Chameleons...

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stephiiberrybean

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I've wanted a Chameleon for ages. Mainly as a kid so that I call it Karma and could sing this song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmcA9LIIXWw every time I saw it.
Which was never a good enough reason to actually buy one! Nor did I think I would ever be actually able to look after such a complicated little reptile. (also another reason why I never bought a tortoise!)

So I've kind of proven that I love tortoises and provide the best care I possibly can and am so keen I want more, that my love of Chameleons has been re-kindled and I'm now feeling like I might want one a lot more than to sing a song! Pure and simply because, like tortoises, I think they are amazing.

Although I'm still learning about torts, I now know a good amount about different species etc. Chameleons I know not a thing. I've done a bit of googling but I don't trust google after all the mis-information I got when I was going to get a tortoise.
So I thought theres no better place to go than here for information on Chameleons.

What I want you lovely folks of TFO to do is share all your wonderful knowledge of this reptile and also perhaps some pictures :D

Thank you in advanced for any information you share with me.
Now all I need to do is convince my mother that she really does want a Chameleon in the house ;)!
(Oh and I'm going to call him Pascal. Cookies if you guess where the name is from!!)
 

*Amber*

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Awwww I've always loved Chameleons too! I know nothing either, other than I've heard that they're hard to keep! I love their little eyes! :D
 

stephiiberrybean

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*Amber* said:
Awwww I've always loved Chameleons too! I know nothing either, other than I've heard that they're hard to keep! I love their little eyes! :D

I've heard that too. Which is why I decided to post about it and find lots out before taking the decision to go buy one!
I'm not a big lizard fan but I love Chameleons, I have not a clue why. Just something about them makes me want to watch them for hours!
 

tyler0912

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Im on the mobile app,
It does not show who posted the thread,
When i clicked on it i knew it would be you steph!
My bro has a karma! ;)
 

exoticsdr

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Get a Veiled chameleon. They are very easy to keep and quickly become accustomed to being handfed, will eat both insects and leafy greens, have a HUGE temperature range. IMO, males make better pets, but both sexes are very interesting. I currently have two young ones that I am raising, bot females (I think). It is usually very easy to tell the boys from the girls even when first hatched as the males have a small spur on the back of their rear feet (tarsal spur). One of mine appears to have a small one...of course, my eyes are getting old so I may be seeing things..haha.
Doc
 

FADE2BLACK_1973

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I had afew different species of true chameleons over the years. It depends on what species you want. Starting out with the hardier ones. Like Vieled, Jacksons, and some say panthers are hardy too but that is one I never owned yet. So I would just start out of a veiled chameleon. Most cham beginners start out with the veileds :D
 

stephiiberrybean

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Thank you :)
I'm not sure what they had in the shop but i think they were veiled chameleons.

That information was very useful, thank you Doc.
I think i'll get some more research done on veiled chameleons and then go set myself up with one :) I was mainly worried about them being hard to keep but the veiled sounds like the perfect starter chameleon.
 

Tom

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I love them too. I've kept a dozen or so over the years, but got away from them due to my displeasure at dealing with crickets. When I got into raising roaches a couple of years ago, it sort of removed my reason for not keeping any insectivores too. I don't need anymore animals to take care of, but I LOVE chameleons and I've been fighting the urge for a while now.

Chameleons are easy IF (BIG IF) you set them up right. They all need humidity and they all need some sort of drip system since they won't drink from a bowl. You can simply mist the leaves in their enclosure several times a day, or buy one of those gallon size drippers and a catch pan. I never had any luck with the screen cages that "everyone" recommends for chameleons. The screen cages work great in a dedicated, heated, humidified reptile room, but in a normal heated house anywhere in the world, not so much.

A variety of bugs will be necessary, so start your food insect cultures now, unless you just plan to buy it all. Big tall cages with lots of appropriately thin branches and hanging foliage make them feel secure. Some people let them live loose in the house on a dedicated ficus tree. Personally, I wouldn't do this. Too many things could go wrong.

I have raised, Veileds, Panthers, Jacksons and Mellers. I found them all to be fairly easy. One thing I have noticed with male veileds is that at around a year old, many of them just stop eating. Often it is suggested that they are "bored" of their foods and need something new and novel to re-stimulate their appetite, but I have found only minimal success with trying every new food under the sun. My first one 20 years ago did this and to this day, I have not figured it out. Just recently delivered some roaches to a lady whose male has gone anorexic on her. Her vet suggested some new foods, and I've got roaches to spare. Didn't work. Just something to be aware of. Maybe Doc can shed some light on this for us.

All things considered, when I do it again, I will want either a captive bred Mellers (if I can find one) or a Panther.

Good luck, and keep us posted.

stephiiberrybean said:
Wow Tom!
Did not expect you to get that one!! haha!

I'll ship your cookies over to you :D

HA! I have a four year old girl. Of course I'm gonna get that one. :D I can practically recite every line from the movie and my little girl will sing you all the songs.

Got any "wall E" trivia? How about "Astro Boy"? "Phineas and Ferb"?
 

stephiiberrybean

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Thanks Tom :)
So what sort of enclosure would you recommend, I've only see the mess screen cages with Chameleons in.

I love Tangled. Wall-E is another fav of mine!
Not a big fan of Astro Boy or Phineas and Ferb...
Any disney film though!
It's shameful really that i'm nearly 21 and every time i go into HMV I come out with a different old school Disney film on DVD. Slowly building my collection from VHS to DVD!
 

Tom

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I used 24"x24"x48"tall, mostly glass cages. They had one screen on the side and the top was screened, but I would mostly cover the top, except for the area for the heat lamp. These worked well for me. I used a thick layer of orchid bark on the bottom to give off some humidity and had a dripper on top. I used a small kitty litter pan covered with hardware cloth (so they couldn't fall in and drown) to catch the drips.

If I do one again, I want to try one of those "natural" looking water falls and see if they will come down and drink from it.

I also covered a large Aviary cage in plastic wrap one time. It worked fine, but it looked atrocious. Nowadays I think I would just build something to suit my needs.
 

tyler0912

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Tom said:
I used 24"x24"x48"tall, mostly glass cages. They had one screen on the side and the top was screened, but I would mostly cover the top, except for the area for the heat lamp. These worked well for me. I used a thick layer of orchid bark on the bottom to give off some humidity and had a dripper on top. I used a small kitty litter pan covered with hardware cloth (so they couldn't fall in and drown) to catch the drips.

If I do one again, I want to try one of those "natural" looking water falls and see if they will come down and drink from it.

I also covered a large Aviary cage in plastic wrap one time. It worked fine, but it looked atrocious. Nowadays I think I would just build something to suit my needs.

I'm getting a ExoTerra waterfall for tiagos viv! :)
AMAZON!
 

wellington

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I did not have luck with the three I had, veiled. Lost the two babies and one sub adult not too long after purchasing them. I thought they were quit hard, however i did use the screened cages and would not use them again. Tom, I had the water fall and never seen any of them drink from it, only a lot of dead/drowned bugs, crickets. The drip system would probably be the better way. Good luck and let us know if you give in to the urge and how's it working and what your using, set up. I would love to try them again, but not until I know a way to set them up that works.
 

clarkrw3

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Ok....So I breed them and keep them and even though I am getting a tort, and have plenty of geckos, chameleons are what I love and what gets me excited. I keep panthers primarily but they all need similar set ups with temp, heat, humidity being the variables.
If you are really wanting to learn about chameleons I would highly recommend you checking out www.chameleonforums.com it is an AMAZING resource and has answers to any and all questions. I am very active on that board and it is a great place to start.
As far as caging goes screen is better pretty much without question. Chameleons are sight creatures and reflections can cause lots of stress, sometimes you see this stress outwardly and sometimes not. Also chameleons need air flow they do not do well in stagnant air. If you are having trouble in a dry environment like AZ you can put shower curtain on up to three sides to increase the humidity. Also live plants, and a mister system are musts in the dryer climates. I run my mister system 5 times a day for 5min+ each time. This means you need a drainage system. Waterfalls are generally a bad idea for chameleons because they will not drink from moving water and they typically will poop in them and they become a source of bacterial and parasite growth.
Just a few thoughts but like I said the best thing to do would be to check out the forum and start reading!!
 

Tom

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I used the drip system AND I would spray the whole enclosure several times a day. If I saw them start to drink when I sprayed them, I would continue to spray them until they stopped drinking and or moved away. I found that a gentle spray where the droplets would run down their head and into the corners of their mouth, would keep them drinking.

Thanks for the heads up on the water fall Barb.

Thanks Clarkrw3. I never had reflection problems and the screen cages never worked for me. I have heard the "stagnant" air thing many times, but mine all grew and did well for me in my closed in enclosures. I realize this is not the norm among chameleon keepers, but open screen cages left my chameleons dehydrated and too cool. I think every situation is different and everyone must find what works for them in their home.

I'll be checking out your chameleon forum soon.
 

clarkrw3

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Tom said:
Thanks Clarkrw3. I never had reflection problems and the screen cages never worked for me. I have heard the "stagnant" air thing many times, but mine all grew and did well for me in my closed in enclosures. I realize this is not the norm among chameleon keepers, but open screen cages left my chameleons dehydrated and too cool. I think every situation is different and everyone must find what works for them in their home.

I'll be checking out your chameleon forum soon.

I hear you about what works in your hands. I use a dripper as well as misting at times. For the most part all my chams do well keeping hydrated on the mistking system, but every couple of months I get a cham that starts to get a little dehydrated I put a dripper on the cage for 2-3 days and they are back to normal. The conventional thought now is to keep them a little cooler, both in terms of ambient temp as well as basking temp. Granted I do have a reptile room that I keep temp and humidity specific to them but I keep the basking in the mid to low 80's and ambient temp no higher then 75 deg. At night I drop the temp in the room to 68 deg to try and give them a natural 10 deg night time drop in temp. This is for panthers, Vaileds tend to need a higher basking temp while most Madone species should be kept even cooler than panthers with much higher humidity.
 

FADE2BLACK_1973

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Humidity, high humidity is a must for most chams. But Jacksons need a high humidity but with cooler temps compare to veileds and panthers. Just a tip if you decide on a Jackson's. I had a WC female that I ended up selling because I could not find a male for her. I should had kept her because she was the sweetest one I had. My male veileds was just down right mean when they became adults.
 
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