Newbie, please be gentle

Yellowbeard

New Member
Hi all. First let me say that I am so glad for the internet because it allows for resources such as this one. I first became interested in getting a chameleon 20 years ago when I was starting college. There was no internet (or, rather, there was, but there weren't browsers nor huge communities of users) so I bought books on care and even built an enclosure when never got used. It turns out that I had probably gotten quite a bit of bad information anyway, so it's a good thing I didn't ever end up getting a live animal to try and live in what I had built.

Now, after much time, I am interested once again, but this time I have an ulterior motive. I am a biology teacher, and next year will be teaching integrated science (with a large biology component) at a junior high school (8th and 9th grades). I would like to have a chameleon in my classroom. However, my memory tells me that chameleons, being solitary, might be pretty stressed in a classroom environment.

Can you make recommendations about whether or not I could have a chameleon (which would NOT be handled by students, but would be in the room with students) in my classroom? If so, what species would be best? I always wanted a Panther or Jacksonii.

Any advice is very welcome. Thanks in advance for your help.
 

archristiana

New Member
not sure how it would work, students can be wreckles and curious, I know I was. I got caught messing around with my bio teachers pet hissing cockroaches, when she wasn't there. not Being able to observe the cham after you have left work for the day would be worrisome for any dedicated chameleon keeper.
 

erik775

Established Member
Idk if it would be ok to leave the cham there over the weekend with no misting or food...unless you'll have an enclosure for him at home also.so hes not left there over the weekend .as for jr high kids idk they can be wreckless...
 
each cham has a personality . some will be more tolerant then others...I have a panther BB AB and as long as he thinks he is not seen its fine..i put him outside on some dead branches I set up for him in eye site of a very large iguana and there doesn't even seem to be any stress..the dog barks and he goes incognito and mimics motion of the branch but still no darkening or anything....I was a curious student...probably why I have them now..my bio teacher had mushrooms everywhere!! I would not let the students handle him....just as curious as a student I was also a class clown and hellion... so to satisfy the urge to touch I would take him/her around and letting them see it...as for a cage I suggest medium to large behind your desk setup high with lots of branches and hiding spots of dence foliage to help ease stress all screen but I would put plexy glass on the door with a repti lock you should be fine and have a awesome looking class room
 

Yellowbeard

New Member
Would plan to do automatic misters, but I didn't realize I would have to personally feed every day. Not possible to just put in extra insects to eat over the weekend?

I would plan to have a large(ish) enclosure at the front of the room by my desk where I could keep an eye on things. Also, probably a lock on the cage and I basically never leave my room unlocked when I am not in there.

I think I could keep security fine, but feeding/etc over weekend was not something I had thought would be an issue. I was more worried about stress from being in an environment with lots of (likely loud) people around.

Thanks for the info so far.
 
loud in a class room is all directed to one general direction for the most part if you offset the cage to the direction of noise boom problem solved...misters can get messy without drainage...I slow drip on a fake/real plant with a small up underneath would solve the watering problem...at the pet store you have boxes of crickets they put out closer to closing like at pet smart or pet co...they are multi size..... there is a small tear spot on there that semi opens the box....if your cham eats large crickets get small or medium ones...so he cleans them up! and put a box in and tear it open on that spot so a few get out at a time...alittle dust in front of the box will take care of vits for the weekend and a couple fat worms when you get there Monday morning he will be fine...its very doable and if you cant find a box like that be creative and make your own..."YOU CAN DO IT!!" LOL
 

Simon1986

New Member
Chameleons are very hard of hearing as they have no outer ear vents so Sound doesn't effect them. I'd worry more about fast movements I had a male yemen in a low traffic room and he hates anything andanyone that moves at the moment. I'm aiming to take my female into my class of year 2 kids in a couple of weeks where I can have full control over the traffic
 
think about the traffic...in the door...to the seats... offset the cage to sound and traffic...a few bundles of fake plants to block the view and its fine....some dark hinding spots to run to even better...its so doable and im excited for you because I would have loved a crazy colorful cham in my class then some crazy poisonous mushrooms everywhere..you have a lucky group of kids...there were few teachers I care to remember but the one that did little things like thisis what makes the class memorable and you sir with your ideas will be remember and talked about from your students well after graduation
 

Coded

New Member
Humans: "The voiced speech of a typical adult male will have a fundamental frequency from 85 to 180 Hz, and that of a typical adult female from 165 to 255 Hz - Habitual speech average fundamental frequency ranges in 75–150 Hz for men and 150–300 Hz for women."

Chameleons: "they can detect sound frequencies in the range of 200–600 Hz"

I don't think sound would be that problematic....but I am no expert on chameleons.
 

Djturna4thakidz

Established Member
In my opinion there are better reptiles and amphibians to have in a classroom. Chameleons require a lot of time and careful observation. Some are not friendly and can bite or snap at hands/fingers. I have heard stories of it working out for short periods of time but I think it will be a lot of work. They will need to be fed everyday as a juvenile, possible multiple times a day if they are finicky. They require a variety of feeders that need to be gut loaded with high calcium diets. Foods also need to be dusted with calcium and other vitamins. And all these actions need to be scheduled. It is not as hard as it sounds but it is very time consuming. Good luck
 
don't over think it buddy. you will be fine as for cleaning...you have your teachers pets that are more responsible then others..make them clean it lol...it is ok to feed without calc for a couple days especially if your feeding all the other 5 days of the week. and feeding a mix of roaches or crickets and some fatty worms. some people on here will be brutal at times but we have seen some real bad pics of neglect on here so that sways in there comments....ur a biology teacher you got this
 

UrbanChameleon

New Member
I'm pretty sure there are a few forum members that keep a Chameleon in their classroom. You definitely wouldn't be the first. Maybe they will chime in at some point.

You could keep the Chameleon by your desk at work, that way the students will be less inclined to bother it. If it were me, I would make sure to have an "always ready" enclosure at home. When health problems arise, it's best to make sure the Chameleon has the least amount of stress possible. Think of every problematic situation, and have a solution in place.

Do what you think is best. There are teachers who have successfully kept a classroom Chameleon, but keep in mind the age differences/maturity levels in the kids. Obviously you could explain that the animal is solitary, and very sensitive. Have a list of rules next to the cage on the wall, and go through the list with the students. Also, I would be very cautious about leaving students unattended with the animal present. Kids can be very curious. You'll definitely want to think about weekends, vacations, and days when you may need a substitute teacher. It would be ideal if you could take the Chameleon home with you on those occasions. Keep in mind that it is very difficult to find a competent "babysitter" for a Chameleon. Even people that keep other reptiles can have a hard time grasping the amount of care these little guys require. So that is another issue to think about.

To answer the species question.. it all depends on the individual animal. I've often heard Jackson's are usually more relaxed, while with a Panther/Veiled you will be taking a gamble. With both of my Panther Chameleons, I specified to the breeder that I wanted the animal to have a calm attitude. It worked out wonderfully, and both ended up being very sweet. That won't guarantee the animal will continue to be comfortable with you into adulthood, but it strengthens your chances. Having a tree outside of the cage (free range) seems to work very well. It's all luck of the draw, but you can do certain things to increase your chances. Go with whichever species interests you, and deal with a reputable breeder. You can check out the site sponsors, and ask forum members for recommendations if you can't decide which one to go with. Feel free to send me a PM if you have any questions. We are here to help. :)
 
I am a fourth grade teacher, and I have a panther chameleon in my classroom.

If your chameleon is healthy and you acclimate him at a young age, he will be fine. Most students will not harm an animal, so I wouldn't worry about that. Just teach them that this isn't a dog or cat, and they will respect him. I would say panther or veiled is your best bet. You don't have to feed an adult chameleon every day. Having said that, I take mine home on the weekends because I don't have a mister at school and I just don't like leaving him there. :)
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
To answer the species question.. it all depends on the individual animal. I've often heard Jackson's are usually more relaxed, while with a Panther/Veiled you will be taking a gamble.

I wouldn't describe jackson's as being more "relaxed", but rather as showing their stress in a different manner than a veiled or panther might. They are more of a flight not fight species. Does NOT mean they don't get stressed, just that they hide or try to escape instead of bluff or bite.

Given their higher sensitivity to temps and humidity I would not suggest a jax for a classroom unless you can really automate and control the cage environment all year, weekends and weekdays. A classroom is more at the mercy of large building heating and cooling and may not be suited for it.
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
Would plan to do automatic misters, but I didn't realize I would have to personally feed every day. Not possible to just put in extra insects to eat over the weekend?

An adult cham can go a day or so without eating if it can make up the nutrition during the week. You could leave more insects in the cage for the weekend as long as they are confined some way (so they don't just hide, get hungry and possibly chew on your cham at night) and have access to gutload. Insects groom off their supplement dusts pretty quickly, and will lose their gutload as they metabolize their stomach contents.

I like to confine feeders to some sort of plastic storage box instead of the typical bowl. Put a perch near the rim so the cham can shoot from the rim. And, I put a bit of fresh gutload in with them. They can move around and attract the cham's attention so it can hunt at leisure. But, you'll have to be careful where you put the container if you use auto misting. You can end up with insect soup if the spray can get it to the box. Yucky!
 

Lovereps

Avid Member
I wouldn't describe jackson's as being more "relaxed", but rather as showing their stress in a different manner than a veiled or panther might. They are more of a flight not fight species. Does NOT mean they don't get stressed, just that they hide or try to escape instead of bluff or bite.

Given their higher sensitivity to temps and humidity I would not suggest a jax for a classroom unless you can really automate and control the cage environment all year, weekends and weekdays. A classroom is more at the mercy of large building heating and cooling and may not be suited for it.

I'll second all of this and ....
Jackson's will often "shut down" as a stress reaction when they can't escape a human "predator"--which looks like they are being calm--instead of biting.

A cham for your home and a nice, hearty, Bearded Dragon for the classroom would be my suggestions.
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
I'll second all of this and ....
Jackson's will often "shut down" as a stress reaction when they can't escape a human "predator"--which looks like they are being calm--instead of biting.

A cham for your home and a nice, hearty, Bearded Dragon for the classroom would be my suggestions.

Another possibility is to bring your cham to your classroom on visits (once you know your particular cham's personality) rather than house it there. Some chams might not get used to a weekly cage switch.

I think a classroom beardie would be great! They are diurnal, large, active, and easy to observe in a desert setup. Most of them seem to thrive on attention and get interested in commotion to watch.
 

LLLReptile

Established Member
Site Sponsor
I will chime in that it depends immensely on the personality of the chameleon. Find one that is nice and outgoing, provide it with plenty of foliage and cover, and that combined with a misting system for weekends should have you fairly set.

Adult chams could skip the weekend for food, especially if well fed during the week. Captive chameleons are often a bit on the chunky side and can often get picky from such easy food offerings, so routinely skipping a couple days may have the benefit of keeping your cham's appetite sharp. That'll keep it willing to eat a variety of prey items :)

I would take plenty of time to find a nice, outgoing chameleon. I've encountered several customers with wonderfully outgoing panthers that they would bring into the store, and we've often had large adults in the stores (which can be quite high traffic) that continued to thrive even while on display.

Lastly, I'd make sure you can lock your cage somehow. I am no teacher, nor have I worked with classrooms full of kids day in and day out, but my experience with middleschoolers in the stores is that if they can get away with something, they will. Stealing, poking the animals, putting things in the cage that shouldn't be there, over feeding, etc, not always malicious (such as overfeeding) but definitely potential problems. For the sake of the chameleon and the kids, make it impossible for them to mess with it without your direct supervision.

Good luck! I don't remember if I saw where in the country you're located, but if you're in Southern California come down to one of the stores, we'll help you pick out a good one. Loren and I both also visit classrooms and regularly do boy scout tours through the stores, so if you're local, take advantage of having us come in to show the kids even more cool animals :)

-Jen
 
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