Baby Yemen Cham- Advice Needed please

Gary_B

New Member
I have some Yemen Chameleon related queries if you could please help. I've researched a fair amount on the internet and in books but some answers still seem to be eluding me.

I've got a very young male Yemen Chameleon (who my partner affectionatley named 'Bud')who I bought from a reptile shop this weekend gone. I was told that he was around two weeks old, but I'm not sure about this. He is 2-3 inches in length and I am keeping him in a mesh lidded Exo Terra vivarium that was reccomended to me by the pet shop. I cannot remember the height of the viv, but I know its 18"w by 18"d and the height is more than this.

The vivarium is decorated by two silk hanging plants, one under the heat lamp and one at the 'cool end' and these plants are linked with a plastic leaved vine- a sort of walkway for him. There is a heat mat attached to the 'warm' side of the tank and the whole thing is regulated by a thermostat. There is also a 5.0 UV tube light and a foam rockery 'backdrop' that came with the viv that has been cut down so that there are no ways he can reach any of the lights. The substrate is tree bark- the chips are far too big for him to swallow.

I would appreciate if any of you could answer some of these questions;

1) The primary worry is feeding him. The pet shop game me some tiny crickets (which are smaller than his head)to feed him and reccomended that I give him 2-3 (dusted) a day and to remove the ones that he doesn't eat. The problem is that the viv is fairly large and the crickets are so small. They also tend to hide. Im worried that he won't be getting the food he needs, and its very difficult to 'police' what he eats. I have seen him eat when I offered him a tiny bowl with some dusted (legless) crickets in it, and he ate 2. He also attempted to eat from my fingers, but his tongue only knocked the crix leg off and sent it flying! Other times I offer him stuff by hand/bowl and he just ignores it- or sometimes even runs away from it!

I've suction cupped the bowl to the 'warm' side of the viv with some dusted legless crickets in it and later checks have found crickets missing, but I've never seen 'Bud' near the bowl and they could have easily just escaped somehow. They also die very quickly (probably because of the heat and humidity.) Im not sure what to do next! I've ordered some small locust in the hope that they may prove an easier prey.

2)I bought one of those water drippers but I am not sure how often to let it 'drip' each day? I have seen him lapping the droplets it creates. I also mist the viv in the morning and in the evening.

3) Do chamelions 'sleep?' It may sound a silly question but when the heat light automatically switches off in the evening Bud usually goes to the same spot (a bit of hanging vine in the middle of the viv) grips on, curls up his tail and closes his eyes. He remains amazingly still in this pose to the extent that I thought he was dead at first. Even when I touched him I got no response- and it was only when I turned the heat light on again that he opened one eye in mild annoyance as if to say 'do you mind??'

4) I hear that Yemen Chamelions are also known as 'veiled' chamelions but the pictures in the books I read show a chamelion with a large 'helmet' on their heads- but Bud doesn't have this helmet. Is this something that will develop as he grows or is there a chance that he could be some other breed?

5)I wanted to ask about colour changes. With Yemen Chamelions is it emotional or to blend in? Bud tends to turn a pinky colour with red flecks when he goes under the heat lamp and sometimes he gets a dirty 'patch' on his face that comes and goes. He also goes a very pale green when he sleeps and a darker green when he's disturbed (usually by a 'scary' cricket!) I've even seem him go a browny colour when climbing the brown foam 'cliff face' at the back of the the viv

5) What about handling the chamelion. I've read conflicting sources. Some sites say you mustn't handle them at all and one book I read said it's best to handle them when regularly to tame them. Id like to hear opionion on this.

6) What foods can I and should I feed him?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Gary B
 

Brad

Administrator
Staff member
Hello Gary, welcome to the Chameleon Forums :)

I am keeping him in a mesh lidded Exo Terra vivarium ... The vivarium is decorated by two silk hanging plants
I highly recommend a live plant. The exo terra vivariums are nice looking, but may not be the best cage type for most chameleons. The problem is air circulation.

1) The primary worry is feeding him.
Your chameleon needs more than 2-3 crickets a day. The exact amount is subject to debate. Personally, I would try and get that number closer to a dozen. I would suggest to continue using the cup feeding methods, but maybe experiment with some different cup types. You should be able to find a good sized cup where the crickets can not escape easily (even with their legs), yet still catch the attention of your chameleon. If your cage is large for a baby, you may want to try adding a few feeder cups until he/she becomes familiar with the process. It is very important to properly feed and water the crickets before offering them to your cham.

2)I bought one of those water drippers but I am not sure how often to let it 'drip' each day? I have seen him lapping the droplets it creates. I also mist the viv in the morning and in the evening.
Let the water drip as much as possible. This will allow your chameleon to drink whenever it wants. However, it is very important to keep things clean after spraying and misting; you don't want standing water on the floor of your cage.

3) Do chamelions 'sleep?'
Yes

I hear that Yemen Chamelions are also known as 'veiled' chamelions but the pictures in the books I read show a chamelion with a large 'helmet' on their heads- but Bud doesn't have this helmet. Is this something that will develop as he grows or is there a chance that he could be some other breed?
Do you have any pictures? The casque (helmet) will develop as they grow.

5)I wanted to ask about colour changes. With Yemen Chamelions is it emotional or to blend in?
The reason for the color change is due to emotional and physiological reasons. Through evolution, some species have developed colors that help them blend in with their natural environment, but other species seem to have done just the opposite and standout from their natural surroundings.

5) What about handling the chamelion. I've read conflicting sources. Some sites say you mustn't handle them at all and one book I read said it's best to handle them when regularly to tame them. Id like to hear opionion on this.
Chameleons are not social animals, and would prefer never to see a human. However, you must take care of the chameleon and in doing so will introduce some stress. People have different opinions on how often to handle a chameleon. I keep handling to a minimum, usually only doing so while moving the chameleon outdoors or for cage cleaning purposes. Give it time and let the chameleon become somewhat used to your presence. Hand feeding and feeding in general can help over time.


I recommend reading some of the articles at Chameleon News.
 

psyensics

New Member
Well brad answered it all but you might also try letting the crickets roam free to give him the excercise invovled in catching the crickets. I have a veil cham to and notice that he has a really big appetite. So it just depends.
 
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Bstape

New Member
I also just recently got a Veiled, but I got her at 4 months.

Let me tell ya live plants make a huge difference, much more comfortable and astheticly pleasing, and they up the humidity which is important especially in a screen cage.

I let my crickets go on a tray elevated and really close to my Schefflera and they climb around the plant and screen sides until Lotus spots them.
 
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