First Chameleon...


New Member
Hi, I've been interested in owning a pet chameleon for some time now, but have resisted buying on impulse. Instead, I have spent the last 6 months reading about everything there is to know about keeping one as a pet.

I know reading is not as good as hands on care, so I have a couple of questions of my own:

I have a suitable area in an alcove of my living room that could house a 16"x28"x30" terrarium with space all around it (6") and plenty of space above for lamps and drip feeder. But if I was to keep him/her in my living room, where my wife and I sit of an evening, would television sound and our own light requirements bear any impact on the chameleons health?

I have read that interaction with your chameleon, ie hand feeding, is essential at an early age to ensure that they are more comfortable with a human presence, which should help lower the risk of unnecessary stress. Plus many pictures I have seen show owners handling them. So, what is an acceptable level of handling with a yemen chameleon?

The sound from the TV won't bother the cham. They don't hear well, if at all, since they don't have external ears like we do. There is research to suggest that they respond to and communicate via low-frequency vibrations, so if your home entertainment system has a big sub-woofer producing lots of bass tones, that might disturb the cham.

However, the general lighting in the room, and possibly the light from the TV will disturb the cham. They need darkness to sleep.
I've heard of some owners putting a cover or a towel over the cage at night to block off the light. That should do the trick, provided it doesn't adversely affect the cage temp/humidity too much.

But also consider whether there isn't too much traffic in your living room to keep the cham in there. People walking in and out of the room all day (even if they are quite far from the cage - chams have good eyesight) could potentially be a source of stress for your cham.

As for handling the cham, I think Kristina Francis put it best in her post on another thread about the topic: "In my opinion, the only time a cham needs handling is for home exams, vet trips, and meds. A particularly fearless (or hand-raised) cham will seek out a person to perch on, of its own free will. The "needy" cham is very rare. The rest of the time, it's the human who needs it, not the cham." So that's it: most people give their chams a brief home exam to check their health once a week. Other than that, you only handle them when you really need to.

And hand-feeding a cham doesn't involve handling the cham. You just put your hand out with the food in it, and it will strike it from some distance away. Sometimes my cham strikes so quickly that I hardly feel it.
Ok first of did the smart thing by reading before buying but you need a fresh air screen cage not glass. If you provide a lot of greenery in the cage for them to hide in they usually feel safe even if you are in the room. I might hang something to block his view of the TV...seeing constant motion could stress him. Since you plan on keeping him in a room you live in i would look into some of the systems people have rigged up to pipe a humidfier right into the cage.
Thanks for the advice :p .

The alcove where I'll be housing the screen cage is in a recess so the TV should be completely out of site and I'm at work for 8 hours each weekday, so he/she should have complete peace during that time. Basicallly the regime i was going to try and impose was to feed and mist (or add fresh drip water) in the morning before work and then again at around 8 or 9 pm.

The lighting, I would have on a timer to run for round about the same times (7am to 8 or 9pm).

I know it will still be a learning curve when I finally purchase my Cham, so I just want as much help & as many tips as possible to help me get it right!
In my opinion the dimensions you listed would really only be adequate for a female adult. I guess I was unclear as to whether that was the size of the cage you wanted to go with or the space that could be alotted in the alcove.

I do like the use of the alcove though. This would make the cage a nice addition into the room.
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