Housing Chameleons

Raul-7

New Member
I've been keeping planted aquariums for years, however I've recently been interested in trying a chameleon enclosure as I have always been fascinated by this particular reptile. I love their peroscopic eyes which they can move in different directions and their incredible prey catching technique. Actually, I find them incredibly attractive. However, I've only seen one species and that was at my local Petco, I assume they were juveniles and was wondering how large do they normally get?

I've seen most people keep them in cages, being new to the reptile world would that be the best choice? I've seen most use a regular bird cage, however how do you keep the humdity up outdoors/indoors if you don't have the pleasure of living in Florida? :rolleyes: Do you all have specific reptile rooms in your house? And what's the recommended cage size for a pair?

Sorry for all the newbie questions, if someone can point me to a good article with all the basics I'll keep quite. ;)
 

ChameleonsTree

New Member
Real plants help to keep humidity up so does the misting. Some people have bought regular humidifiers and used PVC pipe to direct it right down into the cage.
 

Heika

New Member
Hi Raul,

Some chameleons do better in planted aquariums than others. The species that your local Petco has is probably not one of the species that would do well in one. They most likely have panthers or veileds, and they really do better in a screened cage.

Leaf chameleons do very well in planted aquariums. If you decide to go this route, you might want to look for captive bred animals as opposed to wild caught ones. They live longer and have less health problems.

Here are a couple of articles on Chameleon News that will get you started in the right direction with the leaf species:

http://www.chameleonnews.com/stumphabitat.html
http://www.chameleonnews.com/brevcare.html

If you decide you want to start with one of the larger chameleon species such as a veiled or a panther, a good place to begin would be to read over all of the articles written for the ezine in the past.

http://www.chameleonnews.com/

A good, accurate site for basic chameleon care information is:

http://www.chameleonsdish.com/

To answer your question about size, an adult male veiled chameleon can reach between 18-24", and an adult male panther is somewhat smaller than that. Chameleon species range greatly in size, from fractions of an inch to around 3 feet, but only a handful of species are regularly available to the pet trade. Only two species are normally recommended for beginners, the veiled and the panther.

Heika
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
Chameleons are not the easiest reptile to keep. They require good husbandry which includes proper temperatures, gutloading a variety of insects to feed them (and in the case of veileds, non-toxic plants, greens, veggies and fruit), supplementation, misting/dripping to provide water, etc. They are generally not something that should be handled often either.

I have kept veileds, panthers, fischers, C. chamaeleons, and a number of others for years in aquariums and cages with the lid and one side screen and they have lived long healthy lives. Many people keep them in totally screen cages...but whether to keep them in aquariums or partially screened cages or totally screen cages depends IMHO on where you live. Each has drawbacks and plusses.

You said..."I've been keeping planted aquariums for years, however I've recently been interested in trying a chameleon enclosure as I have always been fascinated by this particular reptile"...substrates can be a problem with some chameleons (arboreal types for the most part) since many can be ingested and cause blockages and some contain toxins. I always use only non-toxic plants in case the chameleon or the insects chew on them.

You said..." I love their peroscopic eyes which they can move in different directions and their incredible prey catching technique. Actually, I find them incredibly attractive"...they are very interesting and many of them are beautiful.

You said..."I've seen most people keep them in cages, being new to the reptile world would that be the best choice? I've seen most use a regular bird cage, however how do you keep the humdity up outdoors/indoors if you don't have the pleasure of living in Florida?"...I have seen very few kept in bird cages, but many in screen cages and aquariums. Plants and mistings can help keep the humidity up...both outdoors and indoors.

You said..."Do you all have specific reptile rooms in your house?" ...I do have specific rooms in my house. Its warmer and more humid in them than in the rest of the house.

You said..."And what's the recommended cage size for a pair?"...most species of chameleons must be kept individually (one per cage). There are a couple of acceptions. Stress levels are too high if they are kept in pairs generally.

You said..."Sorry for all the newbie questions, if someone can point me to a good article with all the basics I'll keep quite"...no need to keep quiet. Questions lead to knowledge!

Here are some sites (in addition to ones already provided) that might be of interest to you...
http://adcham.com/
http://www.uvguide.co.uk/skintests.htm#discussion
 

Dave Weldon

Avid Member
...However, I've only seen one species and that was at my local Petco...
Howdy,

I just saw your post and then I saw your location is Lomita, CA :). One place to take a peek at is Reptile Finders at 1856 Pacific Coast Hwy, Lomita! Various species of chameleons roll-in and out of the store on a regualr basis. If you're not looking at buying from a breeder at a show or over the internet then they are a possibility. One thing's for sure, you won't find crickets cheaper at any other retail store at 30/$1. Tell'm Dave sent ya :D.
 

Raul-7

New Member
Howdy,

I just saw your post and then I saw your location is Lomita, CA :). One place to take a peek at is Reptile Finders at 1856 Pacific Coast Hwy, Lomita! Various species of chameleons roll-in and out of the store on a regualr basis. If you're not looking at buying from a breeder at a show or over the internet then they are a possibility. One thing's for sure, you won't find crickets cheaper at any other retail store at 30/$1. Tell'm Dave sent ya :D.
Thanks Dave. :D I'll check it out this weekend!

Thanks everyone for the articles. I'm starting to gather in all the information I need to know beforehand.

I would really like to keep him outside, but the only thing I fear is the sudden drop of temperature that we get hear and of course there's no way I can heat the ambient air temperature. Are there any ingenious methods of keeping in cooler climates? I've read an interesting article, they suggested a wooden enclosure with a glass pane on the front, and mesh on the top. Any chance some company already makes these? Any other suggestions for getting around that climate barrier?

As for drinking water, do you all rely on misting - do they prefer drinking water as it is dripping of the plant leaves or do they absorb it through their skin like other reptiles? I think I'll invest in the automated Big Apple's 2G mister, probably add a small submersible heater and maybe even an internal filter with carbon to ensure the water stays fresh. Does that sound ideal?

And how much direct sunlight do they need? As in hours to ensure they are healthy without supplementing any additional lighting?

Thanks.
 

Jordan

New Member
For more specifics you will really have to single out a species. Chameleons range in adult sizes from about 1"-30". The care for the species is just as different as their sizes. Most people recommend veileds for beginner chameleon keepers. That does not mean you can not try to keep something else but with other species they are not as forgiving with adverse conditions. Some of the above links will provide you with a look at some different species. I would try to single out a couple that you like and then go threw the research process. Alot of chameleons are not even obtainable. Feel free to start more threads and flip through old post if you have more questions.
 

Raul-7

New Member
For more specifics you will really have to single out a species. Chameleons range in adult sizes from about 1"-30". The care for the species is just as different as their sizes. Most people recommend veileds for beginner chameleon keepers. That does not mean you can not try to keep something else but with other species they are not as forgiving with adverse conditions. Some of the above links will provide you with a look at some different species. I would try to single out a couple that you like and then go threw the research process. Alot of chameleons are not even obtainable. Feel free to start more threads and flip through old post if you have more questions.
From what I've seen, I like the Panther species more. And especially the Nosy Be since it happens to be my favorite coloration.
 

Jordan

New Member
With a Panther I think the type of misting system that you are talking about would be great. Chameleons drink water that is standing on leaves. A misting whether manual or automated gives them an opprotunity to drink and will raise the humidity in the enclousure. Some chameleons depending on their personallities will require a long duration misting to simulate them to drink. I would say most Panther owners would recommend 20-40 minutes of misting a day. Even with that amount of watering it would be advisable to have a drip system set-up that runs a good amount of time during their day.

As for outdoors I really am unexperienced with that type of chameleon keeping. Most of the owners I have talked to that do this have an outdoor cage and an indoor cage for times when temperatures drop (some just use it seasonally). I would however advise against using glass in an outside enclosure. This will act like a magnifing glass. Heating up the cage irradically at best, block benifical UV radiation, possible stagnant air, and longer dry times between mistings. The heat build up could be incredible with direct sunlight and kill your chameleon. I know what you are trying to say with the design aspect but am unsure of how to accomplish this outside. Most panther owners have a basking area that reaches 90 degrees or real close. The rest of the cages ambient temperatures should be in the 80's to high 70's. Humidity from 50-75%.
 
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