Chameleons are one of the most colorful,
interesting and difficult to keep reptiles (less than a 50% survival rate)
now seen in the pet trade. The difficulty stems from lack of
information and different but very explicit requirements for each species
which must be met.
The Veiled Chameleon from Saudi Arabia
requires 80-90 degree daytime temp., mid 70 degree evening temp., 50%
humidity and a 95-105 degree basking site. The Jackson's Chameleon
from Tanzania needs a 74-84 degree daytime temp., a 50-64 degree evening
temp., 80% humidity and a 85 degree basking site to emulate its natural environment.
The Panther and Parsons Chameleon from Madagascar are different
still! Lack of proper parameters over time plus a heavy parasite
load (typical of imports) leads to respiratory and gastrointestinal
disease, lack of appetite and ultimate demise.
They all require a large cage with plenty
of foliage and limbs, a running, dripping or misting water source, a full
spectrum light and a 12-14 hour photoperiod. Their diet is primarily
insects that should be "Gut loaded" as well as small amounts of
green leafy vegetables and a vitamin/mineral supplement for reptiles. They
are solitary, antisocial animals that do not like handling.
Anyone interested in one of these
creatures is urged to speak to an experienced chameleon breeder, a
herpetological club member that has raised them successfully or an
experienced reptile veterinarian that can supply detailed information on
all the necessary parameters for the given species.
The above is a reprint of an article
written by Jack Landess, D.V.M., as a public service. Reprint
permission was obtained from the Florida