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

 

Furcifer Campani – Jeweled Chameleon – Day 52

Today is day 52 and the little Furcifer campani continues to be doing well. She isn’t growing by leaps and bounds but I feel she has a steady growth rate. I would compare her current size to that of a newly hatch Furcifer lateralis. I continue to say her, but I don’t have any form of reference so it is difficult to tell for sure. Her tail base is increasing in size yet I don’t see any form of a bulge developing to date.

As for colors and patters, I’m beginning to notice a change when she is on the move and most certainly when she is hunting verse while at rest. Her normal basking/resting colors consist of a lime green body with white stripes outlined by deep oranges. Her spot colors vary but they are still visible while resting, just not as pronounced. Here are a few examples of her current resting colors.

Furcifer Campani Hatchling Canvas Chameleons (1)Furcifer Campani Hatchling Canvas Chameleons (2) Furcifer Campani Hatchling Canvas Chameleons (10) Furcifer Campani Hatchling Canvas Chameleons (9) Furcifer Campani Hatchling Canvas Chameleons (8)

Upcoming Ambilobe Babies

We are expecting Bolt’s first clutch to begin hatching very soon! Bolts colors are out of this world and we are beyond excited to see how amazing his offspring will look.

Bolt joined us here last year directly from Madagascar and he has been lighting up our world ever since. Just look at those lightning yellows!!!

Bolt - Ambilobe Panther Chameleon - Canvas Chameleons (2) Bolt - Ambilobe Panther Chameleon - Canvas Chameleons (1) Bolt - Ambilobe Panther Chameleon - Canvas Chameleons (3)