By Prehistoric Folks
Hey there! We don't usually do this, but this time we feel like it's a necessary evil.
If you are planning to get a chameleon, we really believe you should read this.
Chameleons are not easy pets to care for. They are hard to maintain, incredibly tender, and very aloof.
You might have seen videos in which YouTubers, celebrities, and peoples of all kinds handle their chameleons with no problem whatsoever, maybe they even carry them around in their shoulder. The sad reality, however, is that chameleons (on a general basis) are not nearly as friendly as that. The vast majority of chameleons will not let you handle them, and will even make an effort to stay hidden from you.
Additionally, chameleons are a very high maintenance pet. They require a fairly large enclosure, daily misting, and rather expensive equipment.
With that said, if you still think chameleons are for you, and you're willing to properly house and care for one, here is our chameleon care sheet. We hope you enjoy it and find it of use!
All chameleons require a set of basic materials and conditions, so why don't we start with those?
Chameleons require as much humidity as they do ventilation. The enclosure you provide them must at least have one screened side (and ideally be fully made of screen), or else your chameleon risks developing a R.I.
Your chameleon will mainly feed off of insects (e.g. cockroaches, mealworms, super worms, and crickets). I personally recommend supplying them a lot of roaches, since they are filled with proteins. You should feed your adult chameleon every other day.
Every time you feed your chameleon, you should soak the live insects in Vitamin D and Calcium (which are usually sold together).
This is extremely important. Chameleons do not drink from still sources of water (such as bowls). Instead, they will drink by licking the water that falls from the leaves of their enclosure. You need to create a system by which water droplets systematically fall from the leaves.
Chameleons, like many other reptiles, require UVB to survive. The higher the UVB amount in the bulb, the better for your chameleon (and for you, since it will be healthier and show brighter colors). The light should be kept on between 10 and 14 hours a day.
Vertical space and branches
Chameleons are arboreal animals. They require a fairly tall enclosure which should be filled with branches for them to climb. Additionally, their enclosure should have plenty of plants and foliage for them to hide behind.
Chameleons are not carnivorous animals. Although not all chameleons will accept it, it is still recommended you feed them fruits and (especially) vegetables such as carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, pears, melon, apples, berries, etc.
It is recommendable you install a misting system rather than misting the enclosure yourself since chameleons require a systematic, controlled misting. I suggest you program it to mist 4 times a day for about 30-40 seconds each time.
All species of chameleon (with very little exceptions, like the Brookesia peyrierasi or the Bradypodion) are better off alone. You shouldn't cohabitate chameleons (unless you want to breed them, in which case you should pay close attention so that the female doesn't overstress) since they are a very easily-stressed species. If not handled on time, that stress could end up killing them.
This is probably the hardest thing to deal with for new owners. Chameleons should strictly be handled when necessary, or, at the very least, seldom, since they HATE it. And since they are very susceptible to stress, too much handling can lead to hunger strikes and eventually death. We all want to think our (future) chameleon is going to be the exception and is going to love cuddles, but since that doesn't happen often, when getting a chameleon you should assume that it is going to hate you to death, but is going to make an amazing display pet.
An adult panther chameleon should never be kept in an enclosure smaller than 18x18x36" (45x45x90cm).
An adult veiled chameleon should ideally be housed in an enclosure that is 2x2x4' (45x45x90cm) or more.
An adult Jackson's chameleon should never be kept in an enclosure smaller than 18x18x36" (45x45x90cm). Ideally, it should be kept in a 24x24x48" (60x60x120cm).
60- 80ºF (15-27ºC)