Chameleon Keeping: We can do this the hard way or the easy way!admin
Chameleon keeping is like anything else, there is an easy way to do it and a hard way! I explore decision milestones at various places along the chameleon keeper’s journey and share my decades of experience as to what the best decision may be. Learn from me doing it the hard way so you can do it the easy way!
Embedded Chameleon Academy Video Podcast
Embedded Chameleon Academy Audio Podcast
What Chameleon Should I get?
There are numerous choices when selecting a chameleon. From different species, male & female, different ages, and wild caught or captive bred. And then you can get a chameleon from the local pet store, online retailers, reptile expos, classified sections, and dedicated chameleon breeders.
The biggest trap beginners fall into is thinking they should be shopping by price. The truth is that you want to shop for quality and then pay whatever that price is. There are always retails that wold love to give you a great financial deal, but inevitably, it is not a good quality deal. So, how do you figure out what quality is when you are new to the community? The best thing to do is figure out who the reputable breeders are and let them help you. The video podcast below will guide you through the process of selecting the right breeder for you.
The Easy Way: Find a well-started juvenile, captive hatched chameleon from a reputable breeder!
Getting involved in the Chameleon Community
Stepping into the digital community can be a jarring experience. Social media groups tend to feel like you have to initiate into a gang and pledge loyalty. Once you have some time int he community you will be able to pick out the groups which have reputable leadership and which ones are iffy. But until then it pays to keep your head low. Ask questions and make friends. But beware of getting embroiled in the constant drama that flitters across social media. Don’t take on anyone else’s enemies!
The Easy Way: Quietly listen, be gracious, and don’t take sides
Adding Another Chameleon
After some level of success, many people think that adding another chameleon would make their life better. Like everything here, this can be done in a way that is easy or in a way that will make you tear your hair out. Each chameleon species has different temperature and humidity requirements. The best scenario would be for you to add on an0ther chameleon species whose husbandry is identical with the chameleon you currently have. The most common choice for chameleon may be the panther chameleon. And this is perfect because they are the best chameleon pet (as far as chameleons go). The advantage with panther chameleons is that there are so many tempting color palette between all the locales that you could spend many, many years building and enjoying a panther chameleon collection. And they all would have the same husbandry. The challenge comes when you get chameleons that need different temperature requirements. You might have to keep them in different rooms and that becomes inconvenient.
Note: beware of getting a female for company or for breeding. Chameleons are solitary animals and will NOT appreciate being put in another chameleon’s cage. So any new chameleon that comes into the house must have their own cage.
The Easy Way: When getting a new chameleon, get a new species that has identical husbandry requirements and will take advantage of the skills you have developed.
Breeding Project: How to Start
When you decide you would like to start breeding the best advice is to go slow. The real challenge in chameleon breeding is the care of the hatchlings. For the common species it is easy to mate them, easy to incubate the eggs, and usually easy to get them to hatch. What is hard is giving each baby chameleon the individual care they need. The best way to figure out how to do breeding is to start with one female and mate only one female until you have your systems in place. Some species will double clutch and soy ou may end up with more babies than you know what to do with!
The Easy Way: Start slow with one female
Breeding Project: Get Quality Genetics
If you are breeding chameleons you will be spending money building up the infrastructure and you will be spending money to feed the babies until they are big enough to be offered for sale. The ability for you to sell you babies is 100% affected by the quality of your lineages. I understand that the unknown locale or untested female may be much cheaper, but, by paying the extra for a well-known lineage you will make selling these chameleons much easier on yourself. You will be putting in the money and time anyways, no matter whattthe lineage is, you may as well breed a high end lineage so it is easy to sell.
The Easy Way: Get the best genetics you can afford.
Breeding Project: Individually raise the babies
Chameleons should be kept individually at any age. They scatter when they hatch and proper husbandry is to raise them in their own cage. This saves on stress for the babies and the health issues that comes with stress. There is both the animal welfare reasons as well as the business reasons. Individually raised babies grown faster and are free of cosmetic damage such as bite marks and nipped tails It is better for the chameleon and better for the sales. The only thing it is not better for is the initial financial outlay to build up the proper cage infrastructure.
It is true that many older school breeders brag about how they can tell when to separate the bullies in their group of babies. But this admission in itself shows that group raising is something breeders can get away with rather than it truly being good husbandry.
The Easy Way: When incubating eggs, make sure you have one cage per incubating egg ready to go.
In the chameleon world there are may ways to do things and many decisions to be made. Some will lead you down a simple, effective, and satisfying way whereas some decisions will lead you down the path of a “learning experience”. I hope this episode was helpful with navigating your chameleon hobby.!