New to chameleons


New Member
Hi everyone, im new to owning a chameleon and have brought one today i just have a few questions to make sure he is comfortable and happy.

The housing temp is at 34C and the humidity is at 70.

Do both lights need to be switched of at night?
Also the front two pieces of glass is a little steamed up any way i can sort this?

His housing consists of: A wooden, glass fronted vivarium measuring, 24" x 18" x 18" (60cm x 45cm x 45cm)
Bark mixed with coir plus moss.

Diet: Crickets how many time a week/day?

Thanks for any info! :D
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Welcome Carl.

To really give you any information on species specific recommendations could you post a couple other things.

What species is it?
What age is it?
If you do not know the age what is the length from vent (base of the tail) to snout?
Do you have a flourescent bulb that is producing uvB if so how much?

I do not usually use celcius but I believe that is over 70 degrees and will be adaquite for the time being. Chameleons come from different places and elevations. Some in high dense rainforest. Some in more or less deserts. Specifics will be based on where they are from. Some species tolerate more the others. Sexing is a must to. Depending on the species will depend on how this is done. Most chameleons lay eggs so special preperations will have to be taken. If you can get a picture of the chameleon and set-up that could help to know if you are doing any thing that is cause for concern.
Hi thanks for you reply and welcome. :)

Heres some more information and pictures to help as im not too sure on some things right now.

Species: Chamaeleo calptratus (Yemen so i heard from a few others)
Habitat: Southern Yemen
Age: 10 Weeks old

uvB light yes not sure how to explain it but its 14W. Picture may help.
The temp is 90F by the basking area with heat lamp and uvB and drops to about low 70's high 60's for night with no lights on.


Plants With Heat and uvB Light on:

Housing with Heating Light on:

Sorry about the images my webcam isnt too good and dont have a setup for my digital cam right now.

I have an explanation for the condensation, could it be with the moss and Bark mixed being moist?

Also im a little worried about him eating he has food (Crickets) but doesnt seem to bother maybe its becuase its a new place or could it be he just inst hungry?


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Hi Carl, welcome to the forums. My first suggestion would be to get the bark and moss out of the vivarium. The best substrate for a cham is NO substrate. You run a risk of him shooting for food and ingesting moss or bark which will ultimately kill him/her. A question...what size crickets are you using? It may be that the crickets are too big for that tiny guy. Looks like he would be eating flies and maybe bitty little pinhead crickets. As for your question about the lights...yes, they need to go off at night since chams do sleep at night and need the rest and quiet. Make sure he is in a quiet place, if he's in a noisy place, this could cause him not to eat also. If you just got him today, he will probably need a few days to acclimate. Also, get him a cham friendly plant/small tree to climb on. Chams prefer to be above eye level. If you have him too low, it will stress him out. And try not to handle him. Chams are meant for looking at...not handling. Think of him as a piece of art work. Occassional handling is okay, but not all the time.
My 2 cents for what they are worth. Best of luck to you.
To start off with a little obscure knowledge. The word chamaeleo comes from two words in latin. "Chami" means geo (Earth). The word "leo" means lion. The word calyptratus means with helmet or with crown depending upon who is the translator. Translation of the name would then be Earth lion with crown. I like the crown one better. The reason it is called a Yemen chameleon is simple that is where they are found. Commonly you will here that they are from Yemen and Saudi Arabia. This is not exactly true. There are two sub species. The chamaeleo calyptratus calcarifer. They are in Saudi Arabia. The chamaeleo calyptratus calyptratus is from Yemen. They are the only one available on the market at this time. That is what kind you have. The two notable differences would be that the calcarifer has a smaller casque and differing color patterns. There is a natural divide of these two sub species in the mountains on the border.

I tried to just write a recommendation to spruce up your set-up but found that I did not even understand what I was talking about when I reread it. So I grabbed an extra aquarium I had lying around and took a picture.
View attachment 544
Something like this would be adaquite for your chameleon. You can go outside and collect some branches. These are free. Take them inside and clean them with light soap and water. Rinse them well and allow them to air dry. You can break them apart to various sizes and put them in the cage. Wedging them in or leaning works well. Once you get a couple in there you can drap some on top of them. Most of the time when drapping them they will be secure when you consider how light your chameleon is but if you do not feel comfortable with that use some twist ties. They come with garbage bags alot of times so you may have some for free already. You can buy these or wire ties if you do not. Again if you do not feel comfortable with the sturdyness. I assume that the fake folliage you have can be seperated. You can drap these to in various locations around the cage to provide your chameleon with multiple hiding places. I would recommend making them denser then mine. I only could find three. Honestly if you could get your cage around 70-80 I would not even worry about the basking bulb for awhile. Instead make sure that you have some branches close to the flourescent. They will bask there instead and this will ensure that they are getting adaquite uvB exposure. I assume that you are using the bowl to feed your chameleon. At that age it is a good idea. The young ones sometimes have trouble finding food. This will ensure that they know where to get it. Most chameleon owners hate substrate. I would not use it at that age or in an enclousure that does not provide good air circulation. Yours does not provide that good of air circulation but really for the next couple months that is okay for them. It is easier with young ones to have a stabilied enviroment to ensure their health. I think with a couple changes and possibly another day your chameleon will be eating good.
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Great information thanks guys just a few things. He is eating now (day2) I went to put in his clean water and installing a drip system and he snatched up a cricket.

After this he went back to his basking area and he turned grey/black for about 2/3mins and making some funny stomache movements is the color activity normal after feeding.

Also about bowl feeding i put some crickets in his enclousure but the roam freely maybe i should bowl feed him like you say at his young age.

One last question, sometimes he sits with his mouth open i was told it could mean aggression or being overheated is this true?

Ok i have my cam setup here are some pictures of his housing/enclousure. The last photo has circle around my chameleon, he loves that plant for some reason he just sits there. Maybe because it close to the uvB light.

Ok as i said above after he ate the first cricket his stomache sucked in looking like he was crushing it inside, he also turned a blacky color for 2/3mins. Later on after i changed his housing adding more plants and other features he ate another cricket this time it seem to go fine no color changing and no weird stomache movement. He seems to be wondering around alot more now on his second day.

Maybe from the pictures you guys could tell me if its suitable or what could be changed for him to be happier.


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If he sits with his mouth open it is either a respirotry infection or overheating. The evaporating saliva cools the incoming air and that in turn cools the body.
I think he likes the plant because its the highest place in the terrarium.

I think you should put in more branches and plants like Jordan already mentioned. Not to close to the basking bulb though, you don´t want him to get burned.

You can find a list of recommended plants here:

You have alot of good suggestions in the old replies, like get rid of the substrate etc.
Great thanks guys this is very helpful. Is there anything that i could replace the substate with? I dont want him to walk around on the bottom as it might be abit too smooth or would that be ok?

As for branches yea im fitting some in along with a misting system and better heating system's.

Is there a humidity that is too high for this species mines currently at 80-90 i was wondering if this is too high?

Once again thanks you have been very helpful muchly apprecaite it.
For substrate I use newpaper. It´s sheep =), easy to change and it soke up some water (if you don´t have a drainage system).

80-90 is good when you just have misted. And then it could drop to like 50 in between.

Here is a pic on my setup:

Maybe you can get some ideas from there (or maybe I get some advises :D )

Here is a good link with general chameleoncare:
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Great thanks, also the link for your setup doesnt seem to work. Thanks for the link and advice.
Wow, that looks great and so much room for him/her to walk around in. Looks great i love it im gonna have to get one of those enclosures.

Thanks for the pic.
I dont want him to walk around on the bottom as it might be abit too smooth or would that be ok?

I can see from the photos you posted that you set up a really neat and attractive enclosure. But remember, chameleons are arboreal creatures, which means that they live in, and enjoy climbing in trees.

You DON'T WANT them walking around the bottom: that is not natural for them.
So all the substrate and small plants that you've placed on the bottom of your enclosure is really wasted, and will only make it harder to clean the enclosure (at the very worst, with all the humidity, it could even promote the growth of bacteria).

As long as you provide enough branches and taller plants for the cham to CLIMB in, you never have to worry about a smooth surface on the bottom, because he will never walk down there anyway.

I look forward to seeing the new enclosure that you set up.
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