New Cham In India - 10 Q’s

nate65809

New Member
Hello!

I have had a couple friends who own/owned chams in the USA. Now I’m an American expat in Bangalore India and I’m considering screening in my ~100 sq ft. porch and getting my own Cham.

I’ve read a lot of forums and info online at this point, but I still have a lot of questions.

If you could respond to any of these using the number for whichever one you’re responding to, that would be most helpful and clear. Thank you!!

  1. Since I’m in India, I would love to have an Indian Chameleon (chamaeleo zeylanicus). However, I am seeing conflicting information online. a) Can I have a chamaeleo zeylanicus as a pet in India, legally? I have searched through the Wildlife Protection Act (nbaindia.org/uploaded/Biodiversityindia/Legal/15.%20Wildlife%20(Protection)%20Act,%201972.pdf) but haven’t found any chameleons listed. b) Does the answer to that question change based on whether I find one in the wild or buy one from a dealer? c) Is it even legal to buy/sell these in India? d) If so, does anyone know a good trusted dealer? Preferably in Bangalore.
  2. Is all of the information I’m reading about chameleons (mostly veiled chams) applicable to an Indian Cham (chamaeleo zeylanicus) too?
  3. A friend told me that if I were to obtain a wild chameleon (the assumption being that this would be legal), then a wild Cham would be more self-sufficient because he would know how to hunt for himself and I could therefore more easily dump random live food into his 100 square foot ‘cage’ and he’d eventually find it himself. As opposed to a captive-bred Cham which would need more attention and ‘training’ in how to eat, so to speak. is there any truth to that?
  4. If my 100 square foot screened-in porch has a [screened] opening in the ceiling for the Cham to bask, will that be sufficient for him? I’d love to avoid buying lamps. Surely he’s alright if he’s basically living outside? Granted, there’s a cloudy part of the year (monsoon season) but if he’s an Indian Cham and therefore native to South India (see question 1), then surely this is something he’s designed for.
  5. If my 100 square foot screened-in porch has a [screened] opening in the ceiling for the Cham to get rainwater, and the average humidity in Bangalore is 60%+ (only dipping under 50% for a month or two) (https://weather-and-climate.com/average-monthly-Humidity-perc,bangalore,India), do I still need to get a mister? Do I still need to get a dropper? Most forums and FAQs advocate strongly for both, however the question tends to come from a North American context with a small indoor tank setup. Do my unique plans a geographic location change the typical answer to that question?
  6. Can chams get diseases that are harmful to humans?
  7. Are there any types of food that chams simply shouldn’t eat because they are outright poisonous to chams? (I have read some of the stuff about mice and other vertebra being hard on the kidneys; that’s not really what I’m asking.) In other words, if I find random creatures outside, like silk worms hanging from trees over the sidewalk, should I take mental note of any ‘dangerous’ things I shouldn’t take home and feed the Cham?
  8. Can chams hunt live food even when they’re babies?
  9. What are some good shows, videos, documentaries, or podcasts highlighting chameleons?
  10. It looks like there’s a whole element (or two) to this that I hadn’t considered; namely, feeding my live bait the right food (i.e. feeding crickets certain leaves) in order to carefully flush diseases before I feed them to my Cham. Another example is simply gardening and taking care of plants (beyond simply watering them). What are some good resources on these topics? Is it as daunting as it sounds?
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi there and welcome..

1. I have no idea. You will want to look into your local laws on this.

2. No, species requirements are based on the species and the specific location it comes from. So you can not assume one will work for another. You have to know specifics for the requirements of the species you decide to keep.

3. This is not true. They know how to hunt. It is the most basic instinct for their survival.

4. Your going to loose some UVI level coming through the screen. Anything that is glass will block it all together. You may want to consider lighting specifically if you end up with one that has different requirements then something local to the area.

5. I would still provide access to water. Just because they do not have it in the wild does not mean we want to mimic this exactly.. Take Veiled's that come from Yemen. They basically have one year in which they grow like crazy, reach maturity, mate, lay eggs, and they do this all before the dry season where they then start dying off due to harsh conditions. So obviously we that keep them in captivity want them to live to an old age. So we mimic proper hydration using fogging, misting, etc while providing food to ensure they are living a long healthy life.

6. Salmonella is the one that comes to mind.

7. Honestly mostly it is what are the insects feeding on that you have to be concerned with. Like Hornworms are not poisonous themselves but if they are feeding on tomato plants which are in the nightshade family this then makes them toxic to chams. Now there are some insects like lightening bugs that are toxic. Also are people spraying pesticides? If so you absolutely do not want to risk feeding them if their is that risk.

8. Yes, absolutely. It is hard wired into them to hunt hunt hunt. You can make it easier on them when they are young by feeding from feeder cups or feeder runs and locating these at basking level where they will spend most of their time.

9. There are some good books done by Arcadia reptile and the Author is John Courtney-Smith. The best Chameleon podcast that is full of info is www.chameleonbreeder.com

10. You can buy commercial gutloads as well. With feeders when they are not kept in a clean manner and their is cross contamination from other chams or reptiles is when you see most of the parasite issues. Crickets can be carriers of parasites. Buying feeders from a petstore with dirty conditions can be another way to get parasites with your feeders. It is a pretty common issue. It is just praying that if there is a parasite issue that it is one of the easy ones to get rid of and not one of the ones where you are basically worrying about reinfection for years to come.
 

nate65809

New Member
Thanks a lot @Beman !
Any more thoughts from anyone are welcome.

For what it’s worth, my heart behind numbers 4 and 5 is less about financial cost and more about saving energy/electricity. Running lights and misting machines all day long (especially outdoors) for the neighbors to see won’t make any sense to the very energy-conscious and environment-friendly cultural paradigm.
 

nate65809

New Member
@Beman I haven't gotten anywhere with this and wanted to revisit the idea. Screening in my porch isn't going to work in India due to the dust and constant screen-cleaning issues. However, someone suggested chicken wire, which could be a great idea (vines on the wire for climbing, more UVI exposure, etc.). Revisiting some of the above questions below:


6. How do you avoid this?

11. I reviewed some of my notes and realized that chams can also eat leaves. Hibiscus, etc. Is there a major downside to only feeding my cham leaves and, say, dried worms or something like that from the pet store? I'm asking because I'd like to a) avoid diseases, and b) be lazy about not having to take care of both a chameleon AND the things he's eating... I don't want to have 1 pet chameleon and 20 pet crickets too. Especially if they may cause disease. Thoughts?
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
Salmonella is carried by most birds, reptiles, and amphibians. It can't be avoided. The chance of getting it is super low, just wash your hands after handling them and you'll be fine. Even people that don't never seem to get it, though I wouldn't recommend that.

Chameleons that eat plants get little to no nutrition from them, it's just a habit of theirs for whatever reason. Not like a herbivore that benefits greatly from plant matter. They need the protein and fats that are found in insects. You will need to keep insects for a chameleon, no way around it.
 

JacksJill

Chameleon Enthusiast
If my 100 square foot screened-in porch has a [screened] opening in the ceiling for the Cham to bask, will that be sufficient for him? I’d love to avoid buying lamps. Surely he’s alright if he’s basically living outside? Granted, there’s a cloudy part of the year (monsoon season) but if he’s an Indian Cham and therefore native to South India (see question 1), then surely this is something he’s designed for.
If the screened in part is the only place he sees direct sunlight he will gravitate there to bask. However if there are places where sunlight comes thru glass he will be fooled into basking there instead and will miss out on the benefits of UVB blocked by the glass. UVB will pass thru clouds but to a lesser degree.
11 Having a chameleon means having their feeders as pets also. They are like the t rex in the Jurassic Park movies they don't see things that aren't alive and moving as prey. Cats eat leaves and grass but it isn't for nutrition. Chameleons eating leaves is probably more as a source of moisture or possibly a digestive aide.
 

nate65809

New Member
You will need to keep insects for a chameleon, no way around it.

Maybe too tough to answer...but do you think that enough insects might get into the chicken wire to keep him busy and fed? Is there a way to attract the right types of insects into my chicken-wired porch?
 

nate65809

New Member
Having a chameleon means having their feeders as pets also
Maybe too tough to answer...but do you think that enough insects might get into the chicken wire to keep him busy and fed? Is there a way to attract the right types of insects into my chicken-wired porch?
 

JacksJill

Chameleon Enthusiast
Sorry, no way to know from here . They do eat bees in the wild so plants that attract bees might help. I find the prospect of them depending on something with stingers intimidating.
 
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