It is quite easy to see many pet lovers have considered taking chameleons as one of their pets. They are unique creatures with unusual features that set them apart from other house pets. If you decide to keep one as a pet, you need to know that these colorful creatures are quite fragile and have very specific needs. For them to live long and healthy, you will need to provide them the right care. That includes setting up the appropriate habitat where they can move around and do their regular routines. The set up will also include the proper lighting as cold-blooded animals like chameleons will need an outer source of heat and light so that they can self-regulate their body temperatures. If you fail to provide them with these specific needs, they will just soon fall sick.
Additional interesting facts about chameleons:
- Veiled chameleon eggs take anywhere from 150 to 200 days to hatch. For the egg of a rare Parson’s chameleon, however, it takes about two years.
- A chameleon’s tongue has an unusual ability. As its tongue is naturally longer than its body, it can be extended to a remarkable length.
- They like running water rather than still water. That’s why you’ll see them drinking water drops from leaves after a heavy rain.
- The term chameleon is derived from the words “chamai” and “leon” which means “earth lion” in Greek.
- Shedding skin is a normal cycle for chameleons. Younger chameleons shed as frequent as two to three weeks. The shedding slows down as they age, however. A fully mature chameleon may shed every or twice a month.
- The incubation period for egg-laying species takes from 4-24 months, so be patient.
- Small species of chameleons lay 2 to 4 eggs, large species, however, lay 80 to 100 eggs.
- Each of a chameleon’s eye can be turned 360 degrees at the same time, either looking in the same direction or different things.
Professional lizard owners understand that significance of UVB lighting in lizard care. Still, their positions regarding the specifics of delivering appropriate lighting to various lizard species vary. Note that even though these lizard has been gifted with unusual features, it still has very specific requirements when it comes to proper care as they are more fragile than many other lizard species. As such, it is critical that adequate UVB lighting is provided for them to ensure a desirable overall health.
UVB: A Vital Element to a Chameleon’s Health
Chameleons need adequate levels of the activated form of vitamin D (known as D3) in its bloodstream so that it can properly use dietary calcium. Lizards transform dietary vitamin D to D3 when they are exposed to light which has wavelengths from 290 to 315 nanometers (this is the UVB part of the light spectrum). In their natural habitat, these lizards absorb UVB radiation from the sun.
To provide adequate best UVB bulb for chameleons, keepers use commercially produced full-spectrum reptile bulb or by regularly exposing their pets to natural unfiltered sunlight.
Geographic Locations and Behavioral Considerations
More than 150 species of chameleons can be found from Spain to India and south to Madagascar. Over this vast geographic locations, these lizards experience a wide range of UVB levels, as they are exposed to the sun’s radiation with changing latitude and habitat. In addition to this, the behavior of chameleons changes greatly, as many of them are forest floor dwellers like the stump-tailed chameleons (Brookesia peyrierasi), others, like the veiled chameleons (Chamaeleo calyptratus) live, unprotected and exposed, on branches atop dry plateaus.
To determine the appropriate UVB lighting for lizard, you also need to consider its natural habitat and behavior. For lizards that live near the rainforest floor that is exposed to very high UVB levels, a relatively low UVB lighting source will just be fine. However, for those who naturally came from a habitat with higher UVB levels, like forest-edge habitats, should be provided with higher levels of UVB lighting. (more…)