General Chameleon questions.

EK chameleons

New Member

I recently got one flap necked chameleon. i have never had this before, so i have some basic questions.

I currently live in Africa, malawi. this is where the chameleon was found, so i guess i dont have to adjust the climate? i keep it outside, so it has its natural environment.

I also wonder how i could make a good dripping system. I am in school from 7.15 am to 2.00pm, so it must get water in the meantime.

i feed it with grasshoppars and crickets, which are found outside in my garden and in the local area. because they have lived naturally before i feed them to my chameleon, do i have to gut load them?

And lastly, this is something i worry about. when i had the chameleon outside its cage, it ate an insect and accidentally swallowed a stone together with it. it was maybe 0.5 cm in diameter, or slightly bigger. will the chameleon survive this, or will this accident kill it?

If some experienced people replies i will be grateful. Sorry about my bad english, this is my foreign language:)
Hello! Welcome to the forum!

Wow! You get to see chameleons in the wild!

You can use a large plastic container with a tiny hole punched in the bottom so that the water drips at the rate of a drip or two per second. How long it drips for will depend on the size of the container.

If you take the grasshoppers and crickets right from outside and feed them to the chameleon they should be fine not to be gutloaded. If you are catching them and keeping them for a while, then they will need to be fed/gutloaded IMHO.

As for the stone, its hard to say if it will pass through the chameleon or not. I don't know how wide the digestive system is in the chameleon.

What's your main language? (You did well with English!)
Thank you very much for responding. it helps alot to me.

Im from norway, so norwegian is my forst language. they dont sell chameleons in norway(think its banned), so this is a golden opportunity to have one. (im staying one year in Malawi)

Two final question: i havent seen it drinking yet, but probably it has. i have kept leaves wet during the day, when its not raining (rainy season). But if i dont see it drink, is there anything I could do to increase the probability for it to start?

And i hav seen many posts saying dont handle your chameleons, because it may get frightened and it may be a factor for premature death. Since mine is wild, this should probably be the case for my chameleon. But I have handled it , and it does not seem frightened. it climbs up my arm and stays there. So what are the actual features of a scared chameleon? (flap-necked, if that matters).
If you drip water on the very tip of its nose (use a slow rate of dripping) for a few minutes it should drink. Don't use cold water...water at room temp. is fine. This often stimulates stubborn chameleons to drink.

As for stress showing in handling....the chameleon might gape, change its colors, might rock back and forth, drop to the ground, try to move quickly away from you. There can also be a "silent" stress that you might not notice..being that they are not high in the food chain, they have to constantly be watching for predators.
Thank you for helping me out.

I mist the leaves a couple of times a day with a spraay bottle. Some minutes ago i watched it drink. Very reliefing.

One very final question: we have built a quite big cage to him/her (maybe 5 feet tall, 2 feet wide and 4 feet long). But in the morning it always seem to seek a way out of the cage. we have a couple of bushes, and a small tree in the cage. Is the issue the fact that we dont have enough vegetation or something else? The sun rays reaches the cage maybe 9 or 10 am. Is this the issue, that it seeks out to bask? or is it just exploring its cage?
It could be a combination of both. Chameleons are very curious and love to get out and explore. You said, he is getting "out"of the cage possibly to bask? Is your cage indoors then and the light is coming in from window or something? UVB does not pass through glass. Do you have a basking light in your cage for him? More than likely he does not like to be caged up. Would you?! The first thing mine does when I open the door is to climb out.
Here's some information you may like to read...

Exposure to proper UVB, appropriate temperatures, supplements, a supply of well-fed/gutloaded insects, water and an appropriate cage set-up are all important for the well-being of your chameleon.

Appropriate cage temperatures aid in digestion and thus play a part indirectly in nutrient absorption.

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.

Since many of the feeder insects have a poor ratio of calcium to phosphorus in them, its important to dust the insects before you feed them to the chameleon with a phos.-free calcium powder to help make up for it.

If you 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. (Some UVB lights have been known to cause health issues, so the most often recommended one is the long linear fluorescent Repti-sun 5.0 tube 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.

Dusting twice a month 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.

Gutloading/feeding the insects well helps to provide what the chameleon its important too. 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.

Here are some good sites for you and your parents to read...
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