Charming chameleons in their adorable colors are visually pleasing. Similarly, their slow-moving gait, super-fast tongue, and prehensile tail make individuals fall in love at first sight. Despite the appeal, taking care of a chameleon is not a walk to the park.
As a word of counsel, do not invest in one if you are not ready for the demanding and costly process. Compared to other reptiles, chameleons require total commitment and optimal maintenance levels.
ons,While they make beautiful pets, this is a journey that a beginner should trend with caution.
Why Do Chameleons Make Terrible Pets?
For a reptile that requires appropriate care to thrive, you cannot afford to do anything wrong with pet chameleons.
This complicated process calls for proper feeding, temperatures, humidity, and supplementation. Follow as we expound why bringing up a pet chameleon is not for the faint-hearted.
– Diet and Feeding
Naturally insectivorous, a diversification of crickets, grasshoppers, flies, roaches, and mealworms would be perfect for your timid friend.
Occasionally, you can slot in some super worms, silkworms, wax worms, bees, and locusts. The most complicated part about this feeding arrangement is that you have to gut load the insects first.
Usually, insects on their own do not provide enough nutrients for your pets to prosper. For that reason, plant nutrients would come in handy. Nutritious vegetation you should feed chameleons includes collard, lettuce, kale, dandelion leaves, apples, and mustard.
Chop the plants in small pieces for easier swallowing. The thumb rule is never to give chameleons food that surpasses their head size.
With minimal exposure to sunlight while in captivity, add supplements to their diet. The most effective supplements you should incorporate are vitamin D3 and calcium. Mainly obtainable in powder form, sprinkle it on the food daily.
Above all, hydration is another massive challenge when it comes to the chameleon diet. Surprisingly, chameleons find the need to drink water only when motivated. In the wild, this happens when raindrops cascade down on the tree branches and leaves.
In captivity, you have to mimic this natural inclination by using a spray bottle or drippers. Then, slowly mist the terrarium at least twice a day. That approach distinctly triggers chameleons to hydrate by sipping from the leaves.
Most important, avoid offering water in containers as they can easily drown. Moreover, clear out food remnants to avoid contamination.
– Habitat and Requirements
Currently, there are glass and meshed wire terrariums in the market. Despite the buzz about them, consider ventilation and safety first. On such a basis, a meshed cage with plenty of outlets would be an ideal home for your pet.
Still, ensure that the spaces are not big enough to allow chameleons to pass through. Also, confirm if the terrarium has a rigid cover to keep your chameleons intact. To avoid rusting, buy plastic coated wire meshed cages.
Remember that chameleons are naturally ectothermic. That means they can’t regulate body temperature without using the sun.
At home, invest in a heat lamp to help them achieve this. Likewise, UVB lighting helps chameleons to absorb calcium and make vitamins.
Add live plants to increase humidity levels and as a snack to your colorful friends. Apart from installing a humidity system, buy a hydrometer and thermometer as well. This helps in monitoring temperature and humidity levels.
Depending on the species, maintain temperature intensity to 18 to 21 degrees at night and 70-80 degrees during the day. On the other hand, keep the humidity levels at 65 to 80%.
– Hate Handling
Even if your pet chameleons may not show, they detest being touched or handled. The main reason behind this is that your coy pet quickly becomes stressed when handled.
Still, there are few species like Jackson, Rudis, and Oustalet who tolerate it well. Others like Veiled and Panthers react negatively or become aggressive.
In such a scenario, introduce brief handling sessions. They may not like it at first but becomes more accustomed to it with time.
In the process, please do not force them or prolong the sessions. For instance, you can do it on selected days in a week and progress daily as they gain your trust.
Even so, excessive handling affects skin quality and prompts sores development. Thoroughly clean your hands before and after an encounter.
Obviously, this helps remove harmful oils and chemicals that can cause detrimental effects to your shy little buddy.
– Expensive to Keep
Taking a chameleon home is not only tedious but costly too. First, confirm if the vendor has legal documents required in the trade. With most exotic species facing an extinction risk, most states are vigilant on chameleon hunting. Therefore, settle for bred species from a reliable merchant.
Generally, a pet chameleon costs around $30 to $300, depending on age and species. If you desire to own an exotic species, be prepared to pay much more.
Notwithstanding, there are extra cage, lighting, and plant setup cost amounting to about $ 500. Not to forget that the yearly maintenance costs, food, and veterinarian bills at around $1000 yearly
Despite the immense effort you put into keeping a chameleon happy, you might never receive a companionship benefit out of it. Bear in mind that they are solitary creatures not wired to show emotions or interact.
Therefore do not place high expectations of making your reptile friend more bubbly or cuddly. Instead, what chameleons prefer most is a private moment hidden under the rocks or in the branches. As a highly territorial creature, give them designated spaces to prevent brawls.
Should You Get a Chameleon?
Most reptile devotees shy off from chameleons because of their complex care requirements. The trick is dedication, patience and proper research on the species at hand.
By all means, do not buy a pet chameleon on impulse. Rather, take time to understand the exciting facts of an amazing and unique reptile.
After all, being a veteran starts with a single step. With the right attitude and proper knowledge, you can enjoy a meaningful relationship with your dazzling reptile pet.