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Keeping a Chameleon As a Pet

Chameleons come from a variety of places ranging from rain forest to desert. They are mainly found in Africa and Madagascar with other species being found in Asia and Europe. All chameleon species have similarities. They all have eyes that move independently of each other, moving in 360 degree angles therefore enabling them to see every where all of the time. They also have very long retractable tongues which are about 1.5 times their body length. Their tails are prehensile which means they can grip vines and branches with it; they are also great for balance. They are able to change their colour pending what mood they are in or climate. Being mainly green gives them a great camouflage against predators in the tree tops and canopies of the rain forests.

They vary in size depending on species. An adult Veiled Chameleon would be 35cm-60cm or an adult Panther Chameleon 30cm-53cm. Their life span is between 5-10yrs. The Pigmy Chameleons are smaller between 5cm-10cm and live 3-5yrs. All Chameleons change their colours, if a male is chasing females it will display bright colours or if they are angry. When keeping a Chameleon as a pet you need to consider their enclosure and their environment.

A good reptile vivarium/terrarium should be half or all mesh as they need good ventilation. A good size would be 91cmx61cmx91cm. The larger the better they enjoy space. Chameleons are solitary animals and should be kept on their own. In your reptile vivarium/terrarium you will need a lot of climbing branches and a lot of foliage. Plastic plants are ideal the Chameleons enjoy drinking from the leaves after spraying. The climbing areas should cover the vivarium so that they can reach hot and cool areas of the tank. You will need a good UVB light and a basking light. You will also need a thermostat so as to keep a constant temperature. You will need to cover the basking lamp so your Chameleon does not burn itself. A dripper for a water supply is a good idea, spray your Chameleon 2 or 3 times a day. You may also purchase an electric waterfall as chameleons do not drink from still water but this is optional as spraying will be sufficient as long as it is done daily. Chameleons eat locust cricket’s mealworms and other insects. You must use additional vitamins and minerals dust their live food before feeding or add to water supply i.e. water spray or dripper.

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