chameleon for a beginner

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by petlover, Mar 12, 2011.

  1. petlover

    petlover New Member

    First of all I'm so lucky and happy to find this forum about chameleons because I've been searching a lot of forums about chameleon care but all of them gives me a second thought or doubts anyway I'm wondering what would be the first chameleon do you guys recommend for a first timer/beginner like me is it a Jackson's Chameleon (cool horns!:D) or Panther Chameleon or Veiled Chameleons but I do really want a chameleon that doesn't grow really big (not the pygmy's) also or the lighting I know that I need a basking lamp and a UV lamp but do it need to set them ON at the same time? And I'm already aware what kind of enclosure do they need, its just about the lighting the I'm confused. Last question this is a little bit dumb but is it ok to feed chameleons some superworms because I heard that superworms can cause impaction is true, if so what do I need to do if I encounter this kind of situation? Thank you for the replies in advanced! :D
  2. Jakama

    Jakama Member

    A veiled chameleon is the classic pet for a beginner. You mentioned that you wanted a pet on the smaller side. Male veiled chameleons require larger cages (2ftx2ftx4ft, compared to 2x2x3 for females), but females cycle infertile clutches every now and again, so are a bit more advanced in terms of care. You do need both the basking and the UVB light on at the same time. Superworms are good for chameleons. Be sure to spend a few days if not a few weeks just surfing threads on here to familiarize yourself with chameleon care before purchasing. Hope you have an excellent time caring for your little guy or gal.
  3. GoFSU

    GoFSU New Member

    I used to hold a Jackonii Cham. You need to light fixtures and bulbs. Preperably a Reptisun 5.0 UVB Bulb and a Basking Lamp. Be sure the UVB bulb is Tubular and the other could be either or. Mine is in a Dome Clamp lamp.

    Yes they can eat Superworms and provide a healthy diet for Chams if you are gutloading them correctly with vitamins, fruits and vegetables.
  4. ryno202

    ryno202 Member

    the basking light is to provide a hot spot for them to warm up under, but also be able to get away from somewhat.

    UVB is to mimic the rays from the sun to keep them healthy.

    12 hours on/12 hours off for both on the same cycle
  5. kinyonga

    kinyonga Chameleon Enthusiast

    Welcome to the world of chameleons!
    Good to see that you are researching keeping a chameleon before you get one!

    You need an appropriate cage and cage set up, a method of providing water, lights, supplements, temperature gauges, hoods to keep the lights in, etc.

    The cage can be glass with appropriate ventilation or screen. Which you use partly depends on where you live. You need plants (preferably real, well-washed, non-toxic) to provide cover for the chameleon and vines or branches for the chameleon to sit on and climb on.

    Water for hatchlings IMHO is best provided by using a hand mister set on fine. Once the chameleon is several months old a dripper can be added. It can be as simple as a container with a tiny hole in the bottom or as complicated as an automatic mister.

    Appropriate temperatures play a part in digestion and thus indirectly in nutrient absorption. For hatchlings you will likely want to keep the temperature more even and moderate than for an adult since the small bodies heat, cool and dehydrate more quickly than an adult's body would.

    Exposure to UVB from either direct sunlight or a proper UVB light allows the chameleon to produce D3 so that it can use the calcium in its system to make/keep the bones strong and be used in other systems in the chameleon as well. The UVB should not pass through glass or plastic no matter whether its from the sun or the UVB light. The most often recommended UVB light is the long linear fluorescent Repti-sun 5.0 tube light. Some of the compacts, spirals and tube lights have caused health issues, but so far there have been no bad reports against this one.

    The basking/heat light can be a regular incandescent household bulb in a domed hood. The wattage should be determined by the temperature you want to create.

    Since many of the feeder insects have a poor ratio of calcium to phosphorus in them, its important to dust the insects just before you feed them to the chameleon at most feedings with a phos.-free calcium powder to help make up for it. (I use Rep-cal phosphorus-free calcium).

    If you also dust twice a month with a phos.-free calcium/D3 powder it will ensure that your chameleon gets some D3 without overdoing it. It leaves the chameleon to produce the rest of what it needs through its exposure to the UVB light. D3 from supplements can build up in the system but D3 produced from exposure to UVB shouldn't as long as the chameleon can move in and out of it. (I use Rep-cal phos.-free calcium/D3).

    Dusting twice a month as well with a vitamin powder that contains a beta carotene (prOformed) source of vitamin A will ensure that the chameleon gets some vitamins without the danger of overdosing the vitamin A. PrEformed sources of vitamin A can build up in the system and may prevent the D3 from doing its job and push the chameleon towards MBD. However, there is controversy as to whether all/any chameleons can convert the beta carotene and so some people give some prEformed vitamin A once in a while. (I use herptivite.)

    Gutloading/feeding the insects well helps to provide what the chameleon needs. I gutload crickets, roaches, locusts, superworms, etc. with an assortment of greens (dandelions, kale, collards, endive, escarole, mustard greens, etc.) and veggies (carrots, squash, sweet potato, sweet red pepper, zucchini, etc.)

    Calcium, phos., D3 and vitamin A are important players in bone health and other systems in the chameleon (muscles, etc.) and they need to be in balance. When trying to balance them, you need to look at the supplements, what you feed the insects and what you feed the chameleon.

    If you get a female chameleon please be aware that in some species, females can reproduce without having been mated and its important for egglaying females once they are sexually mature to have an appropriate place in the cage to dig to show you that they need to lay eggs. If you don't provide them with a place and if you let them see you watching them when they are digging, the chameleon can end up eggbound.

    Here are some good sites for you to read...

    Hope this helps!
  6. GoFSU

    GoFSU New Member

    Good God... Do you people sleep :p I am at work but geez. I guess you need to be up 24 hourz to get to 8K posts :rolleyes:

    Anyway. I would advise you to stay on here for a week or so and ask all the questions you can before you go to the store and pick him up :).

    BTW where are you getting one from?
  7. DeviousMike

    DeviousMike New Member

    All 3 you mentioned are good starters, with the Jackson's requiring a little more work getting temps and humidity right. If you are willing to put in the time and the TLC, you can be successful with any species.
    Kent67 likes this.
  8. petlover

    petlover New Member

    I will get my first chameleon from a reptile expo here in Calgary this April :) because on what I've read that most of the pet store doesn't know that much about chameleons and all they want is money :( Yes I will stay here for sure! And I have enough time to search some really good tips about chameleon care

    Thanks for the tips! :)
  9. petlover

    petlover New Member


    Thanks for the really good tips! I do really appreciate the quick response not like the other forums :( Anyway those tips will surely help me!

    Thank You Very Much :)
  10. petlover

    petlover New Member

    It will surely help me! Specially the websites! Thank you so much for the effort!!! :)
  11. ChameleonsInMyHouse

    ChameleonsInMyHouse New Member

    IMO, i think it is good that you are having second thoughts, but do not underestimate yourself. if you are confident you have learned from your research than by all means, treat yourself. If you you are having a bit of doubts, than do a little bit more research. If you are are determined to stay in the reptile hobby, the research doesn't stop.

    it is commonly done in the fashion of having both lights come on and go off at the same time, but some keepers are technical, and will often have heat lamps come on at a desired time after the UVB/UVA lights come on, and vice versa. but 12/12 at the same time is fine.

    choosing a chameleon is entirely up to what you like, and if you know you can meet the requirements of that species. Jacksons need a basking light, but need lower temperatures and high humidity, can you offer and maintain that?

    Your objective is also to find a CB (captive bread) or CH (captive hatched) chameleon. has trusted sponsors and breeders who will truthfully advertise the status of their hatching, whether they were Wild Caught or Bred.

    You said you wanted a smaller species but not small like a pygmy. If you can find CB/CH, than i would suggest a ruwenzori side striped chameleon (Trioceros rudis) or even better a senegal chameleon (Chamaeleo senegalensis). both are smaller, and more calm than most. But overall, you will never fail with a classic panther or veiled.

    one more thing i would add, is males will always be easier to care for. unless you plan on breeding, females are not worth keeping IMHO and if not taken care of properly, can end in early deaths. Not worth the loss in the chameleon world to me.

    hope this helps, cheers
  12. Elizadolots

    Elizadolots New Member

    I second the idea of getting a male. Not that females aren't great even if you aren't breeding. It's just that females require more advanced handling. I never advise an "advanced" thing for a beginner in anything.
  13. petlover

    petlover New Member

    Thank you very much! specially with the lighting's! for the jackson's chameleon i think i can offer that and i like that species of chameleon because of his cool horns! And i heard that female chameleons needs more care everytime they lay eggs. Anyway thanks for cheering me up! Thank you very much! :)
  14. petlover

    petlover New Member

    Ya I prefer a male chameleon too because females tend to lay eggs and needs a lot of attention, anyway thank you very much for the concern! :)

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