Caresheets

With over 50 years collective experience in the reptile trade we have a wealth of knowledge on offer to help with any reptile related problems you may have.
These care sheets are written by the staff at Reptiles Plus and are how we would suggest caring for and keeping each of the following animals.

Chameleon Care Sheet

Ambilobe Panther ChameleonMinimum requirements for Panther/Yemen (Veiled) Chameleons of average size (40/60cm)

  1. 90cm x 60cm x 60cm (3ft x 2ft x 2ft) WOODEN VIVARIUM
  2. UV LIGHTING 10-12% 2/3 LENGTH OF TANK
  3. SPOT LIGHT (pref with thermostat) OR CERAMIC HEATING WITH THERMOSTAT FOR LARGER TANKS
  4. PLENTY OF FOLIAGE AND BRANCHES
  5. BROAD RANGE VITAMIN AND MINERAL SUPPLEMENT
  6. MOVING WATER OR SPRAY BOTTLE

Tank Set-Up

Infra Red BulbAll heating should be positioned at the same end of the tank, creating a hot basking end. The opposite end should have no heating, creating a cool end. Place your thermometer and/or thermostat sensor in the middle of your tank just off the floor. At this point the thermometer should read 78oF/26oC (YEMENS), or 82-84oF/28-29.5oC with a nighttime drop to 75oF (PANTHER). The best way to achieve an accurate temperature is with a thermostat. Yemen chameleons do not need a nighttime drop in temperature. Mesh/screen enclosure are often not suitable in the majority of average Chameleon Set Upshousehold due to the low room temperature. Glass tanks are generally fine for smaller enclosures, suitable for juveniles. But be aware, a thermostat is essential and they have similar problems to the aforementioned mesh enclosures when you up-grade its size. A wooden vivarium will always offer far better privacy for highly strung reptiles such as Chameleons.

UV lighting is essential for 12-14 hours a day. The UV tube should start against the wall at the hot end and span 2/3 the length of the enclosure, creating a UV gradient. It is best to position your UV tube and reflector on the ceiling of a 2ft high vivarium. We recommend using a 10% or 12% UVB tube for Chameleons. Provide plenty of foliage to break up the UV rays. Doing so will create a good UV gradient that works in a similar way to the temperature gradient. It will allow your chameleon the option of receiving stronger UV radiation, close to the UV tube, or a lower quantity behind and within the foliage.

Always remember to replace your UV tube every 6 months unless the manufacturer suggests otherwise. The tube’s UV producing capability will degrade though the tube will show no obvious sign. As far as we can tell only the Arcadia D3+ and T5 range last 12 months and give a virtually guaranteed 12% UV for the duration of that time. Failure to give your new chameleon the proper levels and quality of UV could result in irreversible Metabolic Bone Disorder.

Substrate, Cleaning And Furniture

Orchid BarkOrchid bark is recommended, no other substrates are as suitable. Spot clean your tank regularly, if done properly a full tank clean should only be necessary once a month. Only use disinfectants specifically designed for reptiles. Soaps, detergents and other disinfectants can be toxic.

Spray your chameleon roughly 3-4 times a week to provide water droplets on the foliage as one source of drinking water. Contrary to popular belief chameleons do not require excessive humidity. The humidity found in normal UK households is suitable. Spraying too frequently or too much and raising the humidity can cause issues as stagnant, humid air creates a breeding ground for bacteria. Often an area of moving water is more effective than spraying, i.e. a waterfall. This can be put on a timer to come on for short periods of the day to allow you to not have to spray and over humidify the enclosure.

Always provide your chameleon with a small water bowl as a secondary source of water. Fill this bowl with clean fresh drinking water daily; tap water is fine, although there are water treatments available if in doubt.

Feeding And Vitamin Supplements

NutrobalMany different feeding routines and diets have been used with varying levels of success the best suited to this set-up will be explained below.
Chameleons are insect feeders. Your Common choices are Crickets, Locust, and Mealworms and Waxworms to a lesser extent. Chameleons should be fed on insects every other day.

LocustThe best way to judge what quantity of jumping insects constitutes as a meal is to place a limited amount, say half a dozen crickets or locust into the tank. If your animal is hungry it will eat them immediately, continue to put a couple of insects in the tank every time your animal finishes what it has, until your chameleon stops feeding or seems barely interested in the prey. If using meal or waxworms, place in a bowl for a day and remove what is left in the evening. Remember never leave excess crickets or mealworms loose in the tank, they can cause injury to your animal!

A good quality vitamin and mineral is very important to the well-being of your animal, always read the packaging carefully. We recommend Nutrobal on 2 of 3 meals. Failure to maintain a good supply of vitamins and minerals can result in serious illness.

Handling, Health And Additional Notes

Chameleons are very stress sensitive animals and we recommend keeping any handling to an absolute minimum especially with panther chameleons. Some individuals may take to handling better than others and in some cases you may be able to occasionally take your chameleon out for short periods.

In any case, it is essential that you leave your chameleon for a minimum of four weeks before you attempt any handling. It is important that your chameleon has the opportunity to settle into its new home to keep stress levels to a minimum.

If, after the initial four weeks you do decide to handle your chameleon approach it slowly with your hand from below and allow it to walk onto your hand of its own accord. Initially handle your chameleon within its enclosure and gradually progress to handle it outside the tank. Whilst handling your chameleon keep a close eye on its behaviour. If your chameleon’s colouration darkens, or if it becomes aggressive put it back straight away.

Always use common sense when handling animals. When it comes to your animals health, if you are ever in doubt ask a respected dealer for their advice, and if still in doubt go to a specialist veterinarian.

Reptile HealthThere are a few simple things to look out for:

  1. Unusual lethargy
  2. Prolonged darkened appearance
  3. Prolonged lack or loss of appetite
  4. Eyes sinking back into the head (dehydration)
  5. Runny nose or excess saliva
  6. Diarrhea
  7. Oddly forming limbs
  8. Kinked tail or back
  9. Inability to climb.
  10. Long periods spent sitting on the bottom of the enclosure

Avoid putting your Chameleon in with any other Chameleon or animal. They are very sensitive to stress. They can only go in with each other for breeding purposes. Please ask a respected dealer for information.

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