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When one hears the term chameleon, there are several things that come to mind. Some of them include the unique capability to change into diverse colors, sticky tongue, wobbly gait, and so forth. Behind it all, a chameleon’s relation with humidity is another unique attribute rarely witnessed with other reptiles.
An abundance of insects and lip-smacking leaves definitely keep chameleons entwined in the tree’s branches. However, a rich source of humidity in the environment is one core reason your delicate friend spends their lifetime camouflaged behind leaves.
As a pet, it is crucial to keep your chameleons within the required humidity levels. Follow as we define why suitable humidity levels are vital for a chameleon’s wellbeing.
Principal Reasons Why Chameleons Need Humidity?
Either in the wild or captivity, lack of proper humidity exposes chameleons to several health implications. In its natural habitat, a chameleon alternates between climbing up the trees to bask and lowering down to enjoy some humidity from the dew.
When you venture on chameleon rearing, maintaining the right humidity is vital for your pet’s health. A humid setting aids in digestion, eye health and keeps the skin moist.
For breeding chameleons, you have to keep the eggs in humidity of about 80 to 90% to allow them to hatch. Keep in mind that these are very high levels for chameleons to survive.
To keep your pets within safe humidity levels, put the female chameleon in a different terrarium immediately they lay eggs. Then place the eggs in a closed container to preserve moisture. If you keep the eggs exposed, they may dry out and fail to hatch.
Depending on the species and correct combination of humidity and temperature, your eggs may hatch within six to twelve months.
How Much Humidity do Chameleons Need?
A chameleon deep in the desert requires less humidity levels compared to their counterparts in tropics. In over 171 chameleon species, humidity requirements differ from one to the other. On average, most chameleons thrive in a humidity environment between 50 to 80%.
Veiled, Jackson and panther are the most common kept chameleon pets. Veiled chameleons originally from forested Yemen areas perform better in a low humidity setting.
This is because they alternate between dry and hot climates in their natural habitat. Most apartments have a humidity intensity of about 50%. While the levels may fluctuate during the day, a difference of 10% is ideal.
On the other hand, Jacksons come from East Africa, specifically Tanzania and Kenya. Mainly living in the mountains, they adapt well to humidity forces of about 60 to 80%. Although they are hardy creatures, mist their cages at least three times in a day to prevent dehydration.
Natively from Madagascar, panther chameleons endure an environment of up to 70% humidity. In homes, it is not always possible to reach such levels because of air conditioning and heaters running. Fortunately, they are resilient reptiles and an environment of about 50 to 60% would do no harm.
Maintain Humidity in Chameleon Terrarium
There are several ways to regulate humidity levels in your pet’s enclosure. In all the alternatives mentioned below, ensure that you settle on the best method that comfortably meets your chameleon humidity needs.
– Water Dripper
A dripper is a container that drips water directly on the live plants and the animal. It can be as uncomplicated as poking holes in plastic containers.
The beauty of it all is that they do not have a negative turn off dynamics like other options. Altogether, ensure you set the dripping intervals based on your pet’s genus.
This is one of the most convenient and preferred methods. Given that it offers both a manual and automatic options, several pet owners choose them over others. Regular misting by hand can be a tedious task. Therefore, experts recommend automatic misters for a quick and efficient procedure.
Although each chameleon needs differ, ensure that the leaves drip wet in every interval. Note that after a misting duration, a satisfied chameleon will repeatedly open and shut their mouths.
Comparable to misting, foggers release a fine fog instead of sprays of water. Basically, foggers are small electronic gadgets that spray fog within a set duration. Most pet owners hang them on the top or side of the terrarium.
– Live Plants
Placing live plants in your pet’s enclosure offers useful benefits. One impressing advantage is that plants act as dehumidifiers by collecting moisture from the atmosphere. As a natural process, it keeps the levels within the required levels.
Not all living plants absorb wetness efficiently. It is wise to consultant a reptile expert on the most efficient plants to use. Among various options, Victoria era plants, peach lily and Boston fern would be an excellent choice.
Another great plant to use in a terrarium is a Tillandsia. Since it does not require soil combinations, it can comfortably attach to tree branches and rocks within the cage.
Whatever your choice, pick a plant that efficiently improves humidity levels and acts as a snack for your pet as well.
How to Measure Humidity Level?
The best instrument to measure humidity levels is a hygrometer. Currently, you can get digital and analog devices in the market. Either way, a digital hygrometer gives accurate results.
When buying one check if it measures temperature too. This is because when temperatures rise, humidity declines. In such a scenario, a dual gadget ensures pet owners keep temperatures within safe levels.
What Type of Water is Safe for Chameleon?
This is one major challenge novice pet owners encounter. With tap water high in chlorine, metal particles and bacteria, it would not be the wisest alternative to use. On rare occasions pet owners complain of swelling and edema on their pets soon after drinking tap water.
An ideal PH level for chameleons is 6.5 to 8.5. If you are uncertain about the PH intensity of the water running in your taps, buy a test kit. A water filtration system helps to remove a magnitude of chemicals from the water.
Still, there are a couple of reptile lovers who give their chameleons tap water and report no negative impacts. All in all, experts recommend distilled water and most favorably, rain water.
Humidity Level Problems in Chameleons
While less humidity results in various health issues, extreme levels encourage bacteria growth within the cage. Chameleons are resilient creatures and rarely fall sick. However, a bacteria invasion may lead to ailments like parasitic infestations and respiratory infections.
Dry skin due to minimal humidity is another agonizing situation for chameleons. If it becomes excessively dry, it may flake and make it almost impossible for your pet to shed or get rid of all dead skin.
Unfortunately, this increases the chances of the skin becoming infected. With lubricated skin, the shedding process becomes easier and faster.
Another major cause of alarm is blockage of the intestinal tract, mainly caused by dehydration. When a chameleon fails to pass poop, they become excessively sick leading to a slow, painful death. The good thing is that if your little pet suffers from constipation, excellent humidity levels work magic.
In selected cases, pet owners report immune and respiratory complications when a chameleon fails to receive enough humidity. Other complications include extreme dehydration and tail rot.
Almost all chameleon species have a strong tail capable of balancing on trees branches and grabbing on items. For that reason, if a tail rots away, it negatively affects one of their main natural characteristics leading to reduced mobility.
Every potential chameleon owner should recognize that these reptiles are very fragile and have unique needs.
Without proper care from the start, your beloved pet may not enjoy a prolonged healthy life. Amongst exclusive requirements you should provide, humidity should be at the top of the list.
We hope that as you peruse through this piece, you may get a clearer picture of why humidity is an important necessity in your pet’s life. After all, a healthy chameleon will keep you thrilled and captivated.Chameleons, Reptiles