As with bearded dragons, chameleons may appear a little spooky at first glance, but they make absolutely wonderful pets. However, chameleons are difficult to maintain and care for, so if you are a beginner with reptiles in general, you should probably not begin with one. Here are some tips for those who wish to embark on an adventure with one of these lovely exotic creatures.
Several fascinating facts about chameleons before we begin
Before we begin, let’s define chameleon: it is derived from the Greek words chamai and leon, which literally mean “Earth lion.”
They are exotic reptiles belonging to the family of lizards. Panther, Veiled, and Jackson’s Chameleons are typically the most common species of chameleons that can be kept as pets; you will likely encounter them if you are searching for your first chameleon in pet stores.
You are about to discover why chameleons have the ability to change color, which is the most interesting fact about them.
Why do chameleons switch colors?
If chameleons fascinate the majority of people, it is likely because of their remarkable ability to change color. Nevertheless, why? The primary function of this trait is communication, but it also regulates body temperature.
They can undergo color change on the day of their hatching, and sometimes even before they emerge from the egg. The hue that has been captured may be green, turquoise, black, or blue-green.
A chameleon’s color changes can also indicate its emotional state. A dark color, for instance, would indicate that he is upset, whereas a green color would indicate that he is at ease and secure.
Darker colors, such as stress, are associated with negative emotions, whereas lighter colors indicate a positive disposition.
The physical appearance of a chameleon
It is difficult to precisely describe the shape and size of a chameleon, as they can vary greatly between species.
They can range in length from a few centimeters to 80 centimeters. In addition to their ability to change color, one of their remarkable characteristics is a tongue that can stretch up to 150% of its length.
Another peculiar feature of their physical appearance is that they have five toes on each foot, with three facing forward and the remaining two facing away from the midline. This is how they are able to obtain such a solid climbing grip.
Keep in mind that wild chameleons spend the majority of their lives in the forest, high in the trees. This is also why they have a prehensile tail, which aids them in obtaining a firm grip on branches. They gain the majority of their balance from their tail, similar to rodents (rats for instance).
Notably, their eyes are independent of one another, meaning they can rotate in different directions, allowing them to obtain a 360-degree view. This characteristic tends to surprise new homeowners.
What type of food do chameleons eat?
Chameleons are part of the insectivore kind. You can nourish them crickets (if you can keep them alive), nearly every type of worm, and a variety of flies. You may also feed them fruits, vegetables, and leaves in small quantities. Chameleons in the wild are even able to consume small birds and other small lizard species.
Note that chameleons are not very cuddly. Chameleons are not appropriate pets for children.
They strongly prefer quiet environments and dislike being petted, held, or even slightly disturbed.
Also, keep in mind that chameleons are solitary creatures that should not be kept with other pets, even of the same species.
They should not, for instance, share their tank, as they would likely end up fighting and injuring one another.
Typical health concerns
Parasite infections are the most prevalent health problem affecting chameleons. Be sure to acquire your pet from a conscientious breeder and avoid purchasing from large pet stores, where animals are treated much more poorly.
It is actually very important to check the animal health while selecting it. Verify that he is active and has a bright coloration to ensure that it is in good condition. These are typically indicators of good health and a respectful breeding environment.
What conditions does a chameleon require?
Given the variety of sizes a chameleon can assume, it is difficult to specify the dimensions of the tank. Choose a tank that is at least five times its length, three times its width, and three times its height.
As mentioned previously, they enjoy their privacy, so be sure to equip the aquarium with numerous hiding spots. Remember to provide them with sufficient climbing material.
Warning: chameleons are not easy to care for, and the initial equipment may be costly, but it is essential to your pet’s happiness and well-being, and thus indirectly to its longevity.
Ensure that you obtain all necessary information from other owners or specific sources.