chameleons can produce infertile eggs without even seeing a male. Some females may not ever develop eggs but the majority of them will during their life time. This is why providing a laying bin for your female chameleon is extremely important once they have reach the age of 6 months old.

Here are some excellent resources in order to help you setup your laying bin. Laying Information  |  Laying Bin Video

We do not recommend breeding a female until she is at least one year old and is of a healthy weight. Breeding at too young of age or too small in size can greatly reduce their life span and even cause serious health issues or death.