Distinguished by their swaying gait, long tail and capability to change into different colors, chameleons are a sight to behold. It is through these unique characteristics that they manage to captive a multitude of admirers.
Still, there is one peculiar trait that very few people know about–conception and giving birth. Chameleons are some of the few creatures that are both oviparous and ovoviviparous. Mainly, this depends on your pet species.
Oviparous are animals that lay shelled eggs after a mating ritual. In absence of male chameleons, females still lay eggs, but unfertilized ones. In a normal situation, chameleons lay one to three clutches of eggs yearly. Each clutch contains 20 to 70 fertilized or unfertilized eggs.
On the other hand, ovoviviparous give live births. In this reproduction process, the female incubates eggs inside her body. The embryo then attaches to a yolk pouch inside their mothers where they get nutrients.
Altogether, a female chameleon has an estimated gestational period of four to six months. In this article, we will take you through the caring process of baby chameleons all the way to adulthood.
Feeding Baby Chameleons
It is amazing how tiny baby chameleons frequently feed. Since they grow real quick, they require an entire load of nutrients in the food you offer.
When adopting one as a pet, ensure that you provide them with a diverse diet of insects, vegetables, fruits and supplements. Avoid overfeeding as they can put on excess weight fast.
The most effective way to feed your pets is through free range, by hand, or using a cup. A young chameleon below six months should at least feed twice or thrice a day.
When they grow bigger, one meal in a day works perfectly for them. Below, we will guide you on how to feed your little chameleons properly.
– Food & Diet
Even if baby chameleons enjoy munching on fresh vegetables and fruits, live insects should be the main component of their diet.
The fundamental idea is to allow them to learn how to hunt like their wild counterparts. If your baby pet struggles with this method, you can place the insects in a small container or a cup.
Some of the nutritious insects you should include in the diet includes locusts, crickets, flies, cockroaches, waxworms and butter worms.
Depending on the size of the baby chameleon, it is vital to give them properly sized insects. If too big, it can easily lead to choking or difficulty in swallowing.
One basic rule is to avoid feeding your chameleons with insects larger than the gap between their eyes. The safest size of insects you should settle for include those on the first and second level of development.
For baby chameleons below six months, 12 to 18 insects per day is a good number. The number reduces to below ten when they hit one year.
It is wise to get your food from a dependable life food vendor. You can also check online for reliable insect suppliers. Either way, check customer reviews or consult old customers to ensure that you get safe food for your chameleon.
While some pet owners opt to capture insects in the wild. Though experts discourage it because of parasites and disease transmission risks. Insects on their own may not meet the nutritional requirements of your chameleon.
To get the best out of it, gut load the live insects. This is a process where you feed insects with nourishing veggies and greens. Once the baby chameleons munch on the insects, the nutrients pass to their body.
Always gut load the insects less than 12 hours before feeding your pet. This ensures that they get most nutrients from the food.
Like any other living creature, water intake to baby chameleons is critical. Given that wild chameleons get water from rain droplets and dew, mimic that in the enclosure. Spraying or misting duration depends on the species.
For instance, you can mist a panther chameleon up to four times in a day. However, their veiled counterparts would appreciate it once daily, especially at night.
Some of the reliable spraying options you should consider include waterfalls, plant mister or an automated sprayer. Whatever method you choose, ensure that you do not create a puddle as it can drown a tiny baby chameleon.
Due to various reasons, your little pet may refuse to drink water for several days. Sometimes, chameleons avoid sipping water in the presence of humans. In such a situation, check the color of their poop and urate.
If it has more whitish color, then your little friend is a secret drinker and safe from dehydration. When your little friend refuses to take water for over three days, use a pipette to motivate them. Seek expert advice if you notice no improvement to avoid dehydration.
– Vitamins & Calcium
For every growing chameleon, every nutrient counts. Sometimes, it is not possible for pet owners to meet the required limits. Even if some chameleon owners gut load the insects, they fail to feed them to the pets within the required time.
Vitamins and calcium supplements come handy in such a situation. Calcium is absolutely important both to the babies and adults. This is because inadequate calcium causes a life-threatening condition known as metabolic bone disease.
For vitamin intake, include vitamin D3 as a backup to what chameleons produce naturally. Then add a bit of vitamin E for a healthier skin and vitamin A for optimal sight.
For successful absorption of supplements in the body light dust them on the live insects. You can repeat the procedure once in a week. Avoid over coating the insects with supplements because your pets may refuse to feed on them.
Baby Chameleon Requirements
Chameleons are not excellent pets for beginners. Although these reptiles lead a long life, they are tedious and complicated to maintain. To ensure that your pet leads a healthy life, here are basic requirements you should consider.
Compared to adult chameleons, babies require similar temperature to thrive. Basically, keep your baby pets in a 75 to 90 degrees enclosure. Separate the basking spot at 85 to 90 degrees.
Subsequently, create a cooling corner of less than 75 degrees. To achieve the right temperature, use a proper lighting bulb. Track the warmth in both areas using different thermometers.
Chameleons in all sizes and ages need an excellent source of lighting. UVB lighting is critical for your pets to process calcium. You do not have to keep the lights on at night.
In fact, 12 hours of brilliant lighting is more than enough. The easiest option is to invest in an automatic timer lamp.
Depending on the chameleon species, some require more humidity than others. The ideal humidity level is around 65% to 80%. Some species can accommodate a minimum humidity of 50%.
Note that live plants also help in regulating humidity in between spraying. You can monitor the moisture intensity with a humidity gauge or a hydrometer. Install a drip system, automatic fogger or mister to simplify the process.
How Much Does Baby Chameleons Sleep?
The quantity of sleep that your baby chameleons require depends on various factors. Mostly, it varies because of age, season, and amount of food eaten. A healthy chameleon comfortably sleeps for around 12 hours daily with babies exceeding a bit longer.
For older ones, they easily master the lights time out. So, you may notice them catnap at least 30 minutes before lights off. It is debatable if a chameleon requires such long sleeping intervals. All things considered, adequate sleeping never harms.
Instead, it keeps your pet healthy and rejuvenated to face another day. During winter, chameleons sleep for longer durations. You can change the lighting schedules and add more hours for the dark and cold seasons.
How Fast Does Baby Chameleons Grow?
Different chameleon genus ultimately grows to various lengths. Still, most baby chameleons attain their adult size between 10 to 12 months. Also, a stable habitat and rich dietary source enable them to reach their full potential faster.
Whatever duration your petite pet takes, check if it is consistent throughout. If they are feeding well and displaying no signs of sickness, then you have nothing to worry about. Among the most popular chameleon pets, an average veiled adult should measure 25 to 60 cm.
Other common species like Jackson’s chameleon mature at 25 to 33 cm and Panther’s chameleon at 25 to 33 cm. These dimensions vary with the sex of your reptile, with males weighing and measuring more than females.
Amid the excitement of getting a new pet, taking care of a chameleon is an entirely new ballgame. In their eye-catching dazzling colors, few people truly understand what it takes to take care of a little chameleon.
Despite all, there is nothing as fulfilling as watching a clumsy small creature blossom to a hale and hearty adult chameleon. This requires a strict regime of proper feeding, comfortable habitat, healthy sleeping pattern and enough basking.
While rearing a pet chameleon vary from one species to another, ensure that they receive the best time of their lives under your care.