A General Care Guide for Chameleons

A General Care Guide for Chameleons
By Stephen Tolbert

I'm sure, like most people, you own a pet. However, you desire something that is a little different. The thing that you are missing can be described in one word...chameleon! This pet will be your ticket out of having the same thing everyone else has.
It's time that you welcome a chameleon into your home! These guys are not part of the normal person's pet collection. Not everyone has a chameleon. With both of their eyes going different directions, they are the perfect new addition. So how do you take care of them? Well, if you get these three major things down then your are well on your way to having a healthy chameleon. They are:
1. Lighting
2. Humidity
3. Environment
So let's get started with the lighting. There are two types of bulbs you will need for the basic up keeping of your chameleon. You will need a UVA/UVB bulb and a basking bulb. The First bulb mentioned has the job of mimicking the sun's light. The sun provides UVA lighting which is what you and I can see. This will help bring out the color in your chameleon. This bulb also provides UVB which is what helps the chameleon synthesize vitamin D3. This will enable him/her to use the calcium intake to his/her advantage. Next, you will need a basking bulb. This bulb will provide the heat needed for your chameleon to warm up. This is important since reptiles are cold-blooded creatures and must be able to regulate their temperature.
After you have the lighting down you will want to provide some sort of source for an increase in humidity. This can be a very simple thing to do and is a must considering the areas where they come from are humid. You can hand mist several times a day and this will usually be efficient in keeping the humidity up. If it is a problem, however, to be at home to do this then there are other alternatives. One could purchase a cool mist humidifier and keep it running. If this method is not desired, there is still another method that is very popular. You could purchase an automatic misting system such as the mistking. This will enable you to set the mistings on a timer that will go off throughout the day and mist the cage. This method, in my opinion, is by far the best and worth the money. All of these methods will also provide the benefit of drinking water for your little pet.
Last, The environment needs to be set up properly. The enclosure needs to be a screened enclosure for the purpose of proper air circulation. It must also be the appropriate size for the size of your chameleon. After these basics are met, it is time to release that imagination. Decorate the cage with plenty of live and fake plants. Place vines throughout the cage for him to climb on. Be sure there is a place under the basking spot for him to bask. Let some of the cage be darker so there is a difference in temperature. Avoid using substrates as it can be ingested and become bad news for your chameleon. Make it look like a jungle with open areas.
Please remember that this is just a basic guide to the care of a chameleon. It is not meant to cover specific species of chameleons. If you desire to know specific information on certain species then further research must be done. Temperature, humidity, cage size, and plants are all things that need to be studied for certain species. Good luck and enjoy the wonder of owning a chameleon!