The Chameleon Community Makes No Progress...

CNorton

Avid Member
**DISCLAIMER: This is my opinion and it is not directed at any one person or not meant to be directed at anyone. This is me being opinionated but I can't take credit for this opinion...many keepers greater than I shared this with me.**

It is great that in this day of information, someone can buy a Veiled Chameleon from a major chain Petstore, receive completely inappropriate care information, and come to the internet to correct their husbandry practices/equipment. We have Veileds and Panthers pretty well covered now.

The most common keeper will have success with a Veiled, Panther, or maybe even a Jackson and think "Hey, I can keep anything!" So they start buying WC (wild-caught) chameleons left and right...no pairs of any one species but several species and mostly males. Why? Because they are enamored by the many awesome species available for sale. So why is this harmful? Well, it wouldn't be so bad if the keeper could keep them all alive. But what typically happens is the chameleon will receive inadequate or inappropriate care because their needs are different from the only other species the keeper knows (Veiled Panther etc.) Keeper gets discouraged and either goes back to the common species or quits the hobby altogether.

Okay, now you're thinking I'm just bitter and negative. Well, maybe I used to be...but now I'm hopeful. Why, you ask? Because I'm hopeful. Several veteran keepers have shared with me an important vision that I believe needs to be shared publicly:

Focus on one species at a time!! Learn it, study it, know it. Get your husbandry techniques fine-tuned. Know your chameleon's natural healthy weight. Know how that chameleon species exhibits stress. Know your species coloration for being gravid or receptive. Learn to acclimate WCs and how to deparasitize safely. Have medications on hand before your cham gets sick. Know how much your cham eats without overfeeding it. Recognize the eating patterns in winter vs. summer. Learn to sex the neonates.

Study successful incubation conditions BEFORE you breed. Chances are, someone has done it before you and they probably documented it somewhere. If the information doesn't show up with all your crafty Google or Bing searches...it's probably in a book. Not listed on Amazon? Try half.com. Did you try old CiN articles? Chameleonnews.com? Not there? Keep looking, it's probably somewhere even MORE obscure...like a scientific journal!

Here's the bottom line: We are not going to make any progress as a collective Chameleon Loving Community if a few individuals don't dedicate themselves to a less common species and BECOME THE EXPERT on that species. Don't just become the expert, share your knowledge. Resist the urge to collect 10 different species and "juggle" to keep them all alive. I suggest keeping 10 chameleons of one or two species. The end goal should be a captive population that you can share with others in your area or country. This reduces importation from the wild and ultimately benefits the community by providing a more reliable (and local) source of healthy chameleons.
 

jojackson

New Member
The most common keeper will have success with a Veiled, Panther, or maybe even a Jackson and think "Hey, I can keep anything!" So they start buying WC (wild-caught) chameleons left and right...no pairs of any one species but several species and mostly males.
Thats a bit of a leap, but no doubt some will, given the numbers of keepers in US, CA, UK etc, thats to be expected while ever the importation of those species is legal, it was bound to happen, but good message and good thinking too. I agree. :)
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
Good post!

You said..."It is great that in this day of information, someone can buy a Veiled Chameleon from a major chain Petstore, receive completely inappropriate care information, and come to the internet to correct their husbandry practices/equipment"...it also bothers me that there is so much bad information floating around on the net too. People don't know which information is correct and which will kill their chameleon.


"Focus on one species at a time!! Learn it, study it, know it. Get your husbandry techniques fine-tuned"....excellent idea! Even focusing on a couple of species at a time would be okay IMHO.

"Study successful incubation conditions BEFORE you breed"...it would certainly help. It will give the basics...but more study/experimenting may need to be done for some of the species that have not been hatched yet.

You said..."share your knowledge"...this is something I have always believed in doing!
 

laurie

Retired Moderator
Chad you have summarized what I am trying to do. I will have at most 3 different chameleons and maybe only 2. What I won't do is get rid of a couple of other/older chams. I have a 7 year old panther, only 1 way he will leave me:(. I plan to have quads, tavs and maybe tenuis. That is all. I do love lots of other and would love to keep bunches of them. Problem being, I can't really learn lots of chameleons deeply as far as all aspects of health, habitat, food, ect. if I over extend. It is a hard choice but one I am dedicated to doing.


So now that all of you know what I want/need feel free to help locate them.
 
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jojackson

New Member
Id have to build huge climate controlled chameleon greenhouse/hotels if I could keep all the species Id like to! I'd love to keep some pygmys if anything, quads too, did you see Harrys?
Awesome! :)

Dont say anything, let me Dream huh? :D
 

sixstring

New Member
Very well written. I think conservation should be emphasized more often and to a great extent.
I think someone needs to print "Petco sucks" t-shirts and sell them to other people who truly understand what the statement represents. I've got a feeling a lot of people would be asking about it.
 

laurie

Retired Moderator
Id have to build huge climate controlled chameleon greenhouse/hotels if I could keep all the species Id like to! I'd love to keep some pygmys if anything, quads too, did you see Harrys?
Awesome! :)

Dont say anything, let me Dream huh? :D
Did I see Harry's??? I hatched one of Harry's:D:D
 

sagemoon2004

New Member
Totally agree with all points made! Even as a newbie to the cham world, i have always researched all aspects of any pet i have owned, and that is many types from exotic to domestic. The hours i spend on here to educate myself are SO important and valuable, essential to being a responsible keeper of live beings. I often have that moral dilemna, is it fair to keep animals in cages, keep purchasing them and supporting capital enterprises based on captivity? (Which also perpetuates compulsive buyers, who then kill animals based on ignorance or mis-information.) It can justified to a degree, IF done responsibly, or in the case of chams, to protect the wild ones or for the continuation of chams that are losing their natural habitat. It is so painful and sickening to see all the cries for help after purchases, great when people listen to advice, terrible when it is too late. This is a well written post, and I commend you on speaking out! These beautiful creatures are so intriguing, I hope the cham community CAN make progress. I so appreciate all the experienced keepers on here sharing their knowledge and ideas....
 

jojackson

New Member
Did I see Harry's??? I hatched one of Harry's:D:D
So perhaps the two of you are conspiring to drive me insane with jealousy now huh? I think it was a male, I may be wrong, boy it was incredible, miniature living-in-the-flesh dinosaur!
Every Little boys Dream! (big ones too):D
 

Julirs

New Member
While I agree entirely with the OP, and actually always thought I would kind of end up working with 1 or 2 species and still do, I think the fact that I have worked with multiple animals of multiple species had given me great insight into chameleon keeping and chameleon behavior as a whole. Luckily, living in Florida makes it pretty easy to keep a variety of species due to the humidity and weather overall. I have for over 3 years kept Veileds, Panthers, Mellers, Oustalets, and Kinyongia multituberculata side by side. The only major difference being in the wattage of the basking bulb. All are thriving, and some are 4+ years, and many are 3+ years old. I have bred and hatched a few generations of Veileds and Brev. Pygs, along with single generations of Panthers. I will be going into my 5th year breeding Veileds, Panthers, and hopefully Multi's and Mellers-if I am so lucky enough to find a CB or CH confirmed male Mellers, and am looking forward to the arrival of another species, an Elliot's, for which I would like to find a male. I guess "when I grow up" I will settle down and pick the chameleon I would like to seriously study, and I am certain it will not be Veileds or Panthers. One thing is for certain, I am happy to document and share my knowledge as I always have.
 

laurie

Retired Moderator
While I agree entirely with the OP, and actually always thought I would kind of end up working with 1 or 2 species and still do, I think the fact that I have worked with multiple animals of multiple species had given me great insight into chameleon keeping and chameleon behavior as a whole. Luckily, living in Florida makes it pretty easy to keep a variety of species due to the humidity and weather overall. I have for over 3 years kept Veileds, Panthers, Mellers, Oustalets, and Kinyongia multituberculata side by side. The only major difference being in the wattage of the basking bulb. All are thriving, and some are 4+ years, and many are 3+ years old. I have bred and hatched a few generations of Veileds and Brev. Pygs, along with single generations of Panthers. I will be going into my 5th year breeding Veileds, Panthers, and hopefully Multi's and Mellers-if I am so lucky enough to find a CB or CH confirmed male Mellers, and am looking forward to the arrival of another species, an Elliot's, for which I would like to find a male. I guess "when I grow up" I will settle down and pick the chameleon I would like to seriously study, and I am certain it will not be Veileds or Panthers. One thing is for certain, I am happy to document and share my knowledge as I always have.

I am happy that people like you are around as you coach so many people and save so many chameleons. That is way up on the list of helping grow the body of chameleon knowledge. Kudos!!
 

laurie

Retired Moderator
So have I missed the location on this website where care info for the less common(more difficult?) species is posted??
It is posted all over this forum. You ask about any chameleon and you will find lots of us who will step up to the plate and help you with any and all questions. We will also point to to articles and info. That is just what we do here.
 

sixstring

New Member
It is posted all over this forum. You ask about any chameleon and you will find lots of us who will step up to the plate and help you with any and all questions. We will also point to to articles and info. That is just what we do here.
This is true!
 

eisentrauti

Avid Member
Let's say it a bit more exactly: The US Chameleon Community makes no progress... the only progress I see are the few people who start to have some success with parsoniis, but everything else beside pardalis and calyptratus fails massively...the USA is the biggest consumer of WC animals but the results created by this mass of animals of potential breeder animals is miserable
This shouldnt be provoking, here in Europe the situation isnt much better but in general we have here much more success with some special species. The only thing where the USA is leading are the "highend" designer reptiles which are in my opinion a bunch of incest animals created by guys who mainly see many $s in a new pattern...
 

jannb

Chameleon Enthusiast
Chad I totally agree except for we still see people killing veileds and panthers all the time too. The keepers with mulitply species have allot of death from the ones that don't make it also.
 
by reading this thread, i thought i would share my views and experiences. first off, id like to say that so much of what the OP and other keepers and have discussed is 100% agreeable. it usually isn't untill a new owner gets back from the pet store and starts to fail miserablly because of false info. we know what the OP said and for that i agree.

in regards to experience, i WAS one of those people who just jumped into getting a chameleon, and bought one for my girlfriends birthday, it was from that point i myself got hooked. but i can be added to the list of ones vouching pet stores and most online care sheets are terrible. complications came, and unfortunately, we found chamforums.com too late.

i then bought my own baby veiled chameleon, Kiwi. after raising Kiwi for 6 or so months, i bought a pair of WC brevs. and shortly after the brevs, i bought Tom my K Multi. after understanding each individual chameleon and their needs, and after helping mine through complications (edema and URI in my veiled, and major vitamin, calcium and malnuritment defiencies in my K Multi) determining issues, gravid behavior, husbandry problems, remedies, etc; it broadens the basic understanding of almost every aspect in exotic keeping.

i have raised all of my chameleons now solely on the knowledge, friendships, and experiences from chameleonforums.com, and can say i am more than comfortable with what this site has to offer. i also have 2 gecko species and an amphibian species that i captivate aswell, and all are healthy except my veiled who is still recovering but recovering well.

if it wasnt for common sence some of the older members give us, the information and care we show eachother, i'd have nothing but dead chams on my hands, and for that, cheers and thanks for all of the help
 

Julirs

New Member
Most of my losses have been Panthers and Veileds. And most of those were females. Almost all of those were from reproductive issues beyond my control. Some of these were from piss poor breeding and care from previous owners. Others were because I did alot of rescue for awhile, taking in animals with severe issues the owners were not able to care for. It is also simple math, the more you keep, the more you will lose.
 
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CNorton

Avid Member
Benny, it seems like you like to make quite a few threads into the US is not good at this or that and Europe has better this...

I think several American keepers have had success with some of the more difficult species. Quads, cristatus, multituberculata, the list goes on. Even oustalet's in the Classifieds section!



Of these successes, I'm somewhat disappointed in the feedback from the keepers. I'd love to hear more about both "what works and what doesn't" especially incubation techniques. It just seems like so many of us take this hobby as a competition and refuse to share our "secrets." For what? It can't be for money because no one is getting rich breeding any of the exotic species. Not even parsonii yet. Hopefully others will chime in on this thread.
 
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