Yemon chameleon newbie Qs!


New Member
well i have been reading around for ages and i am going to get a yemen cham, i have a few questions.

I have a 24"x12"x12" fish tank could i flip it up so its 24" tall and cover the front with mesh (i know aquariums are not used because of ventalation) but its just a thought. i would use that until it gets bigger.

or i can use a small one of these

then upgrade to that one then up to the 260.

Would a 60W light bulb in a bayonet socket be ok for a basking spot?
Would a coil or strip UV light be best?
There are about 15 crickets for £2 at my LFS but this seems very high, is it?

Could someone give me a list of things im going to need to buy and maybe some web sites please,

Thanks very much
Would this be ok to start up a chameleon?



with a 60 watt bulb for a heat spot (would that work?)

As for running water are the waterfalls any good?

I will also have decor but thats just for the basics

(does anyone have any good websites where i can get a cham from? Im very reluctant to get one from the pet shop)

THanks very much

For UV lights, the best on the market are the ZooMed Reptisun flourescent bulbs. Buy a 5.0 bulb like this,, and you won't go wrong. (But try to get one that is as long as the width of your cage - not necessarily the 15" that is offered on that site).

The Flexarium is fine as a starter cage for a young cham, but just be aware that the photo on that site makes the cage look a lot brighter than it is - in actual fact, that black mesh is pretty dark, and doesn't allow much light in our out. A lot of the other mesh cages on the market allow for better visibility of the cham, and for better UVB transmission.
(Some people recommend Reptisun 10.0 bulbs if you're using a Flexarium).

Don't bother with this. It looks plastic. You need something that can withstand more heat and wattage (even if you're not using a high wattage bulb) - there is no sense creating a fire hazard.
Rather get something that is porcelain/ceramic, like this: (I'm sure you'd find it cheaper at a hardware store though).

with a 60 watt bulb for a heat spot (would that work?)
It isn't possible to recommend the correct wattage. What you actually need to get is a good digital thermometer with a probe, so that you can measure the actual temperature at the basking spot. Then you simply move the bulb closer or further away until the basking spot is in the right temperature range (just don't move the bulb too close to the cage because you'll melt the mesh of the cage or possibly burn the chameleon).

As for running water are the waterfalls any good?
No, they're no good. The chameleons won't drink from them (they'll just poop in them), and they'll simply be a breeding ground for bacteria, and a place for feeder insects to drown.
Just get a mister, and make sure the cage has good drainage.

I will also have decor but thats just for the basics
By decor, I assume you mean plants. Plants are very important in chameleon cages. The cage must be DENSELY planted to give the chameleon many hiding spots to make it feel secure. Also, the leaves provide a place for water droplets from the mister to settle where the cham can drink them.
And live plants are far superior to fake ones, since the live plants also aid in keeping the humidity up.
So a mesh tank will be ok for my chameleon? i am using the 36 or 38 4got, until its bigger and i can get the 260. About the lights i need 1 heat and 1 UV light right? I would need to use Plastic plants as i wouldnt really be able to care for live plants.

I would need,

- mesh cage
- UV light and starter
- Heat lamp and starter
- plastic plants and branches
- spray bottle (spray 3 times a day?)
- eletronic temp
- crickets and mealworms
- chameleon

am i missing anything?

You need to start culturing a lot more varieties of feeder insects than just crickets and mealworms.
How old of a cham are you planning to start with?
The basking light is not necessary with a very young cham and can actually be hazardous as they are not good at thermoregulating.
Live plants are not a choice...they are ESSENTIAL ! In my opinion if you are not able to care for plants in a will the chameleon fare?
These are without question the most specific and difficult reptiles to keep in captivity.
This is a very advanced project and will require a lot of time and money and much more research before you obtain your animal.
Go to the search option on this forum and enter specific topics for a great amount of good why waterfall are about the worst thing you could put in a cham enclosure.

Have been doing so, I didnt want to have live plants as its one more thing to care for but if they are essential then i spose im going to have to get some. Im not sure of age as im still looking around but 3-6 weeks is a common age i have seen. So without a heat lamp where is it getting heat from? UV bulbs dont generate heat right? I have no idea where im going to get live viv plants are there any hardy species?

Here's another good site that Tygerr posted on another thread...

Plants need to be non-toxic (like pothos, hibiscus) and well-washed both sides of the leaves.

Appropriate basking temperatures are important for good digestion. Baby chameleons have small bodies (obviously) that can heat and dehydrate quicker than adults can, so its important to keep their temperatures a little more moderate.

Exposure to UVB light from either UVB tube lights or sunlight allows the chameleon to produce vitamin D3 which allows it to use the calcium in its diet. The UVB should NOT pass through glass or plastic.

I dust the insects before feeding them to the chameleon with a phosphorous-free calcium powder at most feedings because most feeder insects have a poor ratio of calcium to phos.

I dust with a vitamin powder twice a month. The vitamin powder I use has a beta carotene source of vitamin A. Beta carotene sources of vitamin A won't cause an overdose but PREformed vitamin A can. There is some controversy as to whether chameleons can convert beta carotene to preformed vitamin A though, so some people give their chameleons a little preformed once in a while. Excess preformed vitamin A can prevent the D3 from doing its job and lead to MBD.

Since my chameleons only get exposure to UVB from tube lights, I also dust twice a month with a phos.-free calcium/D3 powder. D3 from SUPPLEMENTS can build up in the system, so caution is advised.

Insects should be fed a nutritious diet and gutloaded before being fed to the chameleon. There is a well known gutload on ADCHAM. (You were already given the address.)

Hydration is important too. Babies should be misted several times a day. Drippers can be used for older chameleons but I don't use them with babies because I worry about water being aspirated from drops that are too large.

If you get a female, its important to provide a place for her to lay eggs once she is 5 months old. Veiled females don't have to be mated to produce eggs.
If you overfeed a veiled female once she is old enough to lay eggs you will likely end up with large clutches and it could be hard on your female.

This is just a drop in the bucket regarding what you need to know before you keep a chameleon. If you are worried about the extra work of keeping live plants in the cage....take a close look at all the other work you will have to do to have a healthy chameleon. If you aren't willing to put the effort in, you will likely end up with a chameleon that becomes sick and needs to go to a vet.

MBD, URI's, mouth rot, renal disease and a number of other health issues can arise if the husbandry isn't right.
thanks for such an imformative post, as you can tell i am a complete newbie and my first decition was to come on here and get some advice (im not one for buying a pet without research) and find out all what i need to know to get me off to the best poss start. i just read that live plants were optional and thought they wernt needed. I wasn't worried about the work really i thought it would be 1 less thing on my mind. I am giving myself a month before i make any chameleon buys which will also give me time to save up some more money. Also i can get a 6 week old yemen from a breeder (i think, waiting on details) for £30 as they breed them regualrly, good deal?
I must just say im not a complete nut job who will go out and buy a cham and stick it in a shoe box. The last thing i would want was for an animal to be in danger (physicaly and mentaly) and if i thought for 1 second i couldn't provide it with the proper care and atention it deservs, i would never buy one. I have lots of animals (fish (fw and sw) dogs, tortoise, corn snake etc) abd i would never have got any if i felt i couldn't provide for them.

Sorry to drag on i just dont want people to think i would give a cham a bad life and wouldnt care for it, its one reason why i joined here is to educate myself and give the cham the best poss life. This site has been a great help in the 4 or so hours i have been joined and i hope i stick around.

(i wasnt saying anyone was telling me i cant look after animals by the way)


I hope you stick around too.
You will learn a lot here. When you start to feel like your getting
to be an expert is when you'll somehow be reminded you don't know much at all. That's what's so great about having this forum...we all constantly learn and help each other out.
But please don't get offended when someone shoots straight, we're all very nice here but we'll tell it like it is.
In the short time I've been a member I've read about a lot of sick, dying and dead chameleons...quite often there were mistakes in husbandry,,,people didn't know or they didn't take us seriously.
Pet shops have proven to give the worst advice and care instructions.
This is why I worry and tell people to research...I did not make a judgement about you...I tell it to everyone!

i would much rather people 'shoot straight' than say nothing and me get the wrong information. im going to read a load more on here today. My local reptile store (LRS) are the most stupid bunch of people ever. They were selling a rats to a woman to feed a corn snake, and they sell monkey's (I dont know if there legal,) my neighbour is ready to report them though. Maybe if i do to they will do something quicker.

Well thanks for the help!
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