how to tell the gender


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Hi cham lovers,

glad to have found this forum.

we found this little beauty outside the garden 3-4 days ago. been feeding him/her (dont know which one it is) house flies. We do not know the species of it, nor the gender. I tried to look behind the tail underneath, but there seems just one whole--presume it is for the droppings, there is nothing els sticking out or hanging...(lol). So we can not tell if it is male or female. Would really love to know that.

Got a lot of ideas from this forum: we bought a fish tank for skinny (his/her name) as the home, I put a pot with soil in it and "planted" some umbrella tree leaves and ficus branches and peach tree branches (skinny was found on the peach tree outside the garden) in the soil.
I started to catch other flying insects for skinny, very difficult. I bought a tin of crix, but skinny doesnt really like it, maybe it is too big, bigger than the head. Skinny had one bite of the cut crix yesterday and spit it out. Today he had a smaller bite.
Does chams eat fly worms? I can breed a lot in the bin outside in the garden. very meaty.:p
Skinny is very tiny, about 5cm long in the body plus 4-5 cm long tail. Less than 1cm wide. Really wanted to upload a pic, but the uploading takes 4ever...

Pls give me suggestions. Cham lovers.:D

well for vield chameleons you tell by spurs (bumps) on the back feet if they have the spurs there male and if the dont they are female not sure if this works for every chameleon tho sorry.
u collected ur chameleon from your garden? Sound like you are living in Hawaii.... tell whether it is a male or female...look for horns! Most probably you have Jackson.... but please do provide some photo!!
Hey Kristi,
Do your chameleon looks anything like any of these? Picture 1 is a male, Picture 2 is a female, Picture 3 is a baby... (can't tell yet!!):D


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Have you any experience keeping chameleons? Have you done any research? What kind of lighting do you use? How are you offering the chameleon water? If you answered no to the first two questions then I think its best to let it go. These are VERY difficult animals to care for and it’s important to do research and get things right in the beginning or else the chameleon could go down hill very quickly.

Totally not saying you cant own a chameleon but its wise to do A LOT of research and have a proper setup before acquiring one.

oops, the pics are too big! Still trying to figure out how to attach rite size here.

But skinny is nothing like your ones. Yours ones are very fancy. Skinny is another specy, I guess. It doesnt hav fancy colors, even when changing. As long as it changes color, good enough for me. Can you tell from the pic, which specy it is?

Yes, skinny is found out side the garden, on a peach tree we just moved out from our garden 2 months ago. The place I live? Surely not hawaii...:) Havnt you heard that Africa has the most chams? I am in Cape Town South Africa. But I dont think i can find your kind of madacascar chams outside the garden tho. lol

I agree with Roo..... wild caught chameleon is pretty hard to take care of. I researched for almost 6 months before acquiring my first CB Veiled. I would say, if you really want to keep it..... do more research on the temperature, humidity etc your place. I just realize that you found it on the ground.... it might be a female laying eggs thats why it is so skinny!!

To identify your chameleon, you might need someone who have seen a lot of chameleon; like Chris Anderson. To me, your chameleon looks like a female dwarf panther... but i am not sure, never lay my hands on these species before.
Mine can be found in Africa too, but in kenya. Cape town south Africa... hmm.... Bradypodion species..thats all the clue i can give you!!
Hi Roo,

mn...I never had experience in keeping a cham. Actually in fact, this is the first time I am seeing one alive in my life.

Only after I got this one, I started research online, then found this forum some how. I did find some ideas from this forum like I said b4. But I believe I need more research and suggestions indeed.

I am offering the guy water. In a very silly way.;) I use a peach tree stick, and liur some water on it, then put it close to my cham. My cham actually lean closer to the stick, if it is thirsty I guess, and opens the mouth to drink the water. Sometimes, 3 drops, sometimes less. I dont know how much I should offer, but I try all the time, if it doesnt drink then it means it doesnt need. I I rite? Normally, for the past 3 days, skinny takes drink once or twice a day. 2-3 drops a time.

Skinny is very fond of house flies. First day, it had 5 of them, then becoming more and more. I got idea that I must feed skinny variety of food. so I catch other insects in the garden or in the house. I try to keep them alive and throw them in the fish tank for the cham to prey. I think when it is full it will stop eating. Rite? It doesnt like crix, at least so far. I bought a tin yesterday. It very reluctant to eat that, and spit it out for the first bite. It ate a smaller bite today tho. I dont know how it taste for the cham.

What would be the signs that it is going down? Or starting to go down? Oh, the lighting, why do I need lighting? We hav plenty of natural sun light here. It gets at least 30mins sun shine before eating everyday. Our temp now is perfect. Only if winter comes in a few months, I might hav to think about keep the temp up at nite.

Suggestions pls everyone. Thanx thanx thanx:)

cham lovers,

the place I live is not in the city of cape town, is in the quite rural area, where it is very close to the nature. We hav a small forest with tall trees abuot 10m away from our back garden. There is a duck pond 50m up. There are ducks, guinefowls, crows, falcons and many other birds around. I am sure, there are more chams out there, I just never try to notice.

Dont know about the law. Might should consult it. Do you hav a law in keeping them in your country?

We hav a native friend, who when he was very small at schools, all the students used to collect chams in the field and keep them to compete which one can eat the most flies a day. They normally keep them for a few months, then got bored with them, and let them go in the wild again. Actually, it was him noticed the cham on the peach tree outside.

The cham seems hav very good appetite. Does it mean it is happy? Wat els must I do??

thanx, I know google. But there are many sites there, dono which one is the best...

Sorry, new here, wat does it mean by 0.1...1.1...


What you have found there is a chameleon of the Bradypodion family. Most likely, given your location and its appearance, it is a Cape Dwarf chameleon (Bradypodion Pumilum).

Unfortunately, it is illegal to keep South African chameleons in captivity (and illegal to trade in them, or export them). The ony way you'd get to keep one is with a research permit from the Department of Agriculture, but it is highly unlikely that you will be able to obtain one of those.

The Cape Dwarf chameleon is also an endangered species (as are most in South Africa).

My advice to you is to release the chameleon back to where you found it. You will only do it more harm by keeping it, and you will be committing a crime.

You say you found it in your garden, and that you are in a rural area of Cape Town. In that case, I would simply let it go back into your garden, and allow it to make its way back into the bushes.
It is generally not advised to relocate the animal, since this might put it into another cham's territory, and could also influence geographic gene pools.

If you are interested in keeping a chameleon, I suggest that you consult your local pet stores. The reptile pet trade in South Africa has really picked up in the last couple of years. Many pet stores are carrying exotic chameleons these days (mostly Veileds). You could even get a Bearded Dragon quite cheaply, which would undoubtably be a better starter reptile for you.
I must warn you though, keeping chameleons is quite an expensive hobby. Getting set up to keep a healthy chameleon will cost thousands of Rands (Young Veileds go for about R850, cages are about R500-R1000, the required UVB lights are about R350, plus then there is food, supplements, and a host of other unforseen costs).
I'm not trying to discourage you, but you must realise that they are not easy pets to keep, and that it takes a lot of commitment and responsibility to keep one.

If you don't have any luck at your local pet stores, you can PM and I'll try find out from some of the Jo'burg breeders whether there are any breeders active in Cape Town.

But you must release the wild chameleon that you caught. It will not live long in captivity.

If you are interested in learning more about the South African indigenous chameleons, there is a great book out now called "Chameleons of Southern Africa", by Krystal Tolley and Marius Burger. It is published by Struik, and I bought my copy in an Exclusive Books store, but I think it is also available on (and also for international readers). In it you will find a detailed description and countless photos of all the chameleons you are likely to encounter in the wild in the Cape.

Don't be sad that you have to release the cham - you have been very lucky to experience such an encounter. Most of the chameleon keepers online here will never get a chance to have an encounter with a chameleon in the wild.
The first number represents known male animals, second number know females, third number can represent unknown sex or juveniles that cannot be sexed yet. So if you had two males, one female, one unknown, it would be 2.1.1.

How is your cham getting sunlight? If it is through a window, the UV rays are being filtered out, and it won't do him any good. If you have him outside, that's good as far as sunlight, but since you have him in a fish tank, it could quickly get too hot for him. And only the light coming through the (hopefully) screened top would still have some UV rays. Most people who keep chams outdoors during appropriate weather have screen/mesh cages.

If I'm reading right, this cham is very small. It doesn't look to me like a pygmy, but I'm a newbie; my impression is that it is probably a neonate or juvenile. You will want to be spraying it with water several times a day. The stick is OK, but you can just use a spray bottle to spray the cham and the plants in his tank, and that way he can clean his eyes and drink. Don't freak when he cleans his eyes; it looks like he's blowing them out or something.

The canned crickets don't appeal to any of my animals. I tried them on frogs for a while, but you have to wave them around a lot to make them look tempting; I'd rather feed live prey. Be careful about wild insects; is there anyone who uses pesticides in your area?

Anyway, good luck. You might be better off letting this one go, learning more about them, and then finding another, when you can tell what species it is and what kind of care it needs.
I haven't had a chance to read through all the posts, I skimmed them, but I didn't see this suggestion.

The chameleon was found outside your house correct? Why not keep it outside your house? You are lviing in their habitat, not like they have to adapt to Florida or Hawaii. Build a large cage around a tree. Natural food, natural light... What more can a captive chameleon ask for but to live in captivity in its own country?

I'll look up what species it is tongith if no one has found it yet.
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It will probably hang around in your garden anyway so it could still be kind of a pet. One you have to search for when you want to see how he's doing but that takes care of himself.
Enjoy that you have them in your garden and relieve yourself of the stress of captive keeping.
I think you're very lucky to have that!

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