Choosing a Pet Chameleon
Not all people want a dog or a cat as their pet. Some people do prefer exotic reptiles as their pets and chameleon is one reptile that makes an exotic pet. Chameleons are indeed fascinating creatures, as they have the ability to change colors. Although this natural phenomenon of theirs is amazing, you might want to think twice before choosing a chameleon as a pet, the reason being the amount of privacy that chameleons like unlike most other pets, that makes them difficult handlers.
But still, if you wanna go ahead and buy your child or yourself a pet chameleon, you need to do a good research on the reptile in order to make it a happier pet.
Choosing the Right Chameleon
Firstly, one should decide on the type of chameleon that one wants to have as a pet. There are three types of chameleons that one can choose from, viz. Veiled, Jackson and Panther. The best choice for beginners is the veiled chameleon. If bred in captivity, the Jackson and Panther types can also be chosen as pets.
It is imperative not to choose wild chameleons as pets. Wild chameleons under captivity get stressed very easily and can carry parasitic infections making them vulnerable to illnesses.
It is always best to choose a healthy male than a female, as it is easy handling males when compared to females. As far as the healthy part is concerned, check for straight limbs, bright eyes, bright colored skin and the alertness of the reptile. Ones with bowed limbs, sunken eyes, mouth rot and bruises on the skin must not be picked. Get your chameleon from a trusted and noted dealer.
Now that you have chosen the right healthy chameleon, it is imperative that you provide it with the right habitat (which will be its cage). As mentioned earlier, chameleons prefer privacy and like to hide themselves (even from other chameleons). This is the reason we find them mostly on trees camouflaging themselves from the rest of the world.
First thing to bear in mind, especially with a veiled chameleon is that it needs a big cage. Make sure that the cage is more than 4 feet in length, so that the chameleon has enough space to move. Populate the cage with plants which the chameleon can grip on to and crawl. Adding rocks to the cage is also a good idea. Adapting to the new habitat would take a while for the chameleon. But making sure it has enough spaces to hide will at least relive the reptile from stress. make sure that the cage is properly ventilated.
Next, regularly sprinkle water on the leaves in the cage. This is how the chameleons like to drink their water, small drops on the leaves. You can easily spot a dehydrated chameleon from its sunken eyes.
Make sure that you vary the temperature of the cage between 60-78 degrees and drop it by 10 degrees in the nights. Though you provide fluorescent lighting, make sure that the chameleon receives at least one hour of natural sunlight daily.
As far as the food is concerned, provide the chameleon with wax worms, crickets or meal worms that have been dusted with calcium and Vitamin A.
Chameleons are best if not handled and left on their own. Also, never put two male chameleons together in the same cage. Also, chameleons are very sensitive to noises, so never put their cages close to a television or music system. It is just great to watch the chameleons do what they want in their cages.