CLIMATE OF THE NATURAL HABITAT OF THE MIGHTY YEMEN CHAMELEON

PetNcs

Chameleon Enthusiast
CLIMATE OF THE NATURAL HABITAT OF THE MIGHTY YEMEN CHAMELEON





The Yemen Chameleon (Veiled Chameleon) is one of the most popular chameleon species in captivity today. Yet it is one of the mostly misunderstood and miss handled a Chameleons in captivity. Let us please finally understand it’s climatic requirements to make them comfortable and thriving in captivity and not suffering...



The Yemen chameleons live nowadays in Yemen and Southern Saudi Arabia.

As ferals, they live in many strong populations in Florida and few small populations in California. The former Hawaiian population on the Maui island has been eradicated by local authorities and for many years, there was no single sigting reported from there.



The Yemen Chameleons are very hardy, so that they can survive even a completely wrong care which is actually provided by a vast majority of keepers and breeders, because their natural conditions are completely misunderstood or even faked, many care sheets recommend conditions, under which the Yemen Chameleons suffer to death.



The Yemen Chameleon is a montane species that lives in an environment which is colder than the environment of the undisputed montane species - Three Horned Jacksons Chameleon! They occupy altitudes usually around 6000 to 7000 feet high in the mountains of Hejaz. The centre of the distribution of the original population, that served the source for captive population nowadays and for all ferals, is an area around the cities od Ibb and Yarim in Yemen.



The climate there is a very specific and undergoes a very significant cycling during the year. The warmest month is the month of June, when the temperatures rise to the level of about 80° at noon (not more!) and fall down to maximum 70° at night while in the winter time, they can fall to freezing point at night and not exceed high 60s at the daytime.



I am almost daily shocked with what an ignorance people still recommend to keep them at the basking temperatures around 95 to 100°F and recommend heaters at night to raise the temperature above 70s F. It is an absolute nonsense and this mistreatment of these animals in captivity results in their short lifespan. It has been demonstrated that they can live up to 16 years under ideal conditions in the captivity, while the average in the US stays between 3 to 5 years (counting only animals that reach maturity,

Nit the thousands of dead babies that are killed by whole-sellers in big pet store chains. If a Yemen chameleon reaches 7 years everyone is applauding. In Germany, it is a standard that on the strongly regulated and educated market they live normally 10 years and more.



The area where Yemen chameleons live is typical through uneven distribution of the rainfall during the year. There is the rainy season from April to September with a break in June and the dry season from October till March each year.



The lifecycle of the chameleons is strongly dependent on this type of weather so that:

they hatch in April

they grow up until reaching maturity in July, when

they mate and subsequently

they lay eggs in August.

Then, the dry season starts and in December almost all adult population becomes extinct due to the predation and exological pressure of the dry season.



The implication of this natural cycles to captivity are as follows. The species is extremely adaptable and can cope with big differences in the climate; this is why they are so tolerable to our mistakes in captivity. The best way how to keep them is of course to simulate the differences of rhe oarameters in the seasons accordingly and reflect them in the temperature regime provided both for juvenile and adult animals as well as for the incubation of eggs.



There is one very important fact to add. It is the distribution of the air humidity during the day. As you can see on the attached charts, during the daytime, the humidity drops deep under 30% and during late night hours, it raises high above 70%. This is the normalized ambient air humidity there. Once the dew point is close to the temperature of the air during the night, the clouds automatically fall down and build fog that covers the entire environment and in that moment the air humidity is 100% and the Chamaeleon sits for hours and hours in very dense fog. I remember that starting around 10 PM, you cannot usually continue a night search because you do not see anything due to the milky fog, and you need to turn back to your car otherwise you risk that you lose the way and will need to wait until the morning to find it.



The Kareef climatic anomaly, caused by special summertime monsoon (June-September) forming a special eco zone called fog woodlands and fog shrublands, does not apply to Yemen Chameleons or only marginally. The Arabian sea influences the DHOFAR mountains in Omans and Southern Yemen and not HEJAZ mountains in Central and Norther Yemen.



Another abiotic ecological factor, which is also heavily misunderstood, is the intensity of UV. As high-mountain dwellers, the Yemen Chameleons live in environments, which are exposed to UVI up to 17 in the middle of the day. The problem is, the chameleons are not exposed to that UV intensity, because at this part of the day, they sit deep in the bushes hidden in dense foliage and receive the UV only in the strengths of UVI 1 to 2 maximum. They bask early in the morning and late afternoon (at temperatures in low to mid 70s F and ag basking spot temps maximum 80’F), when the filtered sun by clouds delivers only UVI levels maximum 5 to 6, usually lower.

I was badly challenged by some people referring to videos from Yemen showing dominant males in the middle of the day sitting on the top of the trees at the mentioned high UVI levels, saying they are basking at noon. But this is not true. They are not basking they are exposing themselves and they are pancaking to show off and protect their territories and they are exposed to UV artificially: they actually pay a very high price for that. The extremely high UV damages their inner organs and exposure to UV, which is carcinogeneous and cytostatic first sterilizes them and then kills them subsequently so that they die young. It is therefore not the best idea to take as breeders the dominant males from the wild be it Yemen or Florida because they by definition will very likely do not do well. They have of course adaptations that allow them to protect them in certain extent, like the peritoneal high impregnation with Melanine, but it helps only partly.



Please, do not overheat the Yemen Chameleons, it is one of the main reasons, why they do not reach high age in captivity.



If simulating the rainy summertime, use the following temperatures:



Nighttime: 60s

Daytime ambient: low to mid 70s

Basking: 80’F maximum

Limit the basking to maximum one hour in the morning and same in late afternoon only. Do NOT bake them all the day under running basking lamps.



If simulating the dry wintertime, use the following temperatures:



Nighttime: 50s

Daytime ambient: high 60s, low 70s

Basking: mid 70s

Limit the basking to maximum 20minutes in the morning and same in the late afternoon only. Do NOT bake them all the day under running basking lamps.



During whole year, use the following humidity regime with soft transitions:



Nighttime: 100%, fog

Daytime: under 40%



Understanding natural conditions and natural history is the ultimate key for ethical captive naturalistic husbandry, that provides comfort to the Yemen Chameleons, which they deserve, according to Human Ethics, Animal Welfare principles, the law and common sense.



Please, let our noble fellows thrive and not suffer in our homes.





Picture legends:



  1. Male C. calyptratus at Yarim
  2. Male C. calyptratus at Ibb
  3. Female C. calyptratus at Ibb
  4. Mal of Yemen showing the position of the centre of distribution of C.c. in the Hejaz mountains
  5. - 10. Climatological data


  1. Khareef in Oman in July during daytime
  2. Fog/clouds at Yarim in December in the dry season
  3. Mist at Ibb in rainy season
 

Attachments

  • FF118BB3-C131-4AC9-B2EF-1DB6382D9D46.jpeg
    FF118BB3-C131-4AC9-B2EF-1DB6382D9D46.jpeg
    417.4 KB · Views: 55
  • 27022A74-25B5-4F4D-8322-D6F5C76E138A.jpeg
    27022A74-25B5-4F4D-8322-D6F5C76E138A.jpeg
    350.2 KB · Views: 72
  • 8A266307-F141-4A8A-B4AA-CC04EAEA31E7.jpeg
    8A266307-F141-4A8A-B4AA-CC04EAEA31E7.jpeg
    418.5 KB · Views: 67
  • 5A7F6671-04BD-4B87-81F1-442F468C180E.jpeg
    5A7F6671-04BD-4B87-81F1-442F468C180E.jpeg
    495.9 KB · Views: 66
  • 3BBBA184-8B8D-4815-A776-10B1A1A5412F.jpeg
    3BBBA184-8B8D-4815-A776-10B1A1A5412F.jpeg
    234.5 KB · Views: 61
  • D2AC7C20-C803-4BF1-A18D-57A898F8C757.jpeg
    D2AC7C20-C803-4BF1-A18D-57A898F8C757.jpeg
    267.6 KB · Views: 61
  • DA16F42C-944F-4CEA-B6BE-B181105D6BAF.jpeg
    DA16F42C-944F-4CEA-B6BE-B181105D6BAF.jpeg
    52.7 KB · Views: 63
  • C20F3C1E-736A-4719-A014-1249CA3A2FFC.jpeg
    C20F3C1E-736A-4719-A014-1249CA3A2FFC.jpeg
    769.8 KB · Views: 63
  • E70A4772-BA54-4E6E-8421-F70DF04850ED.jpeg
    E70A4772-BA54-4E6E-8421-F70DF04850ED.jpeg
    460.6 KB · Views: 59
  • 4796B173-952F-410F-874C-24867C7E851D.png
    4796B173-952F-410F-874C-24867C7E851D.png
    225.9 KB · Views: 71

NashansCamos

Chameleon Enthusiast
If a Yemen chameleon reaches 7 years everyone is applauding. In Germany, it is a standard that on the strongly regulated and educated market they live normally 10 years and more
Is this true for females as well? You stated that they could live up to 16 I'm assuming you're only talking about males.
 

PetNcs

Chameleon Enthusiast
Is this true for females as well? You stated that they could live up to 16 I'm assuming you're only talking about males.

it almost applies to females, females can get heavily exhausted by wrong caltive management and lay too many eggs, which shortent their lide span, but the oldest female I know abou is still alive and is 14. Not mine however.

the general US recommendations shortens their lives tremendously.
 

NashansCamos

Chameleon Enthusiast
it almost applies to females, females can get heavily exhausted by wrong caltive management and lay too many eggs, which shortent their lide span, but the oldest female I know abou is still alive and is 14. Not mine however.

the general US recommendations shortens their lives tremendously.
yeah the way petco and groups on fb give husbandry care sheets are awful. There was a petco care sheet I saw that told people to feed their chams pothos
 

NashansCamos

Chameleon Enthusiast
I was worried that my veiled was too cold because she was by a door that is open often and in england its cold. But now that I see this i'm not worried
 

Nancygal

Member
Awesome information. I stopped night time light awhile ago as my friend doesn't use and well she has been happier since the get go when I did. So much miss information out there, so glad I found ya all. ??
 

PetNcs

Chameleon Enthusiast
yeah the way petco and groups on fb give husbandry care sheets are awful. There was a petco care sheet I saw that told people to feed their chams pothos

well I run several grouos in FB and U ororest I give awful care sheets. My sheets are jsed around rhe globe in a groip of more tha. 60t members.
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
"MIGHTY":unsure: :LOL:

Please appreciate that I am not trying to be argumentative with my questions below. Veileds are more unfamiliar to me, and I'm trying to grasp what is new and/or contradictory information. Mostly, I'm asking for clarification of points that will help me—and others—understand. Thank you.

The Yemen Chameleons are very hardy, so that they can survive even a completely wrong care which is actually provided by a vast majority of keepers and breeders, because their natural conditions are completely misunderstood or even faked, many care sheets recommend conditions, under which the Yemen Chameleons suffer to death.
Does this misinformation apply to the information & caresheet found on this site?
Veiled Chameleon

How does the caresheet & other information found on this site measure up (in general and specifics)?

The Yemen Chameleon is a montane species that lives in an environment which is colder than the environment of the undisputed montane species - Three Horned Jacksons Chameleon!
This doesn't seem to jibe with the information presented in Bill Strand's video,
Which Chameleon Should I Get?
1595252321925.png

1595252338190.png


I am almost daily shocked with what an ignorance people still recommend to keep them at the basking temperatures around 95 to 100°F
My understanding is that basking temperatures are often misunderstood. TMK, basking temps should be measured on the surface of the basking site—not the air temperature at the basking site, which could (IDK—I'm asking) account for differences.

The implication of this natural cycles to captivity are as follows. The species is extremely adaptable and can cope with big differences in the climate; this is why they are so tolerable to our mistakes in captivity.
I think some clarification would help. The above seems to contradict other parts of the article. If they are so adaptable, and can cope with big differences in climate, why are these "mistakes" killing them off prematurely?

It doesn't seem to follow; I would think either they're adaptable and can cope, or they're not so adaptable and aren't coping. :unsure:

There is one very important fact to add. It is the distribution of the air humidity during the day. As you can see on the attached charts, during the daytime, the humidity drops deep under 30% and during late night hours, it raises high above 70%. This is the normalized ambient air humidity there. Once the dew point is close to the temperature of the air during the night, the clouds automatically fall down and build fog that covers the entire environment and in that moment the air humidity is 100% and the Chamaeleon sits for hours and hours in very dense fog. I remember that starting around 10 PM, you cannot usually continue a night search because you do not see anything due to the milky fog, and you need to turn back to your car otherwise you risk that you lose the way and will need to wait until the morning to find it.
This makes it much clearer why Veileds need foggers, whereas panthers & some others do not.

They bask early in the morning and late afternoon (at temperatures in low to mid 70s F and ag basking spot temps maximum 80’F), when the filtered sun by clouds delivers only UVI levels maximum 5 to 6, usually lower.
OK, good. This seems to agree with my observation about basking temps above.

Limit the basking to maximum one hour in the morning and same in late afternoon only. Do NOT bake them all the day under running basking lamps.
My understanding has been that keepers are to set up their enclosures properly, and leave it to the chameleons to bask as they wish to. Please clarify or elucidate; it sounds like you're suggesting (recommending?) that UVB lighting should be cycled and limited to just 2 one-hour periods each day.

I think it would also help to reconcile temperature basking (incandescent bulb) from or with UVB basking. :unsure: Should the incandescent basking lamp also be cycled in such a way? If so, how are daytime temps to be maintained, or are they?

If simulating the dry wintertime, use the following temperatures:
Nighttime: 50s
It was a similar specification that caused me to cross Jackson's chameleons off my list. To provide such cool nighttime temps (or drops) would require me to move the enclosure down to my basement each night and bring it up again in the morning. As a disabled person, this is not feasible for me—even seasonally, so I had to limit myself to species that can thrive year round at near (or slightly warmer than) room temperatures, e.g panthers.

Limit the basking to maximum 20minutes in the morning and same in the late afternoon only. Do NOT bake them all the day under running basking lamps.
OK, winter vs. summer.

Thanks for an informative article. I hope that existing misinformation & confusion can be reconciled for everyone's benefit. :)

EDIT: Are veterinarians aware of this info? Obviously they should be, and it should probably be included in herp medicine texts. Anything that can be done about that?
 
Last edited:

PetNcs

Chameleon Enthusiast
My understanding is that basking temperatures are often misunderstood. TMK, basking temps should be measured on the surface of the basking site—not the air temperature at the basking site, which could (IDK—I'm asking) account for differences.

I talk about surface temp of an insulated object if talking about basking temperatures
 

PetNcs

Chameleon Enthusiast
This doesn't seem to jibe with the information presented in Bill Strand's video,
Which Chameleon Should I Get?

well I do not see here a big contradiction, i just present facts...
C calyptratus lives far N of equator and lives predominantly between 2000 and 2500m all, while T. jackson ii lives on the equator and at heights of approx 1400-1850 m a.s.l. so, who is more montane??? The low temps reach much lower levels than tax are ever exposed to and the wintertime is substantially colder ijh Yemen than any of the all out stable climate on equator
 

PetNcs

Chameleon Enthusiast
I think some clarification would help. The above seems to contradict other parts of the article. If they are so adaptable, and can cope with big differences in climate, why are these "mistakes" killing them off prematurely?

yes, it makes sense
the average captive care in the US leads to the fact presented by this site as average lifespan in captivity of 5-7 years. they can live 16 years long so, yes, they are quite adaptable but the differences to what they are adapted to leads to them suffering to premature death step by step until they die at age not even half of the possible one with signs of ageing as if they would be very old
 

PetNcs

Chameleon Enthusiast
My understanding has been that keepers are to set up their enclosures properly, and leave it to the chameleons to bask as they wish to. Please clarify or elucidate; it sounds like you're suggesting (recommending?) that UVB lighting should be cycled and limited to just 2 one-hour periods each day.

I think it would also help to reconcile temperature basking (incandescent bulb) from or with UVB basking. :unsure: Should the incandescent basking lamp also be cycled in such a way? If so, how are daytime temps to be maintained, or are they?

no let me be more explicit.

the IR source , basking spot lamp is the one to be limited to 2 hours daily while the UV source should be on (almost) all day.

the reason is:

they BASK short
but
they are exposed to UV of low levels whole day.
 

PetNcs

Chameleon Enthusiast
Are veterinarians aware of this info? Obviously they should be, and it should probably be included in herp medicine texts. Anything that can be done about that?

i do what i can to get the info to VETs too
the problem is I daily get info about totally wrong VET recommendations, sometimes to such extent that they do not heal the animals but cause the health problems with their advice actually
 

PetNcs

Chameleon Enthusiast
Also, got anything similarly earth-shattering for panthers? ?

i prepare it

you can read sime of the issues in Archaius.eu

there is a different problem. Or better say similar oroblem but different reasons

we again bake them at too high temps
Ehile in the Yemen chameleon, it is simply ignorance of people that provide climatic info and uncritical credulity of the keepers,
In panthers, it is the Habitat Destruction and climatic change induced by Colonial practices and global warming, which are the main drivers for wrong temperatures we use for their captive management, despite we read the right climagraphs
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
yes some of the information in the care sheet is o jectively incorrect. I paid lots of efforts to give very detailed feedback to the board but they decided they do not want to change it.
i do what i can to get the info to VETs too
the problem is I daily get info about totally wrong VET recommendations, sometimes to such extent that they do not heal the animals but cause the health problems with their advice actually
I find both of these situations disconcerting, especially if modifying care as you specify could double the lifespan of these animals in captivity.

There's a lot to assimilate here and on the https://www.archaius.eu/ site (new to me) you mentioned.

I look forward to your post about panther chameleons. I hope it will be possible to keep one successfully at room temperatures or above; I can handle controlling humidity, but chilling down an enclosure below 68°F/20°C is not feasible for me.
 

jacksonchamnew

Avid Member
My home thermostat is at 77 degrees. The AC can barely keep it here in Mobile Alabama when temps outside are in the mid nineties. I hope my veil is ok.
 
Top Bottom