HELLO! I had to make a care sheet for a grade in my business ethics class, don't ask me why. But who woulda guessed I chose chameleons! The care sheet is meant to be read by younger kids, such as 3rd graders. It's kind of hard to make it simple sounding to take care of a chameleon, so my project is like 4,000 times bigger than everyone else's. Tell me if I need anything corrected, or if you guys think I'm forgetting anything very important to tell them, I know I might have forgotten a few little things CHAMELEON C A R E R E P O R T! Chameleons are a little different than most reptiles that people decide to own. They are called arboreal reptiles which means they don’t live on the ground. Before you buy your chameleon, you must realize all the responsibilities that come with one. CHARACTERISTICS OF C H A M E L E O N S Let’s start off with the basics. Chameleons area type of reptile. They lay eggs instead of having live babies like us. But there are a few exceptions to that rule. Reptiles have dry scales instead of fur, and are cold blooded. Chameleons are very smart reptiles, and have very useful traits that come with their body that other animals don’t have. There are many types of chameleons, all with very unique colors and qualities, but all share some traits that a lot of other reptiles don’t have. Chameleons have five fingers on each hand, but are shaped in a way that looks like tongs, or how it looks when you make a puppet with your hand. They are made like this so they can easily grab branches and hold on tight. The most famous characteristic of the chameleon is of course—their tongue. Their tongue acts as if it’s a big strip of tape, it’s very sticky and will stick so their prey can’t escape. Believe it or not, their tongue is AT LEAST the same length of the chameleon’s body, usually doubled! The last of their unique features are their eyes. This is the most distinctive characteristic that a chameleon has. Their eyes can move in different directions, at a 360 degree angle, which means, they can look ANYWHERE around them! When a chameleon isn’t focusing, it does not have good depth perception, so it might fall off a ledge or two if it’s walking in a straight path. But when they find a prey, or see a predator, their eyes will both focus sharp on it, giving it awesome depth perception. Chameleons also can see in color, and lack an outer ear! F E E D I N G FOR CHAMELEONS Chameleons are Insectivores which means, they eat insects. There are a few steps of feeding your chameleon that you have to go through that most reptiles you don’t. Chameleons eat many different types of insects, and it is suggested to give them a variety of different feeders. The most popular feeder is crickets, but that is not limited to dubia roaches, superworms, and waxworms. Chameleons need a bunch of different types of vitamins and supplements that you put on the feeders. If you don’t properly supplement your chameleon, it could possibly end up with bone disorders such as MBD (metabolic bone disease). You will need 3 major supplements and you need to create a supplement schedule. Vitamin D3 should be given two times a month, as well as Reptivite. The main supplement is reptile calcium without D3, and it should be given every other feeding. If you are squirmy around insects, then unfortunately, a chameleon would not be your best bet for a pet. You must also gutload your insects with vitamin-rich foods, such as collard greens, carrots, squash, and sweet potato. This way your feeders eat the nutrients, and they are passed on to your chameleon! You should spray your chameleon its cage with luke-warm water every few hours, to keep the humidity up. Your chameleon also might drink off the leaves. You will need some sort of water dripping system for the chameleon to get its main source of water. H A N D L I N G YOUR CHAMELEON Chameleons aren’t much of a pet you are supposed to hold a lot. They’re kind of like land-goldfish, which means in other words, a “look, don’t touch” type of pet. They aren’t a domesticated animal, they are used to living out in the wild, and when you get close to them, or hold them too much, it will stress them out. To them, you look like a monster that wants to eat them! You really only need to take them out to feed them, that is if you don’t free range your feeders in their cage. Also when you clean out their reptarium, you will need to take it out. If something and happens to your chameleon, and it needs to have a check up at the veterinarian, your best bet is to put him in a dark cardboard box with damp paper towels in it. This way it will go to sleep and be stress-free for your car ride. If while you’re holding your chameleon, he shows dark colors or starts puffing up his chest, that means he feels threatened by you, and you should put it down. H O U S I N G YOUR CHAMELEON Housing your chameleon is a very fun and unique experience, but also very time consuming and has many responsibilities. Chameleons are different than other reptiles. Instead of a glass aquarium like you might have had for your iguana or gecko, you need something called a reptarium. A reptarium is a cage made completely or almost completely out of some sort of screening. Like we discussed before, chameleons are arboreal, or tree dwelling, so they need a cage that they can climb around in. They also need a good air circulation, so the mesh or screen is ideal for a chameleon. All chameleon species are different but all need a plant in their cage to keep good humidity, to sleep in, and to climb on. Safe plants and popular to use for chameleon cages are ficus, pothos, or schleffera aboricola. Heating varies between age for chameleon, but you need a household light bulb for heat. When a chameleon is young, the heat lamp should go no higher than 85 degrees, when they’re older, 90 degrees is ideal. There is no need for any night time red bulbs that pet stores will try to sell you. Chameleons need pure darkness to sleep at night. The most important part of housing a chameleon is definitely the UVB tube. A UVB tube is kind of like the bulb you see above fish tanks, the blue one, except this bulb emits false sun rays and vitamin D3. A chameleon needs sunlight, if they don’t receive the correct amount, they will form a very severe disease called MBD. Metabolic bone disease is a disease that chameleons and other reptiles get when they don’t get enough of vitamin D3. It deforms their bones and makes them very frail and easily broken. Eventually it will end up in death of your chameleon. The linear UVB tube is the best kind of UVB to get because the coiled bulb has resulted in blindness to chameleons. Repti-sun is a well known brand that works very well. It must be replaced every 6 months. You will also need a digital thermometer or a heat gun to measure the cages temperatures, a hygrometer, which is a humidity measurer (humidity should be from 40-70%), a spray bottle to spray your chameleon every couple hours, and some sort of water drip, since chameleons do NOT drink still water. The easiest way to do this is get a Styrofoam cup and use a pin to poke a hole in it, and put water in the cup on top of the cage, above the plant, so the water that the chameleon doesn’t drink drips into the plant. You will also need bendable vines for the chameleon to climb around on!