How to Care For Your Chameleon

Chameleons, although very pretty to look at, don’t make the best pets, as they are not over enthusiastic about being handled. However, for chameleons that are kept in a family environment, some handling of them is useful, even necessary, although it shouldn’t be done to excess.
There are many different varieties of chameleon, and some are easier than others to look after. If this is the first time you are considering purchasing a chameleon, it is worth contacting a reputable breeder, who will be only too pleased to give you advice on basic care. Also a breeder will make sure that he doesn’t sell you a chameleon which is younger than about 6 weeks.
If you are going to buy your chameleon from a pet shop, ask whether the chameleon has been bred in captivity. Most of them will have been, but it is worth checking, as they will be much easier to care for and probably, healthier! Remember to ask how old the chameleon is, as an inexperienced purchaser really shouldn’t buy one that is less than 5-6 weeks old.

What Size Enclosure Do I Need?

It is understandable that many first time owners don’t know the size of housing required, as a young chameleon has very different space requirements than a fully grown adult. To further complicate matters, the various species also need different sizes of enclosures. A youngster of 6 weeks or so can be housed adequately in a reptarium of 25 gallons plus.
An older chameleon from about four months upwards will need a larger enclosure and eventually the size required will likely be 4ft high x 3ft wide x 2ft deep. Of course, this will depend on your purchase.

Where Shall I keep the Enclosure?

It is sensible to place the enclosure above the floor so that it is approximately at eye level. It is also very important to keep the chameleon in an area which doesn’t have too much activity, with children playing, or people rushing around. Don’t let children think that it is a pet which can be stroked or played with at all.

Basic Care

Looking after a chameleon can be fairly time consuming. There will need to be some care every day, so before deciding to purchase careful consideration needs to be given to ensure that there is the time available to be able to care for it properly. The enclosure needs to be maintained within a specific temperature range, and lights must be switched on and off regularly. Most importantly, the housing must kept clean. If you do take the time to care for your chameleon, you will notice quickly if the reptile becomes at all unwell. Of course, the better it is cared for, the more likely it is to remain healthy.

And Finally…

Before you purchase a chameleon, consider whether this is an appropriate pet for you and your family. If the answer is “yes”, then make every effort to care for it properly, and if you have any queries ask a breeder or other expert for assistance.

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