Chameleons make excellent pets for people who love watching these fascinating creatures. Before bringing one to your home, you need to pay attention to several things, like what do chameleons eat, what are their housing needs, and how to handle them.
Chameleons are fragile and have specific requirements. A lack of these necessities can make them sick very quickly. Here is a list of the common mistakes you need to avoid when owning a pet chameleon:
1. Keeping Chameleons in Small Cages
Chameleons enjoy living in a natural environment filled with trees and branches. They also like to hide, so keeping them in small cages will not give them freedom of movement. Young chameleons, when grown up, should be transferred from a small-sized cage to an adult-sized enclosure. Ample space for an adult chameleon is necessary to keep them healthy.
2. Placement of the Enclosure
Chameleons can get easily stressed and aggressive, which is why you should not keep two chameleons in the same cage. Noises or excessive movement outside the enclosure, inappropriate temperatures, and lighting can be a reason for poor health in chameleons.
3. Insufficient UVB Lighting
UVB lighting is crucial for chameleons. A full spectrum of UVB lighting, either from direct sunlight or proper UVB light, helps them utilize calcium inside their body to keep the bones strong. Chameleons exposed to insufficient lighting are more prone to metabolic bone disease. Also, the UVB lights have to be changed every six months or according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
4. Over-handling Chameleons
Chameleons do not like to be handled, and this is a common mistake most people make. Handling can cause chameleons stress, and this stress can kill them. In most cases, repeatedly touching young chameleons can cause premature death. It is best to keep the handling to a minimum and limited to cage maintenance or medical procedures. Chameleons are the last ones to like getting petted.
5. Wrong Choice of Food
Some pet owners do not have any knowledge about what do chameleons eat. They do not like to eat the same foods every day. Instead, they want to eat a variety of insects such as live crickets, mealworms, roaches, etc. They also enjoy an occasional diet that includes select fruits and vegetables, which provide the necessary vitamins, minerals, and hydration.
Avoid cabbage, figs, apricots, spinach, ladybugs, and fireflies, which are toxic to chameleons. Some are also picky eaters; you need to monitor what they eat.
6. Not Providing Water or Insufficient Spraying
Providing water to chameleons is often overlooked and is one of the major mistakes to avoid. Chameleons need adequate clean water daily to maintain hydration levels, and they will drink only moving water. A correct way is to spray so that the water runs off the leaves or branches, catches the chameleon’s attention, and makes it interested in drinking.
Chameleons require more vigilance and dedicated care than other pets, which is why it is essential to know what they eat, how they behave, and more. Having proper knowledge will help you avoid making mistakes while keeping your pet chameleon happy and healthy.